Nebraska football hopes to bounce back against Northwestern

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One week into the season and Nebraska football already lost a game due to COVID related issues within the Wisconsin football program. Coincidence? Probably, but it just comes off so peculiar that it would be against Nebraska, considering all the issues it has had with conference leadership thus far.

Northwestern preview

Now the Huskers have had two weeks to prepare for their trip to Evanston, Illinois to take on the Wildcats. In 2019 Northwestern, saw its worst season since 2002 going 3-9. Nebraska barely snuck out a victory when Northwestern came to Lincoln last year, winning on a field goal from walk-on kicker Lane McCallum 13-10.

Northwestern has been one of the biggest surprises in the Big Ten starting 2-0. The Wildcats took down Maryland handily winning the contest 43-3. Last week the Cats pulled a come-from-behind win at Iowa, shocking the Hawkeyes 21-20.

Expect nothing less than a nail biter when the Wildcats come to Lincoln this Saturday. Since joining the Big Ten, the Huskers and Wildcats played a total of nine times with six of those meetings being decided by three or fewer points. The two teams have split the past two games, while Nebraska football still holds the overall series 8-5.

The Wildcats bring in a stingy and reliable defense to Lincoln. Northwestern is first in passing and second in rushing defense in the conference. The team has allowed only 250 yards per game, third best in the country, and has racked up a total of seven turnovers. Offensively, Northwestern reloaded this offseason bringing in a few new faces with Indiana transfer quarterback Peyton Ramsey and new offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian.

Nebraska needs to step up early

Currently, the spread sits at -3.5 in favor of Northwestern. The Huskers bring with them a more talented roster, but the Wildcats having already played two games is a huge advantage. Nebraska has the disadvantage of having two defensive starters out for the first half of the game. Cam-Britt Taylor and Deontai Williams both were ejected due to targeting during the Ohio State game.

Expect to see another two-quarterback system take the field this weekend. Adrian Martinez will be expected to take the bulk of the snaps while sprinkling a little Luke McCaffrey here and there. Wandale Robinson needs to step up big in this game. Accounting for only 49 yards at Ohio State, the young receiver needs to get more touches if the Huskers hope to pull off an upset.

Omar Manning is expected to make his debut for the 2020 Huskers. The former JUCO player was ranked as the No. 1 wide receiver in the 2020 class. Whether or not he takes the field has yet to be seen, but Manning is projected to play a key role in this Nebraska football offense.

If this game does come down to the wire, the Huskers may look to kicker Connor Culp. A former LSU Tiger, he finished 11 of 16 on field goals and 20 of 23 on extra points. Against Ohio State, Culp went 1-for-1 on his 22-yard attempt.

Who gets the crown for best NU in the conference? We’ll find out Saturday.

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