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Where: Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, Nebraska
Two exciting offenses led by dual-threat quarterbacks will clash when upset-minded Arkansas State travels to Memorial Stadium to face No. 24 Nebraska on Saturday. The Cornhuskers will be looking to take out some frustration after a disappointing 36-30 loss at UCLA last week, but they can’t overlook the Red Wolves, who won 10 games a year ago and boast a dangerous attack under first-year coach Gus Malzahn.
Arkansas State averages 574.5 total yards per game (seventh in the nation) and will look to exploit a Nebraska defense that has been especially susceptible to the run. The Huskers have been effective on offense, as well, averaging 535.5 total yards (16th nationally) and 39.5 points, but they rank 96th nationally in total defense (465.5 yards per game) and gave up 653 total yards to UCLA. Nebraska won the only previous meeting, 38-9 in 2009. The Huskers are 10-0 all-time against the Sun Belt Conference, and they’ve scored at least 30 points in all 10 games and at least 48 points six times.
ABOUT ARKANSAS STATE (1-1): Malzahn took over a 10-win team that lost 16 starters, but he has the quarterback his system needs to be successful in Ryan Aplin, who has accounted for 716 total yards and five touchdowns. David Oku leads an effective running game with 211 yards, one of three players with over 100 yards this season. The defense has struggled, but the numbers are skewed by the 605 yards allowed in a season-opening 57-34 loss at Oregon.
ABOUT NEBRASKA (1-1): The Huskers dropped 10 spots in the rankings after the loss to UCLA, in which Nebraska’s offense faltered in the second half. Nebraska has been without senior running back Rex Burkhead (knee) since the first quarter of a season-opening win against Southern Mississippi, and Burkhead is considered questionable for Saturday. If Burkhead can’t play, sophomore Ameer Abdullah will continue to carry the load after rushing for 200 yards and two touchdowns through two games.
1. Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez needs 39 rushing yards to become the second Husker and 25th player in NCAA history with 4,000 passing yards and 2,000 rushing yards in his career.
2. Martinez’s nine 100-yard rushing games are tied with Jammal Lord for second-most all-time among Nebraska quarterbacks. Eric Crouch holds the record with 17.
3. Arkansas State has only one win over a team from a BCS automatic-qualifying conference since moving to FBS status, an 18-14 win over Texas A&M to start the 2008 season.