As bad as the first part of the season has been for Northwestern, it won’t matter if it can beat the Huskers. As good as the first part of the season has been for Nebraska, it won’t matter if it loses to the Wildcats. Check out the Nebraska vs. Northwestern fearless prediction and game preview.
Nebraska (3-0) vs. Northwestern (1-2) Game Preview
Date: Saturday, September 24th
Game Time: 7:30 pm
Venue: Ryan Field, Evanston, IL
Why Nebraska Will Win
Another year, another season when the Northwestern offense isn’t working.
The passing game is better in terms of yards – it’s nowhere near as sad as it was throughout last season – but the offensive line isn’t as good, the running game is being bottled up, and it’s the same old Northwestern in terms of needing to control the game, rely on the defense, and hope and pray everything goes its way.
The Wildcat Jedi mind tricks work on the weak, but there’s one problem with that this week – Nebraska isn’t screwing up.
It didn’t force any takeaways against Nebraska and finished a -1 in turnover margin, but it’s a whopping +6 on the year overall with just two giveaways. Northwestern isn’t going to move the ball well enough to get involved in any sort of a shootout, and worst of all for the Wildcat way of life, it’s not controlling the time of possession.
The stats are a bit skewed because Oregon prefers to hold on to the ball for about five minutes a game, but Nebraska has been outstanding at maintaining control so far, and getting it back when it’s in a little bit of trouble, keeping the ball for over 33 minutes a game and doing a wonderful job on third downs.
Why Northwestern Will Win
Northwestern has a way of bringing you down to its level.
For good and for bad, the Wildcats always seem to grind games down to a dead stop against the teams without elite skill and talent. Nebraska might end this fast with a few early scores, but if Northwestern is being Northwestern, this will be a sluggish game that’s still close well into the fourth quarter.
The NU run defense has been excellent so far and the decent Western Michigan and Duke offenses never quite got going, and the should be the way this week works, too. Stop the run, hope Tommy Armstrong is a sub-50% passer like he was against Nebraska, and control the field position battle.
The Wildcat punting game so far has been fantastic, and the defense has done an outstanding job of almost never breaking after bending a bit too much. Obviously, the tragic loss of Sam Foltz has everything to do with it, but the Nebraska punting game has been an issue so far, and against this Wildcat team, it can’t be.
What’s Going To Happen?
It’s going to be a really, really frustrating first few quarters for Nebraska.
There will be a few too many missed opportunities, drives will stall, and it’ll seem like the Huskers will be just one play away from busting things wide open. That’ll finally happen in the second half when Armstrong starts making more plays with his legs, and then, the dam will break.
Northwestern will have a shot in the fourth quarter to pull this off, it won’t do it, and three plays later the Huskers will put it away on a deep ball to Jordan Westerkamp.
Nebraska vs. Northwestern Prediction
Final Score: Nebraska 26, Northwestern 16
Line: Nebraska -7.5, o/u: 48
ATS Confidence: 5: Xmas in September – 1: Get out now … 2.5
Must See Rating: 5: The Magnificent Seven – 1: The Voice … 3