Northwestern vs. Nebraska Preview

All eyes will be on the Nebraska vs Northwestern game this Saturday at Ryan Field in a pivotal Big Ten Legends Division matchup.

The Wildcats were the first team to become bowl-eligible as they recorded their sixth win of the season, 21-13 last Saturday against Minnesota. Nebraska however, is coming off a bye week after a humiliating defeat to Ohio State two weeks ago.

Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez.

This will be the first time the Cornhuskers have played at Ryan Field since 1931 and this game is expected to be a sellout. Nebraska lost to the Wildcats at home last season and Northwestern will look to notch a huge win at home on Saturday.

Northwestern has benefitted this season from its dual-quarterback combination in Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian, and running back Venric Mark. The Wildcats average nearly 230 rushing yards per game while the Cornhuskers have been poor stopping the run this season.

“Kain Colter is kind of a multi-faceted guy,” said Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini. “He’s dangerous as a quarterback, good as a wide receiver. You’ve got to be prepared for whoever shows up at quarterback. You’ve got to be prepared to deal with Kain no matter where he lines up.”

Nebraska however, isn’t a slouch when it comes to rushing the ball as they’ve averaged 292 rushing yards this season thanks in large part to running back Rex Burkhead. Sophomore Ameer Abdullah and junior quarterback Taylor Martinez are threats as well, and could pose a challenge to the second best rushing defense in the Big Ten in Northwestern.

“They are a good defense, and they are really well-coached,” Martinez said.  “They will play their hearts out.”

With the Legends Division being tightly contested, this could be looked at as a must-win game for both programs, especially Northwestern, who hasn’t gotten the national respect some feel they deserve. Although the Wildcats are just one of a handful of bowl-eligible teams, they aren’t ranked and will need signature victories in order to possibly secure a BCS bid.

Northwestern managed to get past Minnesota last Saturday but will need a better performance from their offense to defeat Nebraska. The Cornhuskers, on the other hand, had a plethora of turnovers in their loss to Ohio State, which they’ve worked on over the past two weeks.

“We know how good of an offense we are,” Martinez said. “I don’t think anyone can stop us. The only times we get stopped is if we stop ourselves with turnovers.”

Bold Prediction: Similar to the Wildcats 6-1 record, I’m 6-1 in making picks this season. I predict Northwestern will win a close game over Nebraska 34-31. This could potentially setup three important games for the Wildcats against Iowa, Michigan and Michigan State.

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