Spartans put Cornhuskers in their sights

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

Connor Cook (18) celebrates his first quarter touchdown with teammate R.J. Shelton (12).

East Lansing — Michigan State wasn't about to forget its own 24-hour rule after Saturday's victory over Wyoming, but it also wasn't wasting any time looking ahead.

Big Ten play begins next week and that means a meeting with No. 21 Nebraska. And coach Mark Dantonio was already getting fired up just minutes after the 56-14 victory over Wyoming.

"Nebraska is a very explosive offense," he said. "You've got to be able to tackle in space, you've got to be lined up right, you've got to play to a high tempo. All of us will enjoy this, including our fans, then our fans need to be ready because Nebraska is coming to town. They need to be game ready at 8 o'clock Saturday night. Be a good place to be, Spartan Stadium, loud."

With the way things are playing out in the Big Ten, it might provide No. 9 Michigan State with one of its few chances to face a ranked team.

"We're looking forward to it a lot," quarterback Connor Cook said. "It's gonna be a tough road starting out with Nebraska in prime time Saturday under the lights. It will be a lot of fun. It's gonna be a long road. We've got Ohio State, Nebraska, Michigan, stuff like that. I'm looking forward to it and I know everyone else is, too."

Nebraska was one of the few teams to have success against Michigan State last season as Ameer Abdullah ran for 123 yards and a touchdown. After that game, Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said he would run against the Spartans whenever he pleased.

Reminded of that, defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi had little to say.

"I guess we'll find out next Saturday night," he said.

Flag day

The lone issue with Michigan State's offense on Saturday was penalties.

The Spartans were flagged nine times for 84 yards and center Travis Jackson was hit twice for holding and another time for a chop bloc

"We can't have penalties," Dantonio said. "You can't beat yourself with penalties. We took one touchdown off the board because of a penalty and did not get that back because we went for it on fourth down."

Jackson, who moved over from left guard to fill in for the injured Jack Allen, said it wasn't a sign of any breakdown up front.

"It was just one of those days where I got a couple of holding penalties," he said. "I didn't keep my hands inside and I don't usually do those kinds of things. I can't have that. The team can't have that and I have to clean that up this week."

Extra points

Dantonio said Allen was held out of the game as a "precaution" along with tight end Andrew Gleichert.

"It is not a long-term thing," Dantonio said. "Our guys will be ready to play; I think we got through this pretty good."

Senior offensive lineman Connor Kruse did return to the lineup and played for the first time this season. He saw action at both guard spots and center. True freshman Brian Allen got his first career start at left guard.

Defensive tackle Damon Knox was dressed for the first time this season but did not play. Fellow defensive tackle James Kittredge also missed his third straight game.

… The Spartans have scored 201 points (50.2 avg.) through their first four games, the highest total through four games in school history (previous record: 196 in 2005).

… Michigan State has scored at least 45 points in three consecutive home games for the first time since 1951-52 (Nov. 24, 1951 vs. Colorado, 45 points; Oct. 11, 1952 vs. Texas A&M, 48 points; Oct. 18, 1952 vs. Syracuse, 48 points).