Northwestern (5-2,1-2) at Nebraska (3-4,1-2)
Date: Saturday, Oct. 24
Game Time: 12:00 pm
Venue: Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, NE
THE SERIES: Nebraska currently has a 6-2 series lead over the Wildcats, including a 3-1 record since joining the Big Ten. Two of Nebraska’s three wins came in very close games that were decided in the final minutes. Including Jordan Westerkamp’s Hail Mary catch in 2012.
WHAT A WIN MEANS FOR NEBRASKA: The Huskers have a chance to get back to .500 and reaching a bowl game becomes a lot easier task. With a road game against Purdue next weekend, a game Nebraska will be favored in, the Huskers could have some real momentum heading into a home game against Michigan State on Nov 11.
WHAT A WIN MEANS FOR NORTHWESTERN: After a promising 5-2 start, the Wildcats have lost two straight and by big margins. Northwestern has fallen out of the top 25 and with a matchup against Penn State on the road next week, the season could spiral out control without a win in Lincoln.
Out: OLB.) Luke Gifford (hip), MLB.) Chris Weber (neck), OT.) David Knevel (concussion in practice), DT.) Kevin Williams (thumb) and DE.) Kevin Maurice (ankle).
Playing: DE.) Freedom Akinmoladun (knee), OLB.) Michael Rose-Ivey (groin), OT.) Nick Gates (ankle, won't start but will get some action), CB.) Daniel Davie (groin) and TE.) David Sutton (knee).
WHO TO WATCH ON OFFENSE AND DEFENSE:
RB.) Terrell Newby – The Wildcats have given up over 200 yards rushing in two straight games. With a top 15 passing defense, the Huskers will likely try to establish a strong running game. Newby is coming off a 116-yard performance against Minnesota, rushing for 8.9 yards a carry, pushing his season total to 589 rushing yards. The junior is currently on pace for over 1,000 yards this season.
LB.) Josh Banderas – The junior linebacker returned to action after missing the last three contests and led the Huskers in tackles with eight against Minnesota last week. Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson has struggled the last two weeks in the air, going just 30-of-62 for 231 yards and two interceptions against Iowa and Michigan. While Nebraska’s passing defense isn’t even average at this point, Northwestern will likely try to run early – a category they rank much higher in than through the air.
REASONS TO BE CONCERNED: Nebraska quarterback Tommy Armstrong is averaging 34 attempts per game this season, meaning the Huskers want to throw even when the running game is working. The Wildcats currently rank No. 11 in the country in stopping passing attacks.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "They’re a really solid defense. They play together, and everyone is doing their jobs. We know that they’re going to give us a fight, and we've just got to take advantage of our opportunities each and every week. Other than that, the last couple years we’ve played them. The first year, I struggled a little bit. The second year I struggled the first half, second half came out and knew what I had to fix, fixed it, and we got a win, so we've just got to have a consistent football game.” – Tommy Armstrong, Nebraska QB
JOSH HARVEY’S PREDICTION: On paper it looks like two teams going in different directions. Nebraska might have turned the corner offensively against Minnesota, scoring 48 points – the most points the Gophers have given up this season. Northwestern on the other hand has been outscored 78-10 the last two weeks to pretty good squads in Michigan and Iowa. When these two teams play each other it’s pretty close. Nebraska will do too much against the Wildcats on offense…Huskers 31, Northwestern: 21
OTHER NBERASKA PREDICTIONS:
Matt Svoboda, BRR contributor: Nebraska 31 Northwestern 27
Joe Quinn, AM 590: Nebraska: 35 Northwestern 28
Brett Edwards, KLKN-TV: Nebraska 27 Northwestern 14
Andrew Ward, KLKN-TV: Nebraska 28 Northwestern 17
Peter Terpstra, KLKN-TV: Nebraska 24 Northwestern 13
HuskerMo, BRR board member: Nebraska 28 Northwestern 17
OTHER BIG TEN GAMES OF NOTES:(Wisconsin at Illinois / Penn State at Maryland)
Harvey (12-4 overall): Wisconsin and Penn State
Svobdoa (9-7 overall): Wisconsin and Penn State
Quinn (11-5 overall): Wisconsin and Penn State
Edwards (9-7 overall): Wisconsin and Penn State
Ward (10-6 overall): Wisconsin and Penn State
Terpstra (9-7 overall): Wisconsin and Penn State
HuskerMo (9-7 overall): Wisconsin and Penn State*** Overall record includes all Nebraska games and Big Ten picks since conference