While last week’s game against Sparty was critical in that losing for a 5th straight time to Little Brother for the first time in program history would be unbearable, this week’s tilt with Big Red is basically a 3 game swing. Win it, and you have a 2 game lead in the division against the Huskers, and hold the tiebreaker in head to head, so essentially a 3 game lead, with 4 left to play. Lose it, and you need help. While Iowa still only has one loss in conference, don’t look for them to be a contender when all is said and done.
A night game in Lincoln will be about as tough a game as Michigan will play all year, outside of the season opener. Nebraska leads the conference in scoring, averaging nearly 42 points a game. However their defense has allowed 27+ points per game, including 63 to the Buckeyes in the snakepit.
The key to this game will be to get out to an early start. Michigan would like to stick to their formula thus far in Big 10 play, and play somewhat conservatively, and pound the football. Not that they couldn’t do well in a shootout, controlling the clock is imperative, if nothing more, keeping the "all day long lubricating" Husker fans in their seats, and not on their feet.
Michigan should be able to run the football. Maybe not as consistently as they’d like, but effectively. That will open up some play action passing, and the onus will be on Denard to keep away from the turnover bug.
While Nebraska’s offense, the night game atmosphere, and revenge after last years beatdown is daunting, there is something about Michigan’s increased desire and toughness since basically halftime of the ND game that has me confident in any toss up game.
Michigan 31 Nebraska 24.