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Game Week: Michigan State


Husker Mascot logo on the left and the words Nebraska Football on the right.

NEBRASKA at MICHIGAN STATE
SEPT. 25, 2021 | SPARTAN STADIUM
EAST LANSING, MICH. | 6 PM (CT)

BROADCAST INFO
TV - FS1
RADIO - Huskers Radio Network (Greg Sharpe, Matt Davison, Jeremiah Sirles)
INTERNET RADIO - Huskers.com
SPANISH BROADCAST - Huskers.com 
APP AUDIO - Official Huskers App

HUSKERS
Record: 2-2, 0-1 Big Ten
Last Game: at Oklahoma (L, 23-16)
Rankings: NR
Coach: Scott Frost
Career/NU Record: 33-29 (6th Year)/14-22 (4th Year) 
vs. Michigan State: 1-0

SPARTANS
Record: 3-0, 1-0 Big Ten
Last Game: at Miami (W, 38-17)
Rankings: AP (20), Coaches (21)
Coach: Mel Tucker
Career/MSU Record: 10-12 (3rd Year)/5-5 (2nd Year)
vs. Nebraska: 1-0

SERIES HISTORY
• All-Time Series: NU leads, 9-2
• In East Lansing: NU leads, 2-1
• Last Game: Nebraska 9, MSU 6 (2018 in Lincoln)
• Win Streak: Nebraska, 2 games

The Matchup
Nebraska returns to Big Ten Conference action this Saturday, as the Huskers travel to East Lansing, Mich., to take on the Michigan State Spartans. Game time at MSU's Spartan Stadium is set for 6 p.m. Central (7 p.m. local time in East Lansing) with FS1 providing national television coverage. 

Nebraska enters the game at 2-2 on the season, following a hard-fought 23-16 loss at No. 3 Oklahoma on Saturday. The Huskers went toe-to-toe with the Sooners throughout the game, and limited Oklahoma to its fewest points in the past five seasons. 

The Huskers will be looking to even their Big Ten record after a season-opening loss at Illinois on Aug. 28. Nebraska will look to continue its strong defensive play in East Lansing. The Huskers have allowed just 33 combined points in the past three games, marking the Blackshirts' best three-game scoring defense stretch in 11 seasons. 

Michigan State is off to a strong start to the 2021 season. After a 2-5 campaign in 2020, MSU stands at 3-0 to open the year after an impressive 38-17 victory at Miami on Saturday. The Spartans are 1-0 in Big Ten play after opening the season with an impressive 38-21 victory at defending Big Ten West champion Northwestern. The win at Miami vaulted the Spartans into the national polls, ranking No. 20 in the Associated Press Poll and No. 21 in the USA Today Coaches Poll.

The Spartans have relied on a strong running game to power their impressive start. MSU is averaging 263.7 rushing yards per game to rank third in the Big Ten and 11th nationally. Michigan State has also been tough against the run, allowing just 112.0 yards per game on the ground.

Series History: Nebraska vs. Michigan State
Saturday's matchup between Nebraska and Michigan State will be the 12th all-time between the schools, with Nebraska holding a 9-2 lead in the series. This matchup is the first between the schools in East Lansing since 2014, and just the fourth overall meeting at Michigan State. 

• In the last meeting, Nebraska defeated Michigan State, 9-6, in Lincoln. The game featured just five field goals and Nebraska's victory was its first without scoring a touchdown since a 3-0 victory over Kansas State in 1937.

• The Huskers' 39-38 win over sixth-ranked Michigan State in 2015 marked just the third time in school history an unranked Nebraska team defeated a top-10 opponent. It was also the highest ranked team Nebraska had defeated in 14 seasons. 

• Michigan State was ranked in the top 15 in three straight trips to Lincoln (2011, 2013 and 2015), with Nebraska earning victories in two of those three games. 

• Nebraska rallied from 10 points down in the fourth quarter of its 2012 win in East Lansing, one of four second-half double-digit comebacks in 2012. 

• One of the teams was ranked in eight consecutive meetings from 1995 to 2015, with a pair of games (2011, 2014) matching two ranked teams. 

• The next scheduled meeting between the schools is set for 2023, also in East Lansing.

Huskers Set to Face Second Straight Ranked Foe
A week after dropping a one-touchdown game at No. 3 Oklahoma, the Huskers will again face a ranked opponent on the road this Saturday. Michigan State enters the contest ranked 20th by the AP and 21st in the Coaches Poll. 

• This will mark the first time Nebraska has faced consecutive games against ranked opponents since taking on No. 19 Iowa in the 2019 season finale and playing at No. 5 Ohio State in the 2020 season opener. 

• Nebraska last faced consecutive games against ranked teams in the same season midway through 2017 when both Wisconsin and Ohio State were ranked ninth in successive games in Lincoln. 

• Nebraska is facing back-to-back road games against ranked teams for the first time since playing at No. 11 Wisconsin and sixth-ranked Ohio State on consecutive Saturdays in 2016.

Nebraska Offense Showing Explosive Ability
Nebraska got its offense rolling in victories over Fordham and Buffalo and has posted several impressive statistics in the first four games of 2021.

• Against Fordham, Nebraska finished the game with 329 rushing yards and 304 passing yards to roll up 633 yards of total offense. It was Nebraska's best offensive output since posting 674 yards of total offense at Illinois in 2019.

• The win over Fordham marked the fifth time NU has topped 600 yards in Scott Frost's four years as head coach. Among Big Ten teams, only Ohio State (9) has more 600-yard games in that time span. 

• Nebraska's 300-300 offensive output was a rare statistical feat in school history. The Huskers had reached that mark just twice previously vs. South Dakota State in 2013 and at Illinois in 2019. 

• Nebraska has accounted for two of the seven 300/300 games by Big Ten teams over the past four years (Ohio State-3; Maryland-1; Penn State-1). 

• The Huskers scored 52 points against Fordham, surpassing the 50-point mark for the first time since a 54-7 win at Maryland in 2019. 

• In a 28-3 win over Buffalo, Nebraska gained 516 yards of offense, including plays of 71 (Martinez run), 68 (Martinez to Toure TD) and 68 yards (Martinez to Toure TD). The game marked the first time since a 2010 win at Kansas State in which Nebraska had three plays of longer than 60 yards. 

• Nebraska averaged 8.5 yards on 61 offensive snaps against Buffalo. For the season, Nebraska averages 6.6 yards per play to rank fifth in the Big Ten and 35th nationally. 

• Nebraska has six plays of 50 yards or more to tie for third in the country in that category. 

• Nebraska opened the season with a 100-yard rusher and 100-yard receiver in each of the first three games. Adrian Martinez had two 100-yard rushing games (Illinois, Buffalo), with Markese Stepp adding a third game over the century mark (Fordham). Samori Toure topped the century mark in receiving yards in back-to-back weeks (Fordham, Buffalo), after Oliver Martin surpassed 100 yards at Illinois. 

• Unofficial research indicates it was the first time in school history Nebraska has had a 100-yard rusher and 100-yard receiver in three straight games. 

• Nebraska opened the season with a 100-yard rusher and 100-yard receiver in each of the first three games. Adrian Martinez had two 100-yard rushing games (Illinois, Buffalo), with Markese Stepp adding a third game over the century mark (Fordham). Samori Toure topped the century mark in receiving yards in back-to-back weeks (Fordham, Buffalo), after Oliver Martin surpassed 100 yards at Illinois. 

• Unofficial research indicates it was the first time in school history Nebraska has had a 100-yard rusher and 100-yard receiver in three straight games. 

Toure Leading Husker Receiving Corps
Nebraska senior receiver Samori Toure joined the program in January after earning FCS All-America honors at Montana. Toure has made his mark for the Huskers, catching 16 passes for 333 yards and two touchdowns.  He has also rushed five times for 44 yards and a touchdown. 

• Toure caught two passes for 136 yards against Buffalo, scoring on a pair of 68-yard touchdown receptions. Toure's two catches of better than 65 yards marked the third time in school history a Husker player had accomplished that statistical achievement, joining Irving Fryar (1983 at Minnesota, 70 and 68 yards) and Frantz Hardy (2006 vs. Kansas, 78 and 75 yards). 

• Toure's 136-yard effort against Buffalo was his second straight 100-yard receiving game. He had eight catches for 133 yards against Fordham. Toure is the first Husker with back-to-back 100-yard receiving games since JD Spielman accomplished the feat against Purdue and Wisconsin in 2018.

• Toure has 10 career 100-yard receiving games, including eight at Montana. 

• Toure's two 100-yard receiving games came after Oliver Martin had a 100-yard effort at Illinois. This marked the first time NU had a 100-yard receiver in three straight games since the 2017 season.

• Toure  caught 87 passes for a school-record 1,495 receiving yards at Montana in 2019, which ranked second nationally. He came to Nebraska with career totals of 155 receptions, 2,488 yards and 20 touchdowns. 

Martinez Ranks Among Nation's Top Quarterbacks
Quarterback Adrian Martinez has put up statistics in his Husker career that have him ranked among the Nebraska all-time leaders in several categories. Martinez has thrown for 6,645 yards in his career, rushed for 2,066 yards and totaled 8,711 yards of offense. He owns four Nebraska career records, five season records and one game record.

• Martinez is Nebraska's all-time leader in total offensive yards per game (272.2), 400-yard total offense games (5) and 300-yard total offense games (16). He has produced five of Nebraska's 17 individual 400-yard total offense performances.

• In 2021, Martinez is averaging 326.8 yards per game in total offense to rank 12th nationally and second in the Big Ten. He averaged a school-record 295.1 yards of total offense per game as a true freshman in 2018. That average ranked 12th nationally, led all freshmen and was the ninth-highest average by a freshman in NCAA history, including the third-best mark ever by a true freshman. 

• In Nebraska's win over Buffalo, Martinez rushed nine times for 112 yards for his sixth career 100-yard rushing game and his second of 2021. He had a 71-yard run, marking the second-longest rush of his career, bettered only by a 75-yard touchdown run at Illinois in the season opener. 

• Martinez eclipsed the 2,000 career rushing yard mark against Buffalo to become the fifth Nebraska quarterback to crack that rushing milestone.

• Martinez is one of only five players in Big Ten history with 6,000 career passing yards and 2,000 career rushing yards. He joined Taylor Martinez (Nebraska), Antwaan Randle El (Indiana), Denard Robinson (Michigan) and JT Barrett (Ohio State) in the exclusive 6,000/2,000 Big Ten club. 

• Against Fordham, Martinez became just the third Husker quarterback to complete 500 career passes and surpass 6,000 career passing yards. He joined Tommy Armstrong Jr. and Taylor Martinez in reaching those statistical milestones.

• Martinez threw for 289 yards at Oklahoma to post 1,000 passing yards for the season through four games. Martinez is just the second quarterback to reach 1,000 passing yards through four games, joining Tommy Armstrong Jr. in 2015. Martinez has four 1,000-yard passing seasons, the first quarterback in Nebraska history to accomplish that feat. 

• Martinez's 2,066 career rushing yards lead all active FBS quarterbacks.

• Through four games in 2021, Martinez is leading Nebraska in rushing, passing and scoring. He is one of only three players in the FBS ranks to hold that distinction. 

• Martinez also set Nebraska season records for 300-yard total offense games (7) and 400-yard total offense games (3) in 2018.

• Martinez is one of only four active FBS quarterbacks who entered the 2021 season with 5,000 career passing yards and 1,500 career rushing yards. 

Returners, Newcomers Featured Among Pass Catchers
Toure has earned the headlines early in the season, but he is far from Nebraska's only pass-catching option. Nebraska returned four of its top six receivers from last season, led by a tight end unit with two proven veterans. 

• Austin Allen started seven games at tight end last season and ranked second on the team with career highs of 18 catches and 236 receiving yards, despite a shortened season. He was on the preseason watch list for the Mackey Award (nation's best tight end) and the Senior Bowl. Allen ranks second for the Huskers with 13 catches in 2021. He had four receptions for a career-high 61 yards against Fordham, and a career-best six catches at Oklahoma.

• Travis Vokolek made four starts and caught nine passes for 91 yards in the shortened 2020 season. He was fifth on the team in receiving yards, and Vokolek is on the preseason watch list for the Senior Bowl. He missed the first three games of the 2021 season, before returning at Oklahoma where he showed his potential with a career-long 38-yard reception.  

• Oliver Martin is in his second season at Nebraska in 2021. Martin started four of the final five games last season after gaining eligibility. He opened 2021 by setting career highs in receptions (6) and yards (103) at Illinois. He also had a career-long 43-yard catch, and caught a four-yard touchdown pass, registering a touchdown catch at a third Big Ten school (also Michigan, Iowa). Martin has missed the past three games because of injury. 


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