|Kenny Bell set career-highs last week with six catches and 108 yards in the loss to UCLA. (Getty Images)|
Kickoff: Saturday, noon ET (ESPN2)
Spread: Nebraska by 24
Watchability: Both teams have a ton of offense but not much defense. Nebraska has averaged 39.5 ppg and allowed an average of 456 yards throughout the first two weeks. Arkansas State hung 34 points against No. 5 Oregon in the first week but gave up 57 in the loss.
Shining Stars: Nebraska: Wideout Kenny Bell set career-highs with six catches and 108 yards in last Saturday's 36-30 loss to UCLA in the Rose Bowl. With running back Rex Burkhead questionable for Saturday's game, quarterback Taylor Martinez may rely more on the passing game and Bell, a sophomore, is his favorite target. Against Oregon, a better comparison to Nebraska than Arkansas State's opponent last week (Memphis), the Red Wolves gave up 605 yards of offense, including 308 yards through the air. Arkansas State: Scoring has never been a problem for the Red Wolves, who ranked 28th in the country last season, averaging 33.2 ppg. Senior QB Ryan Aplin, USA Today's preseason Sun Belt player of the year, threw for 3,588 yards last season and amassed 606 yards and four touchdowns in two games this year. The three-year starter isn't averse to running the ball, as he's recorded 21 touchdowns on the ground the past two seasons.
Who could steal the show: Nebraska: Martinez always has the potential to steal the show (see his 92-yard TD run vs. UCLA last week) but just two weeks in, he's already had an up-and-down season. He had a stellar opening game against Southern Miss (5 touchdowns, no interceptions), followed by no passing touchdowns and one interception. The Red Wolves return just four players from a defense ranked 108th in passing yards last season. Expect Martinez to open the game through the air and then once the cornerbacks settle comfortably in the secondary, for the speedy junior will take off. Arkansas State: Wide receiver Josh Jarboe, at 6-foot-3, has 19 catches for 167 yards and two touchdowns this season. The senior is taller than every Cornhusker defensive back and could have huge game after averaging 16.8 ypc on six catches last week against Memphis. The Husker defense is still reeling after being gashed for 656 yards last week against UCLA, which runs a spread offense similar to that of Arkansas State.
You going? Ranking the road trip: Husker fans will be anxious to see whether their defense is actually as lackluster as it performed last week against the Bruins. Again, if offense is your thing, Saturday's game will suffice.
Magic Number for Nebraska: 71. The percentage difference between the Huskers' third-down success rate from week one to week two. In the 49-20 win over Southern Mississisppi in week 1, the Huskers were 12 of 15 on third downs. Last week against UCLA, they were just 1 for 11.
Magic Number for Arkansas State: 9,450. The total number of offensive yards Aplin has amassed in his career at Arkansas State, the most in school history.
The game comes down to: Which offense can stop which defense. Nebraska can no longer say defense is the foundation of the Cornhusker's game but it will need to slow down the Red Wolves' spread offense more effectively than it did against UCLA.
Prediction: Nebraska 42, Arkansas State 31
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