A quick glance at the stat sheet is telling — the Michigan football team and Nebraska are lined up side-by-side in nearly every category across the board.

Team A boasts an 8-2 overall record, 4-2 in the Big Ten. Team B lays claim to an identical record.

Team A scores 32.5 points per game on 421.5 yards of offense. Team B scores 32.9 points on 404.1 yards.

Team A has totaled 2,313 rushing yards, led by a two-headed monster backfield. Team B has 2,327 rushing yards with, you guessed it, a pair of beasts in the backfield.

Team A is Michigan. Team B is Nebraska. But that really doesn’t matter. Come Saturday, it’s going to be some smash-mouth, ground ‘em and pound ‘em football at Michigan Stadium.

“Nebraska’s always been a very physical football team for numbers of years,” said Michigan coach Brady Hoke. “They take great pride in their football.

“You look at the statistical information between both teams, which I’m not real big into, but there’s a lot of similarities in their rushing offense and scoring and defensively — they’re a team that’s going to play with great passion.”

The Cornhuskers are led by quarterback Taylor Martinez and running back Rex Burkhead. The pair combines for 184 rushing yards per game. The Wolverines’ duo of junior quarterback Denard Robinson and redshirt sophomore running back Fitzgerald Toussaint averages 174 rushing yards.

Point. Counterpoint.

Nebraska is in its first season in the Big Ten, but the Michigan defense isn’t concerned with facing an unfamiliar offense.

“Nebraska presents a challenge unlike any other team in the Big Ten, I think,” said fifth-year senior defensive tackle Ryan Van Bergen. “The only other team that might present a challenge like them would be us.”

Still, even with Toussaint, Hoke will use running backs Jihad Rasheed and Michael Cox in practice this week to simulate Burkhead’s power.

The Wolverines have played the Cornhuskers just six times, with Michigan holding a 3-2-1 edge in the series. By every indication, Nebraska, which Hoke called “one of the traditional football powers in this country,” will be right at home in the Big Ten.

“From what I’ve heard, they’re a tough team, they’re a good team, they’re a solid team,” Molk said. “They’re very much like us. But then again, I’ve never played them.

“Looking forward to something new.”

Especially when that something new is what you see in practice.

MILITARY APPRECIATION: There won’t be jetpacks at the Big House, but that’s about all that will be missing from Michigan’s Military Appreciation plans on Saturday.

Athletic Department officials are urging fans to arrive to the game early to participate in a card stunt project. During the national anthem, fans will hold up 65,000 cards that will combine to form an American flag.

The cards will be affixed to seats in sections 1-23, circling around the south endzone from east of the 50-yard line to west of the 50-yard-line.

“We’re keeping (the cards) away from the students, so they don’t turn into boomerangs,” a military representative joked on Monday.

The national anthem will also feature a flyover from four F-16 fighter jets out of Pope Air Force Base in North Carolina. The jets will be launching from Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Mount Clemons, Mich. and flying south to north over the stadium — and the card stunt.

The head pilot for the flyover is a Michigan graduate. Plans are to have a live video feed from the lead jet play on the stadium’s videoboards to show the card stunt from overhead.

Pregame hospitality for veterans will also be held at Oosterbaan Fieldhouse.

“Let me tell you, it’s awesome,” Hoke said. “We all are thankful for those who have served this country and those who are serving.

“Coming from San Diego and having the relations we were able to have with the Marine corps and the Navy, it’s humbling what they do for our country and what they do for us to be able to sit here to today and get asked questions, some good and some not so good.”

ROBINSON CHARGED: Sophomore safety Marvin Robinson has been accused of breaking into a West Quad room in September. He was arraigned last week on a charge of second-degree home invasion.

“We are aware of the report,” Hoke said in a statement. “We will let the legal process run its course, and we will not have any further comment until that time.”

Robinson was released on a promise to appear in court. He will appear at the Washtenaw County 14A District Court on Wednesday. If convicted, Robinson could face up to 15 years in prison.

Robinson has collected nine tackles in four career appearances with Michigan.

NOTES: Van Bergen was named Co-Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week, College Football Performance Awards’s National Defensive Performer of the Week and Defensive Lineman of the Week after collecting a career-high 2.5 sacks and seven tackles on Saturday. … Freshman kicker Matt Wile was named CFPA Kickoff Specialist of the Week after tallying five touchbacks on six kickoffs in the swirling wind at Memorial Stadium in Champaign.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.