Kickoff: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (ABC)
Spread: Nebraska by 1.5
Watchability: The Spartans just upset the Leaders Division favorite in Wisconsin and have a chance to knock off the Huskers in East Lansing. Saturday's game will be a clash of the best the Big Ten has to offer in the Spartans' defense against the Huskers' offense.
Shining Stars: Nebraska -- It would've been understandable if the offense would've sputtered without RB Rex Burkhead, who's only played one full game this season. But the play of Ameer Abdullah almost has alleviated the loss. He rushed for his second consecutive 100-yard game -- fourth overall -- last weekend against Michigan and has adapted to the role of starter quite naturally. His production, coupled with QB Taylor Martinez's scrambling ability, has given the Huskers the best rushing attack in the Big Ten with a 264 ypg average. Michigan State -- DE William Gholston has had a mostly disappointing season but last Saturday against Wisconsin, he had 4.5 tackles for loss and his first sack in seven games. If Gholston can sustain that kind of disruption in the Husker backfield, don't expect another 100-yard game from Abdullah. Badger running back Montee Ball had just 46 yards on 2.1 ypc against the Spartans' defensive front, which was sparked by Gholston and linebacker Max Bullough, who had two sacks.
Who could steal the show: Nebraska -- Brett Maher, who handles the kicking and punting duties for the Huskers, may be the most versatile player on the roster. Last weekend against Michigan, he nailed all three of his field goal attempts, including a 51-yarder -- his second-longest of the season. Maher also averaged 42.25 yards per punt and had two punts downed inside the Wolverines' 20-yard line. His efforts earned him his fifth-career special teams player of the week award in the Big Ten, tying a conference record. Should the Spartans' defense neutralize Nebraska's offense, special teams could very well be the deciding factor in Saturday's game. Michigan State -- Quarterback Andrew Maxwell could only engineer three points in the first three quarters against Wisconsin last weekend, but when it counted, Maxwell delivered. He was 8 for 9 for 69 yards on the game's decisive drive and threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to RB Le'Veon Bell, which tied the game at 10 with just over a minute remaining. In the overtime period, Maxwell found WR Bennie Fowler on a third-and-8 pass from the 12-yard line to give the Spartans the victory. The first-year starter has thrown just two interceptions in his past eight games.
You going? Ranking the road trip: Though Spartan Nation likely has one eye on basketball season, coach Mark Dantonio reminded fans that regardless of their record, the team won't give up. “We've been close, and what I'd like to say is basically, we won't quit,” he said to mlive.com. With that mentality, don't be surprised if Michigan State relishes the role of the conference spoiler.
Magic number for Nebraska: 6. The Huskers have never lost to Michigan State in six all-time meetings, including last year's 24-3 victory in Lincoln. In fact, the Huskers have only allowed an average of 6.2 points per game in their victories over Michigan State. Saturday's game is just the second time that the Huskers will travel to East Lansing.
Magic number for Michigan State: 15. The Spartans have the top scoring defense in the Big Ten, allowing just 15 points per game. In contrast, Nebraska averages 39.25 points per game, most in the conference.
The game comes down to: Michigan State's defense. If the Spartans play to their potential, they can make this a shorter game than Nebraska wants. If Bell can keep the clock rolling and the Nebraska defense on the field, the Spartans could keep it close enough for Andrew Maxwell to squeak out a win like last weekend.
Eye on College Football's take: At home this season, Martinez has thrown 12 touchdowns and one interception. On the road, he has four of each. Martinez will need to take care of the football against a very good Michigan State defense for Nebraska to keep control of the Legends Division. -- Tom Fornelli
Prediction: Nebraska 20, Michigan State 14
For more Big Ten coverage, follow Mike Singer and Dave Carey @CBSSportsBigTen.