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NU-MSU predictions and random over/unders: The Journal Star staffers make their picks
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NU-MSU predictions and random over/unders: The Journal Star staffers make their picks

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Nebraska vs. Oklahoma, 9.18

Nebraska kicker Connor Culp (33) reacts as he misses his second field goal attempt during the third quarter against Oklahoma on Saturday in Norman, Okla.

If you don't count a Friday night under the lights in New Jersey, Nebraska will be playing its first game under the lights since Oct. 12, 2019, when it played at Minnesota.

A big showdown with Michigan State awaits at 6 p.m. Saturday on FS1.

Are the Spartans for real? Did Nebraska's performance against Oklahoma signify a big step forward? These questions will be answered Saturday night.

But until then, our crew dusts off the crystal ball and makes some bold predictions.

Parker Gabriel delivers the top four interesting things from head football coach Scott Frost's post-practice presser on Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021.

Who will handle NU's place-kicking duties?

Chris Basnett (Husker writer): Connor Culp gets another shot, but the leash is short.

Parker Gabriel (Husker beat writer): Connor Culp.

Clark Grell (Sports editor): You think Scott Frost wants to turn this over to a freshman on the road? Culp gets the nod.

Nate Head (Assistant/online sports editor): Culp. One way to get out of a shooting slump? Keep shooting.

Steven M. Sipple (columnist): Culp. Is he better than his backup? Yes. Question answered.

Husker position group we'll be talking about after the game?

Basnett: Field-goal unit. I think Nebraska loses another close one.

Gabriel: Linebackers.

Grell: Offensive line. MSU has some horses on the defensive front, and, the penalties. … How do the big guys up front respond?

Head: Running backs. They continue to struggle to find consistency.

Sipple: Receivers. It's a good group. We'll be talking about it a lot.

Who will lead the Huskers in receptions?

Basnett: Austin Allen, with Adrian Martinez spreading the ball around.

Gabriel: Allen.

Grell: Samori Toure. Let's pencil him down for about six catches.

Head: Toure. Down game last week; look for NU to get him involved early.

Sipple: Allen. He has 13 catches this season. Give him five more.

Unsung hero for the Blackshirts will be …

Basnett: Ben Stille. NU's defensive line needs to be good, and Stille uses his experience to help slow down Kenneth Walker III.

Gabriel: Defensive lineman Deontre Thomas.

Grell: Thomas. He had a very nice game in Norman.

Head: Ty Robinson. 

Sipple: Stille. He'll (quietly) hold up well against the run.

Nebraska head football coach Scott Frost speaks after practice on Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021.

Prediction

Basnett: Michigan State 23-22.

Gabriel: Nebraska 23-21.

Grell: Michigan State 30-23.

Head: Michigan State 24-20.

Sipple: Michigan State 27-24. Another close loss, and lots of frustration.

Over/unders

Kenneth Walker rushing yards: 110

Basnett: Under, barely.

Gabriel: Over.

Grell: Over.

Head: Over.

Sipple: Over.

Adrian Martinez passing percentage: 67.5%

Basnett: Over.

Gabriel: Under.

Grell: Over.

Head: Over.

Sipple: Over.

Rahmir Johnson total carries: 9½

Basnett: Over.

Gabriel: Over.

Grell: Over.

Head: Under.

Sipple: Over.

Turnovers created by the Huskers: 1½

Basnett: Under.

Gabriel: Under.

Grell: Over.

Head: Under.

Sipple: Under.

Parker Gabriel give a two-minute rundown of head football coach Scott Frost's post-practice presser on Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021.

 

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