October 29, 2011 – By Scott
Going into the month of October, the 9th ranked Michigan State Spartans had a lot to prove after suffering a loss to Notre Dame back on September 19th. If the Spartans had not lost that game in South Bend, they would be one of the undefeated teams in college football.
They began their grueling October schedule with a win over Ohio State, then knocked off in-state rival Michigan 28-14 and last weekend won on the final play of the game to upset then-No. 6 Wisconsin, a team many believed would be undefeated at the end of the season.
And now to wrap up the month of October, Michigan State will head to Lincoln on Saturday to take on No. 13 Nebraska (6-1, 2-1) as they hope to keep their Big Ten record unblemished and keep pushing for their goal of winning the conference title.
“As you go into this last week of October and then into November, certainly there’s going to be a lot of things to play for,” Spartan head coach Mark Dantonio said. “Our goals are going to remain in front of us as we continue.”
This game will be big in regards to the Big Ten standings. The winner puts themselves in the drivers seat in the conference race and if Nebraska can pull out the win, they will be in a tie with Michigan State with four games remaining. However, the Cornhuskers still have showdowns with No. 19 Penn State and No. 18 Michigan State left on their schedule, with the Nittany Lions also undefeated in conference play.
“Whoever wins this football game sort of puts themselves in the driver’s seat,” Dantonio said. “That’s why you come to Michigan State or play in this conference. It has national ramifications as well as conference ramifications. The winner will continue to move forward.”
The Spartans will have a challenge in front of them as try to contain a versatile Nebraska quarterback in Taylor Martinez. Martinez has passed for 1,179 yards and 7 touchdowns this season. But he has really hurt defenses running the ball and has 636 rushing yards with 9 touchdowns.
If any defense has the ability to stop him it is Michigan State. The Spartans bring in the second best defense in the nation allowing just 222.9 yards per game and are 7th in the nation in points allowed per game (13.7).
NCAA College Football Betting Lines have tagged Nebraska as 4-point favorites in Saturday’s noon showdown. The OVER/UNDER in points is set at 49.