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The Call: Gophers vs. No. 16 Nebraska

  • November 16, 2012 - 6:43 PM

GOPHERS OFFENSE VS. HUSKERS DEFENSE

If the Gophers follow their take-what-the-defense-gives-you philosophy, the game plan might resemble last week's, with a 3-1 rush-pass ratio, and Nebraska has had problems against powerful running games. If the Gophers trail, they might have to throw into what might be the Big Ten's best secondary. Advantage: Nebraska

GOPHERS DEFENSE VS. HUSKERS OFFENSE

It's the crucial matchup, because if Nebraska reaches its 37-point average, it's going to be very hard for the Gophers offense to keep up. Junior quarterback Taylor Martinez is a passer who averages 211 yards through the air and a runner who picks up 77 yards on the ground. The Huskers might be without injury-nagged I-back Rex Burkhead, but sophomore Ameer Abdullah has gained 94 yards a game in his absence. One Gopher hope: The Huskers are mistake-prone, with a league-worst 25 turnovers. Advantage: Nebraska

SPECIAL TEAMS

Senior kicker Brett Maher has made 15 of 21 field-goal tries and owns a 54-yarder, longest in the Big Ten this year. He's also an effective punter, averaging 41.1 yards per kick, and Abdullah gives the Huskers a big-play kick returner. The Gophers own the best kick-coverage squad in the league. Advantage: Nebraska

INTANGIBLES

It's senior day in Lincoln, where consecutive sellout crowd No. 325 will also say farewell to retiring athletic director and former coach Tom Osborne. The Huskers need a victory to keep their hold on the Big Ten Championship Game berth. Advantage: Nebraska

PREDICTION

The Gophers haven't scored more than seven points in their past six visits to Lincoln, but that streak should end Saturday, and the Gophers are confident enough to keep the game close for a half. But the Martinez point machine will eventually pull away from Minnesota's injury-riddled offense.

Gophers 13

Huskers 34

NUMBERS TO KNOW

239-14

Total score of past six Minnesota visits to Nebraska, all losses.

52

Years since Gophers' last victory over Nebraska, 15 mostly lopsided losses ago.

DON'T FORGET ABOUT

Isaac Fruechte

As the Gophers' leading healthy receiver, he'll be counted upon to make a big play or two.

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