David Nwabuisi, linebacker
Sometimes, stats miss the point. Nwabuisi had only six tackles, but put forth what was easily his best performance of the season. The senior padded his impressive career résumé by challenging Taylor Martinez and Ameer Abdullah in the running game. What Nwabuisi lacks in raw athleticism and speed, he makes up for with outstanding football awareness. While Damien Proby missed on several occasions, Nwabuisi never missed a beat. Perhaps NFL scouts will take note of his continued emergence as an elite Big Ten linebacker.
Daniel Jones, cornerback
Jones was unspectacular, but his stock certainly rose. For the majority of the game Saturday, Jones played well. With Nick VanHoose probably out for several weeks with a shoulder injury, the secondary needs Jones to fill the void. Jones, who rose up the depth chart quickly, faced an excellent Taylor Martinez and a set of talented receivers. Jones had decent coverage and tackled well. Against a less impressive James Vandenberg, expect Jones to be a key to the Wildcats' success. If he struggles, NU might have a tough time winning games from here on out.
I'm generally not a huge fan of the new uniforms. However, I admit that Under Armour killed it with the weekend outfit. Sure, the Cats lost the critical game, but they looked good doing it. When I was down on the field, Ibraheim Campbell walked past, and even his helmet looked superb. I'm clearly not much of a fashion writer, but the black jerseys were on point.
Northwestern switched to a silent snap count late in Saturday's game. That just about says it all. The sea of red created a comfortable atmosphere for Nebraska, and athletic director Jim Phillips must have been appalled. The Wildcats fan base had an opportunity to make a statement with a solid turnout this weekend. Instead, Huskers fans made up a large portion of the sellout crowd. While the student section has made strides this year, Ryan Field still lags in terms of creating a notable home-field advantage.
Trevor Siemian, quarterback
Siemian has not done well as the primary passer for Northwestern. In the past three games, NU averages 107.7 yards through the air. That won't cut it. His general inaccuracy put into question the offensive plan. He threw the ball a significant 35 times and managed only 116 yards. If the improvement is not there next week, expect to see Kain Colter back in a featured role – where he belongs.
Use of receivers
Many questioned the decisions from Pat Fitzgerald and Mick McCall on Saturday. NU headed into the season with what was considered among the deepest receiving corps in the Big Ten. For several reasons, that hasn't worked out. Demetrius Fields virtually disappeared on Saturday. Christian Jones and Siemian struggled to connect. Look at the leading receivers for NU in the past three weeks. Penn State: Mike Trumpy, 28 yards. Minnesota: Rashad Lawrence, 24 yards. Nebraska: Rashad Lawrence, 41 yards. Hardly an impressive output from a talented group.