Nebraska vs. Rutgers
Date: Saturday, Nov. 14
Game Time: 3:30 pm (ET)
Venue: High Point Solutions Stadium, Piscataway, NJ
For the first time in 2015, Nebraska (4-6, 2-4) will look to win back-to-back games when they travel to Piscataway this weekend to take on Rutgers (3-6, 1-5).
Despite coming off a win over No. 7 Michigan State and a game with No. 5 Iowa looming in the very near future – this year’s Nebraska squad is in no position to overlook anyone this season.
"I really felt a consistency in this week of practice, I've said all along that the practice weeks have been good and the attitudes have been good." Nebraska head coach Mike Riley said, "I think it has allowed us through the year to be competitive, allowed us to grow, allowed us to even be in that game and win it last week. We will see what that means for this week."
Rutgers is a football squad struggling, losing their last three games by an average of 36 points – it included contests against Ohio State, Wisconsin and Michigan.
"This will be a tough football game," Riley said. "This team has been really good at home. They have a couple players that are real difference makers and we cannot let those guys win the game. I think it is going to be tough."
The series: Nebraska and Rutgers have met twice, with the Huskers winning both contests. Making a trip to Lincoln last year, the Scarlet Knights were defeated 42-24. Starting quarterback Tommy Armstrong went 14-of-22 for 163 yards and two touchdowns.
WHAT A WIN MEANS FOR NEBRASKA: Even with five wins, Nebraska could actually have a shot at a bowl game. It’s not a lock, but a possibility. The Huskers are more than a touchdown favorite against Rutgers, but have struggled at times this season with opponents they should beat. Teams like Purdue and Illinois come to mind. Lose to Rutgers on the road and everything accomplished against Michigan State is wiped out. A win over Sparty also made things a little quieter when it comes to the noise in Lincoln. Heading into a bye week, a loss wouldn’t be great timing.
WHAT A WIN MEANS FOR RUTGERS: A win means everything for Rutgers. This as close to a do-or-die game after three straight blowout losses. A loss means the worst regular season in Kyle Flood's career in a season where he needs results. A win puts Rutgers on track for a bowl game for the fourth straight season under Flood. A win shows that Rutgers still has fight and the recent stretch does not accurately resemble Rutgers football. Rutgers and Flood need to inspire confidence, and a win over a program like Nebraska does that. – Sam Hellman, ScarletReport.com
NEBRASKA INJURY LIST:
RB.) Terrell Newby – Probable
WR.) Alonzo Moore – Probable
DT.) Kevin Williams – Probable (15-20 snap
LB.) Michael Rose-Ivey – Probable (15-20 snaps)
WR.) Stanley Morgan – Probable
NEBRASKA PLAYERS TO WATCH ON OFFENSE AND DEFENSE:
WR.) Jordan Westerkamp – The junior took a beating against Michigan State and even though he kept ticking, the bye week can’t get here soon enough. After his fourth 100-yard receiving game of the season, it will be interesting to watch how Rutgers brackets their coverage when it comes to Westerkamp. He really creates opportunities for other guys like Brandon Reilly, Stanley Morgan and Alonzo Moore.
LB.) Josh Banderas – After dealing with a groin injury early in the year, the middle linebacker is coming into his own and has registered nearly 10 tackles a game the last four contests. On Monday, head coach Mike Riley mentioned Banderas quickly when talking about the positives of the defense. With Rutgers offense struggling and the possibility of weather, look for the Scarlet Knights to try to run more than their normal share.
REASONS TO BE CONCERNED: Nebraska’s secondary continues to struggle and Rutgers wide receiver Leonte Carroo looks like he will be ready to play. The senior has 527 yards in five games and a total of nine touchdowns, but has struggled with an ankle injury that has sidelined him multiple games. If he is completely healthy, the 6-foot-1 wide receiver could be in store for a 150+ yard performance. Last year in Lincoln, Carroo caught five balls for 123 yards and a score.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “Every game is a big game, every game takes the same amount attention and detail and you basically show respect to the opponent by getting ready and spending time with them so that is the kind of the thing that you want. You hope that a game like this is confirming for you team." – Riley on getting ready for Rutgers after Michigan State game
JOSH HARVEY’S PREDICTION: Carroo or no Carroo, this is a game Nebraska should win. While it’s been a struggle most of the year, you have to wonder what Nebraska’s win over Michigan State did for this team. The Huskers will head into the bye week feeling better about the situation they were in two weeks ago. I think Rutgers will be able to move the ball through the air, but the Huskers’ secondary does enough. Nebraska – 44, Rutgers – 31
SAM HELLMAN’S PREDICTION: Nebraska's offense makes more plays than the Rutgers defense in crunch time, and the Huskers pull away in the fourth quarter. Nebraska has better play at quarterback and, although Leonte Carroo's return provides a spark for Rutgers, it will not be enough. Nebraska leaves Piscataway with a 31-20 victory.
OTHER NEBRASKA PREDICTIONS:
Matt Svoboda, BRR contributor: Nebraska 38 Rutgers 24
Joe Quinn, AM 590: Nebraska 42 Rutgers 28
Brett Edwards, KLKN-TV: Nebraska 45 Rutgers 28
Andrew Ward, KLKN-TV: Nebraska 35 Rutgers 21
Peter Terpstra, KLKN-TV: Nebraska 41 Rutgers 31
HuskerMo, BRR board member: Nebraska 34 Rutgers 27
OTHER BIG TEN GAMES OF NOTE:(Minnesota at Iowa / Michigan at Indiana)
Harvey (19-7 overall): Iowa and Michigan
Svobdoa (15-11 overall): Iowa and Michigan
Quinn (16-10 overall): Iowa and Michigan
Edwards (15-11 overall): Iowa and Michigan
Ward (15-11 overall): Iowa and Michigan
Terpstra (15-11 overall): Iowa and Michigan
HuskerMo (17-9 overall): Iowa and Michigan
** Overall record includes all Nebraska games and Big Ten picks since conference