Detroit News predictions: Michigan vs. Nebraska

The Detroit News
Shea Patterson and Karan Higdon

Angelique S. Chengelis, Matt Charboneau, John Niyo and Bob Wojnowski of The Detroit News offer their predictions on the outcome of Saturday's Michigan-Nebraska game at Michigan Stadium (noon, FS1/950 AM).

Angelique S. Chengelis: Michigan’s run defense will be tested. Hey, the defensive players say they want to be known as the best unit in the country, and here’s a big test, especially if quarterback Adrian Martinez is healthy enough to play. The Cornhuskers ran for 329 yards against Colorado and 187 against Troy. Both were losses, but they did prove they can run the ball. The Wolverines are 38th nationally against the run, holding teams to an average 121.7 yards. Turnovers and penalties have been an issue for Nebraska. Michigan, 28-10

Matt Charboneau: It’s pretty simple for the Cornhuskers – if freshman QB Adrian Martinez is healthy and can play, they’ll have a chance to pull off the upset. If not, expect the Wolverines to win their third straight. Nebraska has struggled defensively, and while there have been some signs of upgrade through two games, the Huskers are still allowing plenty of yards through the air. Expect Shea Patterson to have another good game as the Wolverines open Big Ten play in impressive fashion. Michigan, 35-17

John Niyo: Scott Frost challenged his team’s fight-or-flight instincts after the loss to Troy last weekend. But Nebraska’s coach just doesn’t have the depth or the talent he needs to run his system. Jim Harbaugh can’t say the same anymore. Michigan, 34-17

Bob Wojnowski: The Cornhuskers are on a six-game losing streak and wounded, which could make them dangerous, theoretically. They’re more dangerous if dynamic freshman QB Adrian Martinez (leg) plays, and he’s questionable. Michigan’s offensive line had better show improvement because Nebraska gets after the quarterback, with 10 sacks in two games. If Karan Higdon is healthy, he should provide a boost for the Wolverines’ so-so running game. Michigan, 30-16


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Matt Charboneau: The Hoosiers are looking to beat Michigan State at home for the second straight meeting and are riding high after finishing conference play unbeaten. They’ve been efficient offensively while the defense has improved under Tom Allen. The Spartans, on the other hand, are searching for offensive consistency while the defense has struggled against the pass. It won’t be easy, but MSU’s run defense will be the difference and the offense takes enough steps to open Big Ten play with a win. Michigan State 31, Indiana 20.

Bob Wojnowski: The Spartans should be refreshed after a bye, and they’ll need to be. Indiana can run the ball, and freshman Stevie Scott has been sensational. This will be a test for the Spartans’ staunch run defense, and if they shut down Scott, they win. The Hoosiers are 3-0, playing under the lights at home and looking like they might be legitimate. But Michigan State has the big-play receivers that Indiana lacks, and they’ll be the narrow difference. Pick: Michigan State 27-24





John Niyo: Michigan State needed a bye week to catch its breath after getting lost in the desert. But this Big Ten opener could be another nightmare if the Spartans get careless with turnovers or get sloppy on special teams. Michigan State 28, Indiana 24



John Niyo: Matt Patricia has a pretty good idea what’s coming. But so do Josh McDaniels and Tom Brady. And that’s a problem for a Lions defense that may be without its Pro Bowl cornerback. Patriots 31, Lions 27

Bob Wojnowski: Angry Patriots-versus-desperate Lions looks like a mismatch, and it probably is. But there have been cracks in the New England veneer, and Tom Brady is off to a slow start. None of the numbers really add up for the Lions, including this one: Brady is 45-10 in games following a loss. To have any shot, the Lions need Ford Field to be buzzing and Matthew Stafford to be much more accurate with the deep ball. He’ll hit a couple to keep it close, but not enough. Pick: Patriots 31-23