The Call: Gophers football vs. Nebraska

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 25, 2013 - 8:52 PM
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Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah is averaging 7.2 yards per carry this season and has rushed for 816 yards and six TDs.

THE OPPONENT

Since losing 41-21 to UCLA, Nebraska has had two bye weeks and three victories — over South Dakota State, Illinois and Purdue — by a combined score of 142-46.

 

11 a.m. TCF Bank Stadium • TV: ESPN • Radio: 100.3 FM

Line: Nebraska by 10 • Series: Gophers lead 29-22-2

Gophers offense vs. Nebraska defense

The Gophers haven’t named a starting quarterback, but Philip Nelson is the likely choice. Both he and Mitch Leidner will play. Rodrick Williams (foot) is questionable, leaving David Cobb and Donnell Kirkwood to handle the tailback duties. Stanley Jean-Baptiste (four interceptions) and Randy Gregory (6½ tackles for a loss) are Nebraska’s top defensive playmakers. Advantage: Nebraska

 

Nebraska offense vs. Gophers defense

Quarterback Taylor Martinez (turf toe) will play but might not start, coach Bo Pelini said. When Martinez is on, this offense is nearly unstoppable. The Cornhuskers lost All-America guard Spencer Long to a season-ending knee injury. Ameer Abdullah (7.2 yards per carry) will still find holes. Advantage: Nebraska

 

Special teams

The Gophers have performed well in this category with punter Peter Mortell, kicker Chris Hawthorne and return specialist Marcus Jones each having a strong season. Nebraska wide receiver Kenny Bell has averaged 30.1 yards on kickoff returns, including a 63-yarder. Advantage: Gophers

 

Intangibles

It’s a home game for the Gophers, but Nebraska had at least 15,000 fans at TCF Bank Stadium in 2011 for a 41-14 victory over Minnesota. The Gophers are holding their second Epilepsy Awareness Game in as many years. Jerry Kill, who is on leave to treat his epilepsy, is expected to watch from the coaching booth, as he did last week against Northwestern. Advantage: Gophers.

Prediction

The Cornhuskers are 16-0 against the Gophers since Minnesota last defeated them in 1960. Nebraska has won the past 12 meetings by at least 24 points. This one will be closer than that, but not close enough to make Cornhuskers fans sweat on a cold day.

 

Nebraska 34

Gophers 20

 

NUMBERS TO KNOW

10,078

Yards gained by Taylor Martinez in his career — 7,119 passing and 2,959 rushing.

28.9%

Third downs Nebraska’s opponents have converted.

 

DON’T FORGET ABOUT …

Theiren Cockran

Leads Gophers with four sacks.

 

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