Gophers vs. Nebraska • 2:30 p.m., TCF Bank Stadium • TV: ESPN2 • Radio: 100.3-FM • Line: Gophers by 3 • Series: Gophers lead 31-22-2

THE OPPONENT

Mike Riley, 62, is an even-keeled coach who keeps things positive. Nebraska’s four losses have been excruciating, but Riley’s experience from the NFL and Oregon State should help the Cornhuskers turn the page, realizing this game could be the start of a second-half surge.

PLAYER TO WATCH

Maliek Collins has been projected as a first-round draft pick next year. The 6-2, 300-pound junior defensive tackle had nine tackles two weeks ago against Illinois, including three for a loss.

GOPHERS OFFENSE VS. HUSKERS DEFENSE

Freshman center Tyler Moore had an impressive debut at Purdue last week but could have his hands full against DT Maliek Collins and Nebraska’s other defensive tackle, 6-3, 320-pound Vincent Valentine. Minimizing inside pressure will be key for Minnesota’s passing game. Advantage: Nebraska

GOPHERS DEFENSE VS. HUSKERS OFFENSE

Nebraska started the season strong offensively but managed only 292 yards at Illinois and 325 vs. Wisconsin. Tommy Armstrong went 21-for-59 in those two games. The Gophers hope to have All-Big Ten cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun back from his knee injury. Advantage: Gophers

SPECIAL TEAMS

Ryan Santoso gives the Gophers a field goal-kicking edge, but De’Mornay Pierson-El is back from his foot injury. He’s a dangerous return man. Advantage:  Even

INTANGIBLES

The Gophers sold out their first three home games and expect an overflow crowd, though it will be interesting to see how much of it is wearing red. Advantage: Gophers

 

JOE’S PREDICTION

 

Tracy Claeys’ defense will extend Armstrong’s funk, and the Gophers will scratch out just enough offensively for a third consecutive victory over Nebraska. Gophers 16, Nebraska 13