As the Huskers prepare for a visit from Michigan State, NU Defensive Coordinator John Papuchis said that even though the Spartans are known for their nation-leading defense, their offense is still a huge threat for the Blackshirts.
“I think they are a physical group. That has always been a trademark of who they are.” Papuchis said, “I like their young quarterback (Connor Cook). I think he does a good job. I think he has a strong arm and throws the outside throws really well.”
An Ohio native, Cook is the man under center for Michigan State. The sophomore first-year starter has been making Papuchis lose sleep at night, as Papuchis mentioned, he is deceptively athletic.
“There is not a lot of quarterback designed runs, but there is some. He is a good athlete.” Papuchis said, “I don’t know if that is a huge part in what he tries to do, but if he gets out and runs, he is a good athlete.”
Even though Cook may not be the most mobile quarterback in the country, he does present a lot of challenges to the Blackshirt defense. A main concern for the Husker defense is trying to take the ball away from Michigan State’s offense, especially Cook, who has thrown for 13 touchdowns with only three interceptions. According to Papuchis, forcing turnovers this weekend will be vital for the Huskers to succeed.
“We’ve got to take advantage of the opportunities. He hasn’t made a lot of bad decisions with the ball and hopefully we get enough pressure on him that guys are getting up in his face.” Papuchis said, “We are going to need some takeaways this game.”
The Huskers will host the Michigan State Spartans on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.