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Michigan State aims to maintain momentum versus Nebraska

·2 min read
Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker III (9) runs with the ball during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game against Miami, Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Michael Reaves)

Nebraksa (2-2, 0-1 Big Ten) at No. 20 Michigan State (3-0, 1-0), Saturday at 7:10 p.m. EDT (FS1).

Line: Michigan State by 4 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: Nebraska leads 9-2.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

Michigan State, ranked for the first time in nearly two years, aims to maintain its momentum generated by a strong start with wins at then-No. 24 Miami and against defending Big Ten West champion Northwestern on the road. The Cornhuskers, who lost a closely contested game to then-No. 3 Oklahoma, is desperately hoping to avoid an 0-2 start in the Big Ten and a losing record near the midway mark of the season.

KEY MATCHUP

Michigan State RB Kenneth Walker III vs. Nebraska's entire defense. The Wake Forest transfer is averaging a nation-high 164.3 yards rushing per game and ranks second with 8.7 yards per carry with a blend of speed, agility and power. The Huskers allowed the Sooners to run for 194 yards in last week's 23-16 loss.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Nebraska QB Adrian Martinez is averaging 254.3 yards passing and 72.5 yards rushing per game. He has thrown five TD passes, one interception and has scored four times rushing. Last week, he became the first Nebraska QB to have four 1,000-yard passing seasons.

Michigan State QB Payton Thorne is the reigning Big Ten co-offensive player of the week after joining Connor Cook as the players in program history to throw four touchdown passes in consecutive games.

FACTS & FIGURES

Michigan State is 3-0 for the first time in six years. ... Huskers haven’t beaten a ranked opponent on the road since 2012, when they won 17-14 at No. 12 Penn State. … The Spartans beat the Hurricanes 38-17 on the road, outscoring them 21-3 in the fourth quarter. … Nebraska has given up 33 points, the fewest points it has allowed over three games in 11 seasons. ... Michigan State has surpassed its win total from last season, when coach Mel Tucker was 2-5 in his debut season. ... Huskers have outscored opponents 41-7 in fourth quarters. Oklahoma had a touchdown in the final quarter last week. ... Michigan State ranks third in the Big Ten and 11th in the nation with 263.7 yards rushing per game.

___

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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