By LIZ VUKELICH
Daily Sports Editor
The Michigan football team no
'longer controls its own destiny in
the Big Ten, but that doesn't stop
the team's rhetoric that a Big Ten
championship is within reach.
Never mind the fact that the Wol-
verines would have to win their
last four games, while Michigan
State would have to lose its last
three games of its season.
The Wolverines gave Nebraska a
rude welcome to the Big Ten when
it played in Michigan Stadium
two years ago, and the Huskers
returned the favor when Michigan
made the trip to Lincoln last sea-
Here's where each team will
have an edge on Saturday.
Michigan pass offense vs.
Nebraska pass defense:
Remember the seven sacks of
redshirt junior quarterback Devin
Gardner last week?
Thought so. And so does the
'Michigan offensive line, the group
on which most of the responsibility
for Gardner's beating lies.
At this point, it won't matter
how many times the offensive line
is shuffled around. It's inexperi-
enced, and nothing except a few
more years is going to fix that. That
probably won't do much good for
when Nebraska arrives in town.
The Huskers aren't known for
having the same kind of defensive
threat as Michigan State, but they
still do have 22 sacks on the season.
The combination of Jeremy Gal-
lon and Devin Funchess is always
there for Michigan - assuming
Gardner has enough time in the
pocket to get the ball off.
Michigan rush offense vs.
Nebraska rush defense:
Michigan fans canbreathe, since
negative 48 rushing yards probably
isn't in the cards for the Wolverines
for a second consecutive week.
The Huskers are a relatively easy
team to run the ball against, allow-
ing 182.6 rushing yards per game.
Saturday will likely continue to
be the Fitzgerald Toussaint show.
Offensive coordinator Al Borges
said he would probably refrain
from giving freshman Derrick
Green carries until "the game is in
Nebraska pass offense vs. Mich-
igan pass defense:
Last week's game-winning Hail
Mary against Northwestern aside,
the Huskers' strength most cer-
tainly isn't in their passing game.
With starting quarterback Tay-
lor Martinez out for a second-
straight week, Nebraska is rotating
between Tommy Armstrong Jr.
and Ron Kellogg III. Though Kel-
logg is a more reliable passer, Arm-
strong has taken the majority of the
snaps, and has thrown six intercep-
tions in the past two games.
The Wolverines' secondary,
though nothing exceptional, has
had its moments, even last week-
end against Michigan State when
it had one late-game interception.
And with Nebraska's offensive line
weakened after a season-ending
injury to senior guard Spencer
Long, any type of pressure the
Wolverines are able to put on Arm-
strong means they'll be able to keep
the Huskers' pass offense under
Nebraska rush offense vs. Mich-
igan rush defense:
Hello, Ameer Abdullah. You
don't need much of an introduc-
The Huskers boast the Big Ten's
premiere running back in Abdul-
lah, who's rushed for over 100
yards in every game but one this
year for a total of 1,108 rushing
yards on the season, good for sixth
in the nation. Defensive coordina-
tor Greg Mattison called him the
best running back the Wolverines
will face this year.
Abdullah is fast. He's athletic.
If there's any kind of hole, he'll be
running through it and down the
Good luck to the Wolverines try-
ing to stop him.
he'd never done in his time at
Michigan - miss a game.
Then-coach Lloyd Carr
walked into the trainer's
room after the game and
noticed Falk was crying.
"'You must be in unbe-
lievable pain,' "Carr remem-
bered telling Falk in a press
conference. "(Falk) says,
'No, I was just thinking next
Saturday is going to be the
first Michigan football game
have missed in '30-plus
The Monday after the
Iowa trip, Falk had surgery.
At 11 p.m., when the doctors
had finished operating on
his broken leg, Bo, his wife
Cathy and Michigan Radio
Network sportscaster Jim
Brandstatter walked in.
They stayed for an hour,
talking and laughing. For
a while, Falk forgot he
wouldn't be on the sidelines
for the first time in decades
the next week.
"That's the type of friend-
ship I was able to have with
Bo," Falk said. "I valued
Letters from well-wish-
ers poured in from across
the country, including one
with a White House return
address. President George
W. Bush watched the game
with the first lady and want-
ed to let Falk know he was in
But unlike his encoun-
ters with Clinton and Bush,
Falk's relationship with
Gerald Ford was more than
a quick handshake or a
thoughtful note. It began
when Ford evicted him.
In 1976, Bo called Falk into
his office and told him that
President Ford was return-
ing to Ann Arbor and need-
ed a place to stay. Bo didn't
ask but rather told Falk that
Ford would be staying in his
apartment that overlooked
the U-M Golf Course - but
on one condition.'
"'Is the place clean?' "
Falk did his best Bo impres-
sion, which, having spent
decades together, is quite
"'What do you think Iam,
an animal?' " Falk replied.
"For two weeks, every day,
Bo would say, 'Hey Falk, is
your apartment clean? The
president is coming into
town. The president of the
"Two days before he
showed up, they threw me
out of my apartment and
brought in a professional
When Ford finally arrived
at the pristine apartment, he
chatted with Falk for a few
minutes. Ford thanked him
for the hospitality, assuring
him that everything looked
to be in order. Falk, never
the type to shy away from
an opportunity to stay in his
coach's good graces, made
one request of the president,
in exchange for the use of his
"Make sure that Bo knows
the place is clean," he boldly
requested of the command-
Falk could never fully
repay Bo for thinking of him
when the head equipment
manager position opened
up in 1974. But that doesn't
mean he didn't try his hard-
His attempts to keep his
coach happy, which seem-
ingly knew no bounds,
ranged from the hilarious to
One day, Bo walked into
the office a little taller and a
little prouder than usual. He
had a big grin on his face and
strolled over to Falk, lift-
Fifth-year senior wide reciever Jeremy Gallon and his ability to get open will be one of the key's to the offense on Saturday.
Last weekend against the Spar-
tans was a special teams battle.
Though the Wolverines started
off strong with a 49-yard field goal
from Matt Wile, they ultimately
came out on losing end of that
battle, specifically when it came to
punts and kickoff returns.
The Huskers fare fairly similarly
to Michigan, averaging 22.9 yards
per'kickoff return and 41.3 yards
The Wolverines were embar-
rassed last weekend against Michi-
gan State, and Hoke has been under
more fire from the fans this week
than he has been in the entirety of
his tenure in Ann Arbor.
Still, the Wolverines seem opti-
mistic coming off this week of
practice. Save for last year's games
against Ohio State and South
Carolina, Michigan has never had
back-to-back losses under Hoke.
Michigan is fired up.
This will also be Nebraska's
third time on the road this season
and Armstrong's second-ever road
start. Earlier this week, Abdullah
called Michigan fans "ruthless."
They can be even more ruthless
when their program's dignity is on
Prediction: Michigan 30,
6 FootballSaturday -November 9, 2013
3 ' FootballSaturday - November 9, 2013