Nebraska rush offense vs. Wisconsin rush defense
Wisconsin's seventh nationally in rushing yards allowed per carry (2.9) mostly because the Badgers have given up just five runs of 20 yards or more this year. They are quick and well-organized, but they haven't faced the nation's 10th-best rush offense yet. Ameer Abdullah's health is an issue, but for the past two weeks, he's been healing and Nebraska's presumably been developing a possible contingency plan. Could be a big day for Tommy Armstrong.
Nebraska pass offense vs. Wisconsin pass defense
Of the 71 quarterbacks who're averaging at least 200 passing yards per game, Armstrong has the second-lowest completion percentage (53 percent). He's throwing one interception every 28.3 pass attempts. Not good. Wisconsin's deceptive pass rush schemes will create some pressure on Armstrong, too (the Badgers have 28 sacks, second in the league). Plus, U-W has held opposing QBs to a nation-low 46.3 completion percentage.
Wisconsin rush offense vs. Nebraska rush defense
Melvin Gordon is the nation's rushing leader (1,501 yards), yet backup Corey Clement still averages 6.3 yards per carry. Tanner McEvoy, the part-time starting quarterback, gets 9.4 yards per attempt. Nebraska's giving up just 3.74 yards per carry and its talented front four won't be easy for Wisconsin to maneuver around – but NU's defense, only facing 33 rush attempts per game (12th fewest nationally), hasn't been tested like this.
Wisconsin pass offense vs. Nebraska pass defense
Joel Stave was indeed impressive in the first half against Purdue, throwing for 190 yards on 15-of-20 passing. Receiver Alex Erickson is by far the team's top pass-catching option, but the Badgers will spread the ball around. Tight ends and running backs are regularly used as well. The Huskers must be leery of play-action, but they appear to have the skill to match up downfield against this team. NU opponents are averaging just 5.8 yards per pass attempt (10th-fewest nationally).
Start with De'Mornay Pierson-El. He has more punt return yards (441) than anybody and he's facing a team that's allowed 11.9 yards per punt return (114th nationally). Wisconsin's also averaged just 37.3 yards per punt (119th). The Badgers do have Kenzel Doe, who averages 11.6 yards on punt returns and 24.5 yards on kickoff returns. But NU ranks fourth in the Big Ten in net punting. Both teams are relying on freshman place kickers.
Bo Pelini's teams are 7-2 after bye weeks, so he and his staff know how to use the extra time and get their players prepared. And the Huskers are 20-6 under Pelini in November, so they're usually playing their best football at this time of year. But Wisconsin's 11-1 at Camp Randall Stadium under Gary Andersen. The Badgers overwhelmed Nebraska in Madison three years ago too. The Huskers don't always respond well in these big-time moments.
Key matchup: Wisconsin nose guards vs. Nebraska's interior linemen
Senior Konrad Zagzebski, injured against Purdue last week, is supposed to play. Sophomore Arthur Goldberg's proven to be a capable backup anyway. Lining up directing opposite of NU's center (or shaded just off his shoulder), they'll be spending Saturday afternoon trying to disrupt Nebraska's offense by creating pressure right up the middle. The Huskers must win at the point of attack.
It's two of the nation's top rushing offenses, each headlined by two of the best running backs who could deliver a highlight-reel moment at any time. Certainly, all eyes will be on Melvin Gordon and Ameer Abdullah (presuming he's healthy). So there's no sense to downplay the importance of Saturday's match-up. Aside from the Heisman Trophy audition, the winning team remains in control of its own destiny, the clear favorite in the West Division. So you can bet both Nebraska and Wisconsin will have plenty of motivation to play well. And we think the Badgers, at home, will make the fewest mistakes.
Our prediction: Wisconsin 34, Nebraska 31
Big Red Today coverage
Nebraska offensive lineman Michael Decker announced Saturday he has decided to retire from playing football. He started five games at center last year before a season-ending knee injury.
The timing does, indeed, seem right. Scott Frost is leading a revival to not only honor Nebraska football past but turn toward the future in a unified front. Having Frank Solich, Tom Osborne and Frost in the same sold-out ballroom…
Linebacker Andrew Ward announced on Twitter Saturday evening he was leaving the Nebraska football program after one season.
Pima (Arizona) Community College defensive tackle Tony Fair is ready make a decision on his next college. Until Friday it appeared Indiana, not far from Fair’s hometown of South Bend, would cruise to landing his commitment. Then Nebraska offered a…
25 years ago Scott Frost won a state title in the shot put, one of the final moments of his spectacular high school career. On Friday, one of his top recruits, Cam Jurgens, bested the mark set by his future…
All year round, former Husker and NFL veteran Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In Friday's episode, Carriker debates dream nonconference matchups for Nebraska and why he wants the Huskers to face off against Alabama.
Buy-in is high. Progress is being made. But Nebraska football's journey to excellence remains a marathon, not a sprint, coach Scott Frost reiterated Thursday in a World-Herald interview.
Nebraska coaches keep gushing about the city of Lincoln, so Lakia Henry, one of the nation’s top junior college recruits, is excited to see it this weekend.
It might finally be time for Frank Solich to return to Nebraska.
New Husker football coach Scott Frost threw for over 2,600 yards and 18 touchdowns in his NU career. On Thursday, Frost showed off his signature arm strength once again in Lincoln.
Mo Seisay will make his return to football in Canada. The former Husker cornerback signed a contract Wednesday with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League. Seisay hasn't played in a professional football game since 2014.
Former Husker Randy Gregory, who was given a one-year suspension in January 2017 for repeated substance abuse violations, will file for reinstatement to the NFL on Thursday, according to the NFL Network.
All year round, former Husker and NFL veteran Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In Wednesday's episode, Carriker talks to Faux Pelini about sharing a cat with Bo Pelini, the spring game moment, Carl Pelini, adventures of…
Which was the best Nebraska football team to not win a national championship? World-Herald staff writer Sam McKewon first posed the question on Twitter with four options — 1982, 1983, 1993 or 1999. Then Tuesday afternoon Tom Osborne was asked…
Nebraska coach Scott Frost said Wednesday it’d be “foolish to anticipate” which player he’ll pick as starting quarterback next fall. The four signal-callers left on campus — sophomores Andrew Bunch and Noah Vedral and freshmen Tristan Gebbia and Adrian Martinez…
Michael Johnson is getting close to wrapping up his recruitment. The four-star quarterback from Eugene, Oregon, told The World-Herald that he plans on visiting a handful of schools over the next few weeks and committing after that.
High-profile Nebraska signee Maurice Washington is set to graduate from a California high school soon, but his academic status as a Husker football player could be up in the air after that.
Keyan Williams, a senior wide receiver and son of former Nebraska wide receivers coach Keith Williams, is leaving the Husker football program.
All year round, former Husker and NFL veteran Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In Monday's episode, Carriker breaks down the differences between Nebraska and Michigan and gives his take on who will lead their team to…
The World-Herald spent some time with Chris Hickman and Nick Henrich on Friday — more to come on both down the road — but the general gist is this: They've been known college prospects long enough they’re sincerely weighing their…
Will I partake in a legal sports bet? Hold on. Let me ask my wife for some money.
Tate Wildeman shares a lot of similarities to his dad, who played for the Hawkeyes in the 1990s. But the defensive end recruit won't be following his dad's path to Iowa. He's forging his own with Nebraska.
The edges of the Huskers’ offense and defense will be built in Florida, Texas and California. The trenches have been built, at least for now, in the heartland.
Jim Harbaugh — touted by most fans, some media and himself as the ideal candidate to make Michigan football relevant again — has produced seasons of 10-3, 10-3 and 8-5 while going 0-3 against rival Ohio State and 1-2 in…
Maliek Collins broke the fifth metatarsal in his left foot Thursday during Dallas Cowboys offseason strength and conditioning workouts. He will undergo surgery, and Cowboys coach Jason Garrett told reporters Collins is expected to miss three months.
All year round, former Husker and NFL veteran Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In Friday's episode, Carriker gives his quick takeaways on the Huskers likely eliminating the fullback position and the effect it could have on…
Nebraska received good news Thursday that Breon Dixon, a transfer from Ole Miss, was granted immediate eligibility by the NCAA.
Former Nebraska quarterback officially signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday. The sixth-round draft pick signed after arriving in Jacksonville for rookie minicamp, which will be held through this weekend.
Nebraska's repeated struggles to generate a pass rush in recent years have led them to a top junior college pass-rushing prospect who was once the high school teammate of Husker receiver JD Spielman.
Mycah Pittman — 6-foot, 195 pounds — holds 31 scholarship offers. He recently named his final five schools: Alabama, Ohio State, Florida, Oregon and Nebraska. Pittman is the No. 64 overall prospect in the 2019 class and No. 11 wide…