Nebraska’s Big Ten opener at Michigan (noon ET Saturday, FS1) should prove to be a major test for the Cornhuskers, who seek to end a six-game losing streak going back to last season.

The Wolverines had one of the most hyped defenses in the country coming into the season and they have lived up to the billing through three games, ranking 17th in FBS against the pass, 37th against the run, 11th overall and tied for 24th in fewest points allowed.

That matchup of Michigan’s defense vs. Nebraska’s offense starts our 5 things we’d like to see for the Cornhuskers against Michigan:

Running boom

Nebraska is ranked 19th in rushing offense per game but 42nd in yards per carry (5.1) through two games. The Cornhuskers are uncertain at quarterback (see next item) so they would benefit greatly if Greg Bell, Maurice Washington or Devine Ozigbo — or any combination — had a breakout game with a couple of explosive runs. Big plays like that might also help quiet the crowd at The Big House.

Solid quarterback play

Adrian Martinez is again questionable for Saturday’s game but regardless of who starts at quarterback, him or Andrew Bunch, the Cornhuskers need to dial up something different and perhaps take a few more chances. Nebraska is 84th in passing offense, which is not what new coach Scott Frost wanted to see considering his wish to run an up-tempo attack. It’s early and Martinez’s return would bring the Cornhuskers offense back closer to where Frost wants it to be, if the freshman’s performance against Colorado is anything to go by.

Passing D

Shea Patterson’s arrival on campus caused much excitement among Wolverines fans, but the transfer quarterback from Ole Miss has not quite made Michigan an offensive juggernaut. Michigan is ranked 82nd in passing offense at 209.7 yards a game and it’s up to Nebraska’s linebackers and secondary to keep it that way. Cornerback Lamar Jackson has Nebraska’s lone interception this season; Big Red could use at least a couple of picks on Saturday.

Fewer penalties

The Cornhuskers are tied for third in FBS in most penalties per game (10.5 average) but hey, at least their opponents are averaging nine yellow hankies a game. And that’s what Michigan is committing: Nine penalties per game. There could be a lot of laundry on the field at Michigan Stadium and it would behoove the Cornhuskers to be responsible for less of it, or at least in less crucial situations.

Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

More “buy-in”

On the heels of an 0-2 start, Frost told his team that anybody who is not fully committed to the task of turning the season around can leave now. Perhaps a few players need to open their ears to that speech because offensive lineman Tanner Farmer suggested this week that some players were not completely buying in. This is no time to pull a Vontae Davis so the Cornhuskers need to unify now more than ever if they are going to earn a road victory against the Wolverines.