Thursday, October 25, 2012

News on Nebraska/Wisconsin heading into this week's games

The ninth week of the season is just a few days away for both Michigan and Michigan State. Here is a look at what their opponents (Nebraska/Wisconsin) are saying about Saturday’s games.

Michigan vs. Nebraska
The big news surrounding Nebraska is the status of starting running back Rex Burkhead.
The senior running back aggravated a lingering knee injury on Saturday against Northwestern. The injury has been a problem for him all season but seemed to be cleared up heading into last week’s game.
His status for Saturday’s game is undecided and his durability for the rest of the season is uncertain.
Tommy Dahlk, of the Lincoln Journal Star has some info on Burkhead from Bo Pelini.
When asked Tuesday in the Big Ten's weekly coaches teleconference how the nagging injuries have affected the running back mentally, Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said no one on his staff is too worried about Burkhead’s psyche, and the focus is just getting him back to full strength.
“Rex is a strong-minded kid,” Pelini said. “That’s the last thing we’re worried about what his mind-set is. He’s a strong young man and doesn’t let a lot of things bother him.”
Burkhead has rushed for 405 yards and three touchdowns this season. He also has a receiving touchdown.
In Burkhead’s place, Ameer Abdullah has rushed for 615 yards and seven touchdowns. Abdullah has been a very solid performer for Nebraska, but the Huskers would prefer to have Burkhead back on the field, as he is averaging 8.6 yards per carry.

MSU vs. Wisconsin
The coach had his weekly press conference transcribed on Here are a few thoughts he had on Michigan State.
“I don't know how many times I heard last year, if you didn't care who won those games, they were really fun games to watch. From that standpoint, they're fun. It really gets down to always you got a couple of key plays offensively that go for scores, and a huge factor, special teams has been a factor, really positively or negatively for us in every game. Playing Michigan State, you've got to be on the unexpected, whether it be fake opportunities in the special teams arena or blocks on their punts. So really got to be on top of our toes in every aspect.”
Pat (Narduzzi)’s always been aggressive in nature. No doubt in my mind that they'll bring pressure. Depending on the situation depending on our personnel groupings. The good news is Joel (Stave) is a guy that's been through some situations. Everybody has been bringing pressure on us. Got to have a great plan for him, not just prior to the snap but also during the snap itself. We saw last week where he needs to get rid of the football in certain situations.
Obviously, we built up a nice little tradition. We even played them twice in one year, which had never been done in Big Ten play. At least to my knowledge. Yea, respect Michigan State. Respect Mark Dantonio and his staff a great amount. There's certain things that, when we split the divisions, that were going to go away, and unfortunately, this is a by-product of that. But on the flip side of it, you've got really neat things popping within.
That's the way I spin it. I look at it as every year we get a chance to play Penn State and Ohio State, and for us recruiting-wise, that's very, very important. We do our fair share of recruiting in Michigan, but really probably traditionally do more recruiting against Ohio State and Penn State nationally than Michigan State itself.
The Michigan State-Wisconsin game has developed into a little rivalry as of late. It will be interesting to see what kind of intensity both teams bring into this game. Michigan State is at a crossroads for the program with its 4-4 record. Will it give up on the year or will it fight to have a winning season?
Wisconsin should be able to win the Leaders Division by default with Ohio State and Penn State out of the running, but the Badgers are probably motivated to hand the Spartans another loss based on last season’s MSU victory in Spartan Stadium.

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