Nebraska rush offense vs. Wisconsin rush defense
Nebraska's embracing the emergence of fullback Andy Janovich and freshman Devine Ozigbo. The elusive and shifty Terrell Newby is still the top rusher, but this appears to be a three-man rotation going forward. Since giving up 238 rushing yards in a season-opening loss to Alabama, Wisconsin is holding opponents to 2.1 yards per carry. The Badgers have allowed just 14 runs of 10-plus yards.
Nebraska pass offense vs. Wisconsin pass defense
Tommy Armstrong has the lowest completion rate (54.4 percent) of any quarterback ranked among the nation's top 25 in passing yards per game, but Indiana's the only Big Ten team averaging more yards per completion than Nebraska (13.5). Protecting him will be key. Joe Schobert and Vince Biegel can create lots of havoc. The Badgers have 15 sacks. But there might be just enough scheme-created windows for Jordan Westerkamp, Stanley Morgan and Brandon Reilly to get loose.
Wisconsin rush offense vs. Nebraska rush defense
There's no Melvin Gordon, the talented back who ran for 408 yards in three quarters against the Huskers last season. The player expected to replace Gordon, Corey Clement, is injured. So far, the Badgers have produced just four runs of 20-plus yards. They led the country in that category last year. Nebraska ranks 22nd nationally allowing 3.1 yards per carry — but they've faced an average of 27.6 rushes per game, the second-fewest rate in the country.
Wisconsin pass offense vs. Nebraska pass defense
Nebraska still ranks last in the country in passing yards allowed per game (353.8). But is Wisconsin capable of exploiting NU's weakness? The Badgers are without their top pass-catching tight end, Austin Traylor. Their No. 1 receiver, Alex Erickson, is questionable. Their quarterback, Joel Stave, has made 33 career starts, but he's also thrown 30 interceptions. Then again, though, the U-W play-action passing game tends to get receivers open. Stave may have some moments.
Wisconsin's only recorded six touchbacks on kickoffs this year, but opponents' average starting field position is their own 21.0 yard line (second-best nationally). The Badgers are also holding teams to just 3.4 yards per punt return. The Huskers haven't been as sharp as they would like to be in the kicking game. Punter Sam Foltz enjoyed his best performance of the season last week. Nebraska's also hoping to get playmaker De'Mornay Pierson-El going again.
Confidence is shaken within the Husker locker room after three close losses — two of which could have easily been victories with proper game management down the stretch. But Wisconsin didn't begin the week with much positive momentum, either. The Badgers lost 10-6 to Iowa despite gaining 99 more yards and controlling the action after halftime. They need a win. But expect NU, boosted by the comfort of a home stadium, to play like the more desperate team.
Key matchup: Key matchup: Nebraska's wide receivers vs. Wisconsin's cornerbacks
The NU players know that the Badgers will shift coverages and try to keep them guessing. But whether it's zone defense or a man-to-man look, the Huskers are expecting one commonality from the Wisconsin defensive backs: a physical approach. The Badgers like to play an in-your-face and attacking style. They'll shove and grab. They push you around, if you let them. We'll see how Nebraska responds.
The reward for this Saturday's matchup was supposed to be a driver's seat position within a potentially jam-packed Big Ten West division race. Instead? It's all about survival. The loser goes to 0-2 in league action, a dismal (and perhaps fatal) start that neither team wants. Both the Huskers and Badgers are flawed, bruised and a little frustrated. Both can rebound now — but they'll need their play-makers to step up. NU appears to have just a couple more game-changers.
Our prediction: Nebraska 20, Wisconsin 17
Big Red Today coverage
Nebraska will have some of their top recruits in the 2018 and 2019 classes on campus this weekend for the Friday Night Lights camp and Big Red Weekend.
Richie Incognito flips his white hat backward and squats into a stance, feet spread wide, eyes forward. His teal Nike T-shirt clings to his barrel chest. Tattoos cover his forearms. Sweat mats his hair.
Brendan "Bookie" Radley-Hiles feels it's been too long since there was greatness at Nebraska, and he plans to bring it back.
Flip on Hayden Conner's highlights and you'd probably wonder what a grown man is doing on a football field with a bunch of middle schoolers.
You figure we’d learn. That Nebraska media and fans would pump the brakes when it comes to recruiting and expecting too much too soon from freshmen who are figuring out how to be an adult as they find their place…
Council Bluffs Lewis Central quarterback Max Duggan, a top 2019 quarterback target for Nebraska, is considering attending the Huskers’ second and star-studded Friday Nights Lights after he performed well at the first one.
Garrett Nelson on Friday had what any high school athlete in Nebraska would consider a fantastic day.
Nebraska safeties coach Bob Elliott has moved to a defensive analyst position due to personal reasons, the school announced Tuesday in a press release, and Scott Booker has been promoted to replace him as a full-time assistant.
Nebraska receiver Keyshawn Johnson Jr. — the star Calabasas (California) receiver who signed with the Huskers and was at the center of a recruiting movement in California — is taking a leave of absence from NU's program just six months…
Nebraska had 2018 offensive tackle Chris Bleich high on its list of targets, but the 6-foot-6, 305-pounder — who visited for NU's spring game — committed Monday night to UCLA via Twitter.
Joshua and Jordan Moore’s dad had a Father’s Day stuffed with emotions. He’d mourned and rejoiced in one afternoon.
Our Husker Camp Countdown begins Monday, and it’s never been harder trying to pick the 50 Nebraska football players we think will be big factors in the upcoming season.
Yoakum (Texas) receiver Joshua Moore committed to Nebraska Sunday, picking the Huskers over Florida State and Texas A&M. What’s it mean for Nebraska?
The relationship Keith Williams started with Joshua Moore eventually paid off in a major commit for the Huskers’ 2018 recruiting class.
He’s the first athlete of the year from Beatrice since Bob Hohn in 1960. He’s also only the fourth junior honored in 67 years, following Gerry Gdowski of Fremont in 1985, Leodis Flowers of Omaha Central in 1986 and Ron…
In Lee’s final season at Tulane — the last data point we have for Nebraska’s new starting quarterback — he played four games, nearly half his season, with at least one finger tied behind his back, if you will.
Nebraska’s first Friday Night Lights of the year kicked off under the lights in Memorial Stadium. But within an hour, the coaching staff shifted the event inside before severe storms smacked the city.
For the second straight year, an in-state defensive linemen received a scholarship offer from Nebraska directly after a Friday Night Lights camp.
One of our new recruiting features at The World-Herald will be a monthly Big Ten recruiting rankings update. We're doing a second one this month to recap a busy stretch in the recruiting cycle.
A short stroll down Stadium Drive was all it took to get a feel for how Nebraska’s inaugural Fan Fest was going. Whether Husker fans or not, those present all spoke enthusiastically about the Friday evening event that felt, looked,…
World-Herald prep recruiting specialist Mike Sautter was in attendance at Nebraska's Friday Night Lights camp and highlights the top in-state prospects at the camp on Friday, June 16.
For the 173rd week in a row, seemingly, the talk of Nebraska recruiting has something or other to do with a wideout.
The Huskers spread all over the country to work satellite camps and evaluate potential recruits. Here's a closer look at some of those recruits that landed NU offers after their performances at the satellite camps.
Nebraska offered a scholarship to a football prospect heading into his freshman year of high school. His name is Dacari Collins and he's from Atlanta, Georgia. He's 6-foot-3 heading into high school. It should surprise no one he also plays…
There weren’t any 2018 prospects of note at the Lindenwood University event, but Nebraska wouldn’t have minded if Cameron Brown made an appearance. In his absence, the three-star receiver did make an appearance, so to speak.
Tyjon Lindsey has never settled in. Not really.
Wide receiver Cameron Brown said Ohio State wasn't the reason he decommitted from Nebraska on Saturday, but the timing will leave Husker fans wondering.
Mike Riley is here in the region with a purpose — to continue building inroads for that handful of top players each year who come out of the St. Louis area.
Nebraska's football staff is near the end of its whirlwind week of satellite camps. At Lindenwood University — a pleasant, private Division II school west of downtown St. Louis — there were some good-looking athletes.
Lee and nine other position group leaders — established by team vote during winter conditioning — have enlisted Husker strength coaches to install an accountability program that Lee thinks will help Nebraska finish strong and compete for a Big Ten…