The Nebraska defense played well on Saturday against Oklahoma. The Huskers were responsible for 21 points allowed against a potent offense. However, the offense that the Huskers faced last week is completely different than what they see on a weekly basis in the meat of Big Ten Conference play. That starts this week with a trip to East Lansing for a night game against Michigan State.
These are the types of games that defensive lineman Deontre Thomas gets excited for.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Thomas said. “I’m waiting on this game to happen because you know Michigan State is going to run the ball. The game is going to be in the trenches. It’s going to be up to the defensive line to stop the run. So, I’m looking forward to playing Michigan State. Absolutely.”
Thomas has spoken with his fellow defensive lineman Damion Daniels about their excitement for game. They’ve played teams so far that like to pass the ball and they don’t feel like they are the best in the pass game. When teams come in and hope to run the ball, it gives the defensive line an opportunity to control the game.
“I feel like Michigan State, they try to big man you,” Daniels said. “It’s your big guys on our big guys. It’s going to be won in the trenches again this week. That’s one reason I like [playing] Michigan State because like I get a lot of action in that game.”
Games like this are what the defensive lineman look forward to. Playing against an established offensive line has the attention of Daniels too. That’s one thing we look forward to as well.
If Nebraska is going to be up to the challenge this week then tackling will have to improve. Defensive coordinator Erik Chinander noted that disppointed him during Saturday’s game. The Huskers will need to rally all 11 players to the football. The Huskers are going to see the nation’s leading rusher, Kenneth Walker III, this weekend.
“He’s powerful. He’s got great vision,” Tuioti said. “He can cut it back, he can hit it front side. It takes more than one guy to tackle him and it shows up on tape. Kenneth Walker is the best running back that we’re going to face to this point.
“[He’s] one of the best running backs in the country. He nearly averages and first down every time he touches the football. He’s definitely got our attention. The offense goes through him and we got a great challenge ahead of us.”
It wasn’t just the coaches that are aware of the challenge Walker presents. The players have already seen enough on film to understand too. Thomas called Walker “the best we’ve seen yet.” The Spartans’ back has elite jump cutting ability. The Huskers have to be assignment sound. Playing your primary gap will be crucial on Saturday night.
“We just have to have everybody do their job,” Thomas said. “We can’t have people trying to do somebody else’s job. Everybody just has to do their job and we will be perfectly fine.”
Greg is the Recruiting Analyst for Hail Varsity and has covered Husker athletics since 2013. He has always had a passion for sports while growing up in the Chicago area. As he got older and had to hang up his cleats and sneakers, he realized his passion for sports went beyond just watching and attending games. He has covered many events from the Rose Bowl to championship boxing matches. If he’s not talking sports, he’s hovering over his grill. He is married to an amazing woman, Kim, and they have a dog that barks when Greg yells at the TV during games.