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.

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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.
Sep 27 - at Michigan TBA
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern TBA
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 am
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA

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