Nebraska rush offense vs. Northwestern rush defense
Nebraska strayed from its ground game last week, calling only about two dozen run plays, but I-back Ameer Abdullah still carried for 165 yards. Northwestern is going to be a little more susceptible up front than Minnesota — and who knows if they load the box as the Gophers did — but you have to wonder at least some about the Huskers’ absence of Spencer Long at right guard. Also take note of Northwestern holding Iowa to 3.3 yards a carry last week. Edge: Nebraska
Nebraska pass offense vs. Northwestern pass defense
NU barely went over 50 percent last week with the combination of some drops and missed throws by Taylor Martinez. It will try to get back in sync with Tommy Armstrong and Ron Kellogg at quarterback, with Kellogg the more accurate thrower. Teams have thrown on Northwestern (59.2 percent, 245.8 yards per game) but the Wildcats do have a Big Ten-best 14 interceptions. Edge: Nebraska
Northwestern rush offense vs. Nebraska rush defense
Hard to give the Huskers the defensive edge here after Minnesota became their fifth opponent to run for 195 yards or more (271, 5.0 per carry). The problem for Northwestern is that it again won’t have tailback Venric Mark, and the health of quarterback Kain Colter is a little iffy. Still, the Wildcats have had decent success running the football on NU the last two years. Edge: Northwestern
Northwestern pass offense vs. Nebraska pass defense
The Wildcats have cut back on the snaps taken by Trevor Siemian, and Siemian is a better passer than Colter. Northwestern also hasn’t protected very well with 28 sacks allowed, by far the most of any Big Ten team. Nebraska’s last three opponents have completed just 45.2 percent of their passes, but Minnesota needed only eight completions last week to rack up 159 yards on the Huskers. Edge: Nebraska
Northwestern is last in the Big Ten in net punting (33.0 yards) and Nebraska is last in punt returns (4.0), so that might be an ugly standoff. The Wildcats have one of the league’s top kickers with Jeff Budzien, who has made 32 of 35 field goals the last two seasons, although Pat Smith connected on three last week for NU. The Huskers rank third in net punting (39.4), lead the league with 33 touchbacks on 51 kickoffs and probably have just a little more explosive capability on kickoff returns. Edge: Nebraska
Northwestern has no fear of the Huskers, beating them two years ago in Lincoln and leading them 28-16 last season before Nebraska rallied. You wonder about the psyche of both teams: Nebraska has a wounded feel to it after last week and Northwestern hasn’t won since Sept. 21. Injuries on offense have hurt both, but the Wildcats are just a little bit better with things such as penalties (fewer than five per game) and forced turnovers (18), and the Huskers are coming off a game where they failed to finish some key drives. Edge: Northwestern
Key matchup: Kain Colter vs. the Nebraska defense
Yeah, his ankle is hurting and the senior hasn’t put up the huge numbers this season, but the Nebraska defense — all levels of it — surely remembers what Colter did as a runner, passer and receiver two years ago. If he mostly sticks to quarterback Saturday, containing his run threat will be the highest priority for NU.
Northwestern has been a vastly better team in November than October the last few seasons, a nod to head coach Pat Fitzgerald holding his teams together no matter the circumstances. Nebraska also showed it could finish strong when it was in a similar position a year ago and won its last six. It’s a little hard to tell which team might be poised to piece things back together Saturday, so we’ll say it stays close.
Our prediction: Nebraska 27, Northwestern 23
Big Red Today coverage
All year round, Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In Wednesday's episode, Carriker talks to Nebraska defensive line coach John Parrella about his "All Gas, No Brakes" mantra, coaching the 3-4 defense, being back at Nebraska and…
Contrary to current popular opinion, Social Security eligibility isn’t required to land a high-profile position in Nebraska’s athletic department. It may seem that way with Mike Riley, 64, as head football coach and now Bill Moos, 66, as athletic director.
A lot of Nebraska players are pretty banged up this week, coach Mike Riley said on the Big Ten teleconference on Tuesday afternoon.
Former Nebraska quarterback Scott Frost knows a thing or two about the option offense, and he's using that knowledge to ready UCF to face it.
New Nebraska Athletic Director Bill Moos’ contract indicates that football is on the minds of those who gave it to him.
All year round, Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. Tuesday, Carriker takes an in-depth look at Nebraska's hiring of Bill Moos to be the next athletic director.
Members of the University of Nebraska Board of Regents expressed support and even delight Monday over the hiring of Bill Moos as Nebraska’s athletic director.
I’m hearing that some of the big-money folks are making their unhappiness known over Mike Riley’s football program.
Bill Moos may be a friendly face, but your skepticism is warranted.
All year round, Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. Monday, Carriker takes an in-depth look at the statistics behind Nebraska's 56-14 loss to Ohio State.
Moos, who has been director of athletics at Washington State since 2010, will begin his tenure in Lincoln on Oct. 23.
Nebraska’s defensive coordinator presided over a Blackshirts surrender that produced more sorrow on my Facebook page and in my Twitter/email message inbox than I can recall since the 2012 Big Ten championship game.
Bill Moos said Sunday that his motto has always been the same in 25 years of athletic administration and won't change as he takes over at Nebraska: "Honor the past, live the present, create the future."
For Bill Moos, his first course of action at Nebraska will likely focus heavily on figuring out who fits at Nebraska, and who doesn’t.
Picture this scene: Oregon State’s head coach (Mike Riley) sitting down with Oregon’s athletic director (Bill Moos) and telling Beaver football stories.
Somebody asked Bill Moos about boots, so he rattled off a couple of his favorite brands. And sports writers nodded in agreement.
If there had been a national betting pool on Nebraska’s hire for athletic director, today would entail offering refunds.
World-Herald staff writer Lee Barfknecht ranks the Big Ten football teams, as published in The World-Herald on Oct. 16.
Bill Moos was always open with Mike Bellotti. So open that they had conversations about what would happen if Moos — then the Oregon athletic director — ever had to fire his football coach.
There was a lot of talk about recovery on Saturday after one of Nebraska’s worst conference home losses ever.
Bill Moos came full circle in 2010 when he was hired as athletic director at Washington State, returning to Pullman after being an all-conference football player for the Cougars in the early 1970s and starting his career in athletics administration…
The former Nebraska center stated three goals when he was introduced as the interim athletic director on Sept. 26. All three got done under his watch, Rimington said Sunday.
All year round, Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In Sunday's episode, Carriker gives his gut reaction to Nebraska's new athletic director, Bill Moos.
What do you think of the hire? Vote in the poll below and leave comments sharing your thoughts.
Bill Moos will take over as Nebraska A.D. on Oct. 23, University of Nebraska-Lincoln chancellor Ronnie Green announced Sunday. Who is he?
Nebraska football coach Mike Riley, captain of this pigskin Titanic, looked cold as he passively watched his program sink, perhaps for good, during Ohio State’s 56-14 evisceration of the Huskers.
Look for Nebraska to introduce a new athletic director this week. It’s not official, but three sources with ties to NU’s administration indicated Saturday interviews took place late last week and that a decision is either imminent or already made.
For the sake of all those national champions and All-Americans, for the thousands who grew up and grew old on the planks of Memorial Stadium, for the pride and dignity of a state and its flagship university. Make. It. Stop.
You could see and hear the boss calling for change. And it seems inevitable now, change will come to Nebraska’s football program. Many want it now, of course, after the embarrassment that unfolded at Memorial Stadium on Saturday night.
World-Herald staff writer Evan Bland takes a look at Nebraska's effort on both sides of the ball during the Huskers' 56-14 loss against the Buckeyes.