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Discussion: Will Michigan thwart Nebraska’s third crack at beating a ranked opponent?

Nebraska has two narrow losses to ranked opponents this year.

Northwestern v Nebraska Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images

The No. 9 Michigan Wolverines are heading to Lincoln for a late night showdown with the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The Wolverines are 5-0 for the first time in five years.

These two programs have only met nine times since the early 1900s, and in the one meeting at Memorial Stadium, the Huskers won. The last time these two teams met was in 2018 in Ann Arbor, where the Wolverines handed Nebraska a lopsided 56-10 loss.

What’s different going into this year, is that Nebraska has faced off with two other ranked schools already, keeping it competitive until they stumbled over their own feet. Therefore, the question this week is will it be a “third time’s a charm” for Nebraska, or will Michigan get their first win at Memorial Stadium?

Michigan hasn’t gone against a ranked opponent in a game so far this season. While Washington and Wisconsin started their seasons with rankings, by the time they met Michigan they had already tumbled out of the Top 25. While there is no definitive idea as to how Michigan will perform against a ranked opponent, they have gone through two conference games so far, splitting a crossover with Wisconsin and an in-conference against Rutgers. Both performances were glaringly different, but Michigan got the job done.

Nebraska holds a different story. They entered into a game against a ranked Oklahoma team and kept it close, only to inevitably drop the ball. The next week they met up with a ranked Michigan State team, to once more, lose in an overtime loss. Nebraska’s frustration of being so close, yet so far, culminated in a blowout victory of 56-7 over Northwestern last week. This Nebraska team is hungry to prove those that joke about them are wrong. They have seen that they can hang with those in the rankings, but this year it feels like it’s anyone’s year to shine. However, special teams and countless penalties tanked the Huskers in their two biggest games so far this year. Their fans have surely been making their own “Marvel What If?” spinoff of their 2021 season. What could make it sweeter for them? A win against Michigan.

Michigan, when compared to Nebraska, has the edge. Strictly speaking by the numbers, the Wolverines have better efficiency on offense, defense, and special teams. Michigan has committed far fewer penalties in contrast to the Huskers.

The Wolverines will have to take advantage of these opportunities come game time. However, during the Northwestern game, Nebraska appeared to have cleaned up their miscues. Will this cause the game to be closer than Michigan fans are comfortable with? It’s difficult to say for sure, but something feels different with this Nebraska team. If Michigan embraces the “taking the juice” mentality again, then good luck Nebraska. Then again, Michigan didn’t play like themselves against Rutgers, so is there a chance this happens again? Or will there be another win under Michigan’s belt?

There isn’t a lot that’s convinced me of Michigan leaving Lincoln with their first loss of the season. Jake Moody and Brad Robbins alone should make the Huskers jealous. Nebraska is trying to right themselves, and Michigan represents another crack at a big game. Obviously, the Huskers are working hard to make it go in their favor, which makes the Wolverines at risk of being caught in a trap game. This doesn’t seem like it will be the case based on the cleanliness of Michigan’s play and the efficiency of the team on all fronts.

It won’t be a third time’s a charm for Nebraska this time around in my opinion, but let’s hear yours — will Michigan go 6-0 after Saturday night? Let us know in the comments below!