Nebraska faces Michigan State (noon ET Saturday, Fox) in the Cornhuskers’ final home game of 2018. The seniors will bow out at Memorial Stadium with an unwanted distinction: The first class to have consecutive seasons without a bowl game at Nebraska since 1967-68.
But those participating in their final home game in front of Big Red Nation will play in front of an appreciative, sellout crowd as they always do. The team will honor 19 seniors including 12 fifth-year seniors.
So here is a senior-centric 5 things I’d like to see from the Cornhuskers against the Spartans:
Record day for Stanley Morgan
The receiver is four catches and 91 yards from setting school career records in both categories. Kenny Bell (2011-14) holds both marks with 181 catches and 2,689 yards. Morgan, with 22 career touchdown catches, is three behind Big Red legend Johnny Rodgers for that mark as well. Bryan Reimers is another senior receiver; he has 12 career catches including five this season.
Four digits for Ozigbo
Senior running back Devine Ozigbo has 958 rushing yards this season and needs 42 to attain the 36th 1,000-yard rushing season in program history. With five 100-yard games this season he seems like a decent bet to reach that mark on Saturday even against the Spartans, who have the nation’s No. 1-ranked rushing defense. Senior offensive linemen Jerald Foster and Tanner Farmer can help Ozigbo get there.
Nebraska has two senior defensive lineman who have been inspirations. Mick Stoltenberg (pictured at top) missed a chunk of the season with an injury but has come back and drew one of the biggest cheers of the season after collecting two tackles for loss in last week’s victory over Illinois. Freedom Akinmoladun was one of just 11 Football Bowl Subdivision players named to the AFCA Good Works team — he has done 100-plus volunteer appearances — and has had a solid season on the field as well with 24 tackles and 2.5 sacks. He also leads the team with 35 consecutive starts.
Luke Gifford, a Lincoln native and defensive team captain along with Stoltenberg, leads the Cornhuskers with 5.5 sacks and 12 tackles for loss. According to Nebraska’s sports information staff, Dedrick Young is the first player in Cornhuskers history with a least 60 tackles in each of his four seasons. The two linebackers have a chance to have one more special day at Memorial Stadium against a struggling Michigan State offense.
Pick of the pickoffs
Aaron Williams, Antonio Reed and Tre Neal are all senior safeties looking to go out on a high note. Nebraska has struggled on this side of the ball this season — the Cornhuskers are 107th in FBS in total defense and have just 10 interceptions this season. Williams, Reed and Neal have one interception each; Williams is third on the team in total tackles (57) and Neal (49) is fifth. Again, facing an injury-hit Spartans offense which is having a hard time moving the ball, this is an opportunity for these seniors to make one last big play in front of the home fans.
Aside from the players we have mentioned, the other seniors being honored Saturday are OL Cole Conrad, DL Matt Jarzynka, RB Bo Kitrell, DL Peyton Newell, LS Jordan Ober, RB Austin Rose and RB Mikale Wilbon.