Michigan State is ranked in the Associated Press (AP) poll for the first time since week six of 2019 when the Spartans were ranked 25th. The Spartans took a 34-10 blow to Ohio State that week and never returned in the rankings that season and never made it into the rankings in 2020.
Saturday night they will return to debut their #20 ranking in the newest AP poll after a 38-17 victory over then #22 Miami when they host Nebraska.
Football is a team sport and I'm not taking away from the rest of Nebraska but there's one guy that has been a consistent playmaker for the Cornhuskers and that is Quarterback Adrian Martinez.
Martinez has been behind center for the Cornhuskers since 2018 and is near the top of every category that you can be both passing and rushing the ball. In 2020 he was tops in both categories.
So far in 2021 Martinez has thrown for 1,017 yards, five touchdowns and one interception but he has been sacked 11 times including five times last week against Oklahoma. He's also accounted for 290 yards rushing and four touchdowns.
In Nebraska's two games against power five opponents (Oklahoma and Illinois) the Cornhuskers have allowed ten total sacks in those two games. If the Spartans hope to contain Martinez they have to exploit the first line of defense in his young offensive line.
Four Players To Know
His resume speaks for itself and he will be the #1 priority to stop on Saturday night in East Lansing.
Nick Henrich, Luke Reimer, Jojo Domann
The Linebacker trio for Nebraska has been the other bright spot for the Cornhuskers. The trio has combined for 80 tackles through four games and two interceptions. The defense also only allowed Oklahoma to 23 points last week which was the lowest for the Sooners in five years. They will have their hands full this week with Kenneth Walker III which will be one of the most intriguing story lines going into the game.
Michigan State has been one of the if not biggest surprises of the college football season so far with an impressive 3-0 start. Nebraska is in a state of flux right now and hoping the Scott Frost era can pull together a good season in what has been a mediocre start to the year. Kenneth Walker should be the X-factor once again and able to wear the Cornhusker defense down as the game goes on.
Michigan State 31, Nebraska 21