Nebraska rush offense vs. Northwestern rush defense
According to his handful of Internet critics, Nebraska offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf doesn't call enough running plays, but the Huskers have run the ball with pop and efficiency this season, as evidenced by 5.35 yards per carry on the ground. Nebraska has found a rhythm to its running back rotation of Terrell Newby, Devine Ozigbo, Imani Cross and Andy Janovich. Northwestern's run defense gives up 4.24 yards per carry — 11th in the Big Ten. Michigan and Iowa proved teams can run right at Northwestern's front seven.
Nebraska pass offense vs. Northwestern pass defense
Husker quarterback Tommy Armstrong played his most efficient game at Minnesota, completing 69.2 percent of his passes for 261 yards and three touchdowns. The Husker wide receiver corps is close to full strength with the return of De'Mornay Pierson-El. Northwestern's pass defense ranks second in the Big Ten in overall efficiency. The Wildcats are deadly in the red zone, where they've allowed just five completions and intercepted two passes. Nebraska needs its pass game to produce something, but Northwestern, with an experienced secondary, may be the toughest challenge yet.
Northwestern rush offense vs. Nebraska rush defense
No team in the nation has faced fewer rush attempts per game than Nebraska, which should drop a major hint as to how Northwestern will fare. The Wildcats are most likely to stay committed to the run game — quarterback Clayton Thorson is a mediocre passer at best — but backs Justin Jackson and Solomon Vault are unlikely to get too untracked against a team bent on stopping the run with two defensive tackles — Maliek Collins and Vincent Valentine — suited to do it.
Northwestern pass offense vs. Nebraska pass defense
The Wildcats' fervent desire to prevent Thorson — who was benched in the Iowa game for backup Zack Oliver — means that Northwestern's pass game is limited and mostly a complement to the ground game. But Nebraska's pass defense hasn't bowed up against any other team this year, and Northwestern's collection of receivers — Christian Jones, Miles Shuler, Dan Vitale and Austin Carr are among them — are probably better than what Wisconsin and Minnesota put on the field against the Huskers. Both of those teams topped the 300-yard mark.
This category almost always tends to favor the team with more depth and talent, which means that it will favor Nebraska. The Huskers' punt and kickoff coverage — aided by punter Sam Foltz and kicker Drew Brown — have been solid, but the return units have been inconsistent-to-awful, especially on kickoff returns. Northwestern kick returner Solomon Vault is dangerous. The Wildcats' punter, Hunter Niswander, gets good hangtime on his punts, often forcing returners into fair catches.
Which team is hungrier to win? Well, Northwestern, which is coming off of two humiliating losses. The Wildcats know why they lost so badly to Michigan and Iowa and are determined to reverse the trend. For whatever reason, Nebraska has been a hot-and-cold team — often in the same game — in 11 a.m. starts. The Husker crowd should be juiced for alternate uniforms. Of course, they didn't do Northwestern much good in 2012 and 2014, when the Wildcats wore them against the Huskers.
Key matchup: Northwestern's offensive line vs. Nebraska's defensive line
Of all the teams Nebraska will face, Northwestern is the least likely to take advantage of the Huskers' bad pass defense. The Wildcats have to run the ball well on first and second down or face the consequences. But if they do, Nebraska's defense could be in for a long day.
This game seems like a trap for Nebraska. The opponent is hungry and stingy against the pass. Nebraska has just won a game and is perhaps looking to build on that momentum. Further, there's a sense that Husker coaches are worried — perhaps too worried — about Northwestern's run defense in a way that makes you wonder if Nebraska will try to pass too much. But the Wildcats are not a hard bunch to figure out. Stop the run, force the pass, grind clock, go home with a win. We'll bet on Nebraska doing that — just barely.
Our prediction: Nebraska 24, Northwestern 20
Big Red Today coverage
One of Nebraska’s biggest strengths when it joined the Big Ten has now become one of its biggest question marks — despite the return of the top four rushers from last season. And the one back who flashed the most…
Nebraska’s new football coach had to have a few cups of coffee Friday morning. His first spring practice began before sunrise.
Upperclassmen are going all in with the new coaching staff, coach Scott Frost said Friday morning, and those players will continue to be key as Nebraska makes a transition to new schemes on offense and defense this spring.
Scott Frost is all about walk-ons. He’s preached the importance of the walk-on program, he’s thrown around the idea of having 150 players at practice (meaning a large influx of walk-ons) and has said over and over he needs Nebraska…
Nebraska football announced its summer camp schedule Thursday, choosing to keep the Friday Night Lights event that was created and popularized by former coach Mike Riley.
Which Huskers are ready to evolve into valuable contributors and prove it during practices in the coming weeks? Here are five players to keep an eye on.
A smile crept across Carlos Davis’ face. The rumors are true, he said. Winter workouts under new strength coach Zach Duval were as hard as everyone’s heard. Maybe even harder.
Plug your nose, Nebraska traditionalists. Because this one might hurt. The fullback position at Nebraska is pretty much gone.
A former Husker — and NFL player — worked out at Nebraska’s pro day — cornerback Mohammed Seisay.
While many of his former teammates went through drills for NFL scouts at pro day on Wednesday, Nebraska's 2017 tackles leader sat in a balcony seat inside the Hawks Center and watched.
On Wednesday at the Hawks Championship Center, Tanner Lee threw on the run, he threw deep, he threw check downs, and in the end, completed 43 of his 49 passes.
More Canadian Football League scouts than usual attended Nebraska’s pro day Wednesday, focused on Ontario native and former Husker offensive tackle David Knevel.
Former NU standout Ndamukong Suh was officially released by the Miami Dolphins on Wednesday.
Nebraska gave members of the student body a shot at earning a spot on the football team Tuesday. On Wednesday, Scott Frost said he isn't yet sure whether any of those dreams would be realized.
Former Nebraska standout Rex Burkhead is re-signing with the New England Patriots, according to multiple reports.
Nebraska coach Scott Frost addressed the media to discuss the opening of spring football practice. Check out a transcript below, as provided courtesy of the Nebraska athletic department.
The press conference ahead of Scott Frost's first spring as Nebraska head coach featured many of the same qualities as the practices he will soon run. There were quick hits. There was efficiency. And most of all, there was enthusiasm.
Several Huskers will miss all or part of spring camp, Scott Frost announced Wednesday at his spring press conference. Among them were Nebraska's two starting centers from last season and Tre Bryant, who had back-to-back 100-yard rushing performances before going…
Scott Frost spent about 25 minutes Wednesday addressing the media in advance of spring football practice. Check out full video from that press conference.
Coach Scott Frost seems to have a type in terms of leaders he wants or likes. He likes hard-workers, he likes guys from Nebraska and guys who get dirt under their fingernails. So we tallied up five guys who we’ve…
Dadgummit, there was something in the air here on Wednesday. It wasn’t insecurity. Not bravado. Not apprehension or uncertainty. It was a young coach and his staff, on the eve of a very big job, totally at ease.
The World-Herald this week will have daily previews leading up to Nebraska's first spring practice on Friday. For some veterans looking for breakthroughs, here's a glance at eight who might benefit from getting a clean slate with a chance to…
World-Herald staff writers Sam McKewon, Evan Bland and Chris Heady tackle the hottest Husker headlines in the March 13 episode of the "Pick Six Podcast."
The World-Herald this week will have daily previews leading up to Nebraska's first spring practice Friday. With a heightened importance of making a good first impression with a new staff, here's a look at five position battles to keep a…
Dad couldn’t find his son. This is 2009, and they’d gone over to a friend’s house to watch the Big 12 title game — Nebraska vs. Texas — and the friend, he had played for the Huskers, and the son,…
Nebraska Athletic Director Bill Moos announced Friday a restructuring of the department's senior leadership, the first step in Moos' "blueprint for success" that aims to improve communication, efficiency and performance.
All year round, former Husker and NFL veteran Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In Thursday's episode, Adam Carriker talks to former Blackshirt Grant Wistrom about Scott Frost returning to NU, Erik Chinander rebuilding the Blackshirts and…
Nebraska players also had to adjust to some changes under new strength and conditioning coach Zach Duval.
Nebraska football coach Scott Frost is still in talking points mode as the Huskers prepare to begin his first spring practice next Friday.
Masry Mapieu, dropped from Nebraska’s 2018 recruiting class over concerns he wouldn’t academically qualify, will be another in-state prospect headed to a FBS program other than the Huskers.