ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Michigan knows it faces a difficult challenge at Nebraska on Saturday night.
Fortunately for the Wolverines, they already have faced tough opponents on the road under the lights.
“You hear a lot of stories about the Sea of Red and Nebraska and you look forward to going into environments like that and it is going to be real hostile,” redshirt junior safety Thomas Gordon said. “That's where going down to Dallas against Alabama and then Notre Dame really will help us.”
While Memorial Stadium isn’t as large as the Big House, seating about 86,000, the Nebraska fans are just as raucous. The Cornhuskers have sold out more than 300 games in a row (their last non sellout was in 1962), and like any other away game the fans will be harsh to the Wolverines.
It might be the loudest, biggest crowd Michigan has faced this year, so the upperclassmen are doing their best to make sure the younger players are prepared.
“It'll be a great atmosphere,” senior offensive lineman Elliott Mealer said. “Whether we're home or away, we try not to let the crowd affect us too much, I think. It's going to be fun to experience, but at the same time we'll have to go there and play Michigan football.”
On top of the feel at Memorial Stadium, the Wolverines play another night game, which many players have said provides more issues. With a noon or 3:30 kick, there’s less time to kill during the day while preparing for the game. But with the Michigan-Nebraska kickoff not coming until 8 p.m., the Wolverines will have a lot of idle time.
But, with it being the third night game on the Wolverines’ schedule, Hoke said he doesn’t think his players will have trouble knowing how to conduct themselves or deal with the time during the day.
“I think they’re used to playing at night,” Hoke said. “I don’t perceive that being a problem, going to South Bend already, and the blueprint for what we’ll do -- walkthroughs, meetings, eat, all that kind of stuff -- will be pretty much what they’re used to.”
While the late start and the Wolverines’ first conference trip to Lincoln should be exciting, the Wolverines know they’ll have to be all business and not let those outside factors affect them if they want to move to 4-0 in the Big Ten.
“It’s a neat place to play because of their tradition and their passion that they have as a fan base about Nebraska football,” Hoke said. “It’s really a neat place to play. It’ll be loud. We’ll have to play our best football that we’ve played this year.”