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With Wisconsin in the rear view, considering Michigan football’s resounding win against the Badgers, it should be able to go on the road and take down 3-3 Nebraska, right?
That’s not necessarily how the national media sees it.
Considering the Huskers have been close in every single game this season, there’s a lot of prominent media members that anticipate that this is the week that the Wolverines fall short. Meanwhile, others think that the maize and blue keep rolling thanks to dominant line play.
Either way, all involved expect it to be a close game in Lincoln. Here is what the national media is expecting to see come Saturday night.
CBS Sports’ Tom Fornelli
I’m not sold on Michigan yet. The unbeaten Wolverines climbed into the AP Top 10 after starting the season unranked, but they’re simply too one-dimensional on offense. And that dimension has faded in recent weeks. The Wolverines rushed for 1,051 yards at 7.15 yards per carry in their first three games, but that average dropped to only 2.73 yards per carry against Rutgers and Wisconsin.
Now, they’re going on the road for a second consecutive week to face Nebraska. The Cornhuskers might not be Wisconsin defensively, but they profile similarly to Rutgers. Plus, with Michigan presenting little threat in the passing game, the Huskers can load the box. Maybe Nebraska doesn’t pull off the upset, but I have this one being close, so I’ll gladly take the 3.5 points. Nebraska 24, Michigan 23 | Nebraska +3.5
Bleacher Report’s Kerry Miller
Similarly, Bleacher Report isn’t particularly sure about the Wolverines and also has it as Michigan football’s first loss of the season.
It might be time to embrace the possibility that Nebraska is the second-best team in the Big Ten West.
That seemed impossible after their Week 0 meltdown in the loss to Illinois, but the Cornhuskers gave both Oklahoma and Michigan State a serious run for their money on the road and won their other three games (Fordham, Buffalo and Northwestern) by a combined score of 136-17.
Of particular note in advance of this showdown with Michigan, Nebraska has allowed just three rushing touchdowns all season and has limited its two most recent Big Ten foes to 56 carries for 108 yards. Meanwhile, Michigan’s once-dominant rushing attack has tapered off considerably as of late, held below 3.0 yards per carry by both Rutgers and Wisconsin.
If that mutual recent trend continues, there could be a major upset brewing in Lincoln.
Michigan has held all five of its opponents to 17 points or fewer, but we’re also talking about five offenses that rank outside of the top 60 in the country in total yards per game. With Adrian Martinez playing as well as he has been over the past five weeks, this is going to be the stiffest resistance Michigan’s defense has faced thus far.
Head coach Scott Frost will finally get a big W with the Huskers.
Prediction: Nebraska 28, Michigan 23
However, Brad Crawford and Chris Hummer expect the Wolverines to emerge victorious, noting better play in the trenches should mean the difference for the maize and blue.
Hummer: Michigan -3; I just think Michigan is better. The Huskers have quietly played excellent football since their loss to Illinois. But Nebraska is a run-first offense, and Michigan has defended the run as well as anyone early this year. I also just trust the Wolverine offense a bit more right now. This is a close game, but I like Michigan to cover. … Michigan 27, Nebraska 21.
Crawford: Michigan -3; It would not surprise me at all if the Huskers hand the Wolverines their first loss on Saturday night in a sold-out setting. However, Michigan is the better team at the line of scrimmage and I do think Jim Harbaugh’s group will be able to control that aspect of the matchup enough to prevail. … Michigan 20, Nebraska 16.
Friend of the site, Bill Bender, is also high on Michigan come Saturday night. He expects a close one, but anticipates the Wolverines will remain undefeated.
This is a trap game for the Wolverines. Michigan hasn’t visited Memorial Stadium since a loss in 2012, and the Huskers have dominated in their home games. These are the two best rushing offenses in the Big Ten, too. There will be some anxious moments for Michigan, but they come through in the second half.
Pick: Michigan wins 31-24 and COVERS the spread.
USA TODAY Sports
Finally, the mothership isn’t confident in the Wolverines, with Erick Smith predicting a Michigan loss in his bold predictions.
The wait for the first significant win by Scott Frost at Nebraska will be over Saturday as the Cornhuskers take down No. 8 Michigan and spoil the promising start of Jim Harbaugh’s resurgent Wolverines.
Nebraska has played both Oklahoma and Michigan State close on the road, but haven’t been able to get over the hump. Getting the Wolverines at home will be the difference as Cornhuskers quarterback Adrian Martinez outplays counterpart Cade McNamara in a low-scoring, defensive struggle that boosts the outlook for Frost leading his team to a bowl for the first time in his four seasons at his alma mater.
Weirdly, in the straight up picks, Smith also picked Michigan to win, so that flies in the face of his bold prediction. Jace Evans and Paul Myerberg also picked Nebraska to win but the other four panelists picked the maize and blue to remain undefeated.