Six questions for the Wildcats

To help us preview Nebraska versus Northwestern, BRR reached out to publisher Chris Emma for his take.

1.) On Saturday, Northwestern became bowl eligible. How big of a deal was that for the players this early on in the season?

"It proved as a sign of change that the Wildcats didn't care one bit about being bowl-eligible already, even as it's the earliest date ever Northwestern has reached bowl eligibility. Pat Fitzgerald and each player who met the media after Saturday's game shrugged it off as no big accomplishment. This is now the sixth consecutive year NU has reached the six-win mark, so it's beginning to mean less each year."

2.) Talk about the quarterback situation right now between Kain Coulter and Trevor Siemian. Right now is it a 50/50 split and who in your eyes gives them the best chance to win?

"The greatest debate this year has been how Northwestern should manage its quarterbacks. Kain Colter provides a boost in the rushing attack, but has been underutilized as a passer, while Trevor Siemian has been inconsistent as a thrower. In my opinion, NU should commit to Colter as its quarterback and unleash him as a thrower, because he does have a great arm.

3.) Many people projected Venric Mark would be a special player, but did anyone expect this type of production from the junior?

"Nobody expected Venric Mark would find himself in this role, but he has flourished to this point and has become the biggest surprise on the team, and maybe the greatest surprise in the Big Ten. Mark has shown he can bounce through the middle and has sustained durability, even while taking a beating."

4.) After the defense was not able to get it done late against Penn State two weeks ago, they responded on Saturday holding off Minnesota. How big was it for this team going forward in the confidence department?

"The biggest issue for Northwestern against Penn State was that it was unable to get off the field, namely due to third-down issues. Against Minnesota, the Wildcat defense forced turnovers, which was the most important difference from one week prior and changed the game in NU's favor. However, Northwestern's defense has enjoyed many highs and suffered through countless lows, so confidence seems to fluctuate."

5.) Last year Northwestern upset then No. 10 Nebraska at home 28-25. For a program that is moving in the right direction, how big was that win for Fitzgerald and crew?

"From a 2011 perspective, the victory was huge, as it brought Northwestern to a bowl, which seemed impossible after a five-game skid. From a long-term perspective, it was a signature win for Pat Fitzgerald and the program to hang their hats on. It meant a lot for frustrated fans to celebrate a critical win, and it's something they'll remember for a long time."

6.) Compare Ryan Field to Memorial Stadium's atmosphere?

"There is no comparing Ryan Field to Memorial Stadium, and it's hard to compare any other stadium to what Nebraska has. The environment in Lincoln is truly special. However, Ryan Field also is very unique. The stadium is located in a quiet neighborhood, but gets rowdy on Saturdays in the fall. The skyline of Chicago and Lake Michigan are visible from the west side of the stadium. It's a picturesque view that's hard to top in college football."
Josh Harvey has covered college football and recruiting for Fox Sports & since 2008. He is now the Publisher of Big Red Report, covering Nebraska athletics.
Facebook | Twitter| E-Mail |

Big Red Report Top Stories