Nebraska Falls Flat at Purdue, Looks for Positives against #6 Michigan State, While Tensions Run High in Lincoln
After a series of near-misses in their previous five losses, the Nebraska Cornhuskers left no doubt in loss number six, falling 55-45 at last place Purdue last weekend. A big fourth quarter for the Huskers helped make the score respectable, but there were few positives for Nebraska in West Lafayette.
Playing without injured starting quarterback Tommy Armstrong, the Huskers turned to Ryker Fyfe, and while he did throw for more than 400 yards, he also had a hand in all five of Nebraska's turnovers - four interceptions and a fumble on a bad snap that Fyfe attempted to pick up, rather than fall on. Those giveaways led to 28 Boilermaker points and found the Big Red trailing by as many as 26 points in the third quarter.
I talked with the 'Voice of the Huskers' Greg Sharpe about the Huskers latest loss, which also included injuries to running back Terrell Newby and a season-ending leg injury to wide receiver De'Mornay Pierson-El.
In the days following the game, Nebraska athletic director Shawn Eichorst penned an open letter to Husker fans asking for patience as first-year head coach Mike Riley and his staff take over the program.
At one point in the letter, Eichorst referred to Nebraska 'rebuilding', which caught a lot of Husker fans off guard considering the program won nine or ten games in each of Bo Pelini's seven seasons in Lincoln. Greg and I have some thoughts on the letter and what might be behind that comment.
The Spartans are unbeaten after eight games, thanks in part to a fluke fumble by Michigan's punt team on the final play of the game, two weeks ago.
Michigan State's offense is keyed by quarterback Connor Cook, the number-two passer in the Big Ten, with 17 touchdowns and just two interceptions. Receiver Aaron Burbridge is the only player in the conference averaging more than 100 yards per game. Running back Madre London is returning after missing two games with injuries, and the offensive line is expecting to get two injured starters back for the game Saturday.
For Nebraska, Armstrong is expected to be back after missing the the Purdue game. Also back this week is leading tackler Byerson Cockrell, who missed last week's game because of a death in his family. Newby is questionable for the game.
Kickoff is 6:00 PM in Lincoln, Saturday. You can follow the Cornhuskers all season long on ESPN 99.1!
Here is my complete interview with Greg on the Purdue loss, the Eichorst letter, and the match-up with Michigan State: