- Associated Press - Thursday, November 5, 2015

No. 6 Michigan State (8-0, 4-0 Big Ten, No. 7 CFP) at Nebraska (3-6, 1-4), 7 p.m. (ESPN)

Line: Michigan State by 5.

Series Record: Nebraska leads 7-2.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

Michigan State cannot afford a slip-up against the struggling Cornhuskers if it hopes to play out coach Mark Dantonio’s “Reach Higher” mantra to the College Football Playoff. The Spartans should be fresh after a week off, and they’ve won 12 consecutive Big Ten road games. Nine games into Mike Riley’s first season at Nebraska, and coming off an embarrassing 55-45 loss at Purdue, athletic director Shawn Eichorst expressed his support for the coach in a letter to fans this week. A win here would do wonders for a program engulfed in a crisis of confidence.

KEY MATCHUP

Michigan State QB Connor Cook against Nebraska’s porous pass defense. One of the most polished quarterbacks in the country, Cook is throwing for almost 260 yards a game and leads the Big Ten with 17 touchdown passes. The Huskers are 125th out of 128 FBS teams in pass defense. They get back CB Jonathan Rose from suspension and S Byerson Cockrell, who missed the Purdue game because of a death in his family.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Michigan State: DE Shilique Calhoun. Leads Spartans with eight sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss.

Nebraska: QB Tommy Armstrong Jr. Third-year starter missed the Purdue game with a foot injury and gives Huskers best chance to pull upset.

FACTS & FIGURES

Michigan State is 5-3 coming off open dates under Dantonio. … Spartans are on 12-game win streak, the program’s longest since 1955-56, and have won 21 of 22 against Big Ten opponents for their best conference stretch in program history. … Cook, with 64 career TD passes, needs three to break the school record Kirk Cousins set from 2008-11. … Nebraska has won four of its past six home games against Top 25 opponents. … The Huskers have won 16 straight night games at Memorial Stadium and are 42-5 all-time under the lights at home.


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