Game Day: Nebraska vs. Wisconsin

Walking dread

No. 7 Nebraska has new coaches, new schemes and a new vibe — the first 7-0 start in 15 years. Now it’s time to address an old pain, to right several wrongs that cut so deeply that NU can’t forge a full-bodied Big Ten identity without addressing these ghosts of Camp Randall Stadium.

READ MORE »

2-Minute Drill by Rich Kaipust

Nebraska rush offense vs. Wisconsin rush defense

If Nebraska isn’t fully healthy up front, this is the game where that definitely could get exposed. And this is a defense that the Huskers would have a harder time wearing down, something they have done successfully the last few weeks. Nebraska might have to get creative, and I-back Terrell Newby will have to be at his best. Wisconsin is only allowing 102.9 yards a game and 3.3 a carry.

Nebraska pass offense vs. Wisconsin pass defense

Tommy Armstrong gets back Jordan Westerkamp but still is without Cethan Carter. Protecting the senior will be a must for NU, considering the Badgers’ propensity for getting to the quarterback. If Armstrong can get in a rhythm and make some big throws, that might help the run game. In two starts against the Badgers, however, he is a combined 17 of 46 for just 191 yards.

Wisconsin rush offense vs. Nebraska rush defense

Different time and different team, but Nebraska has rarely been gashed worse than when the Badgers ran for 581 yards in their 2014 meeting and 539 in the 2012 Big Ten championship game. Wisconsin is starting to get Corey Clement going — with 298 yards on 60 carries in the Ohio State and Wisconsin games — but continues to try to get some things settled on its offensive line. Nebraska has been fairly solid against the run, save for the Oregon game.

Wisconsin pass offense vs. Nebraska pass defense

The Badgers are the only team in the Big Ten with as many interceptions (eight) as touchdown passes (eight). They are expected to play both freshman Alex Hornibrook and senior Bart Houston, but neither has showed any knack for consistently picking apart a defense. Nebraska has allowed some plays the last two weeks that it would like back, but leads the Big Ten with 13 interceptions and continues to be a vastly improved unit.

Special teams

Neither has been particularly good with their punt units, but Wisconsin leads the Big Ten in kickoff coverage. Give Nebraska an edge with both of its return units and the better chance of breaking something there. NU also has the more reliable kicker with Drew Brown. Badgers kicker Rafael Gaglianone, who made the game-winner last year in Lincoln, is out for the remainder of the season with a back injury.

Intangibles

Camp Randall Stadium has not been kind to the Huskers, and Wisconsin in general has dominated the series since Nebraska came to the Big Ten (4-1). The Badgers right now are the more battle tested team — with games against LSU, Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State and Iowa — and the night home atmosphere will be intense. The head coaches know each other well, but Mike Riley has some years on Paul Chryst. Injuries have bitten both teams, but Nebraska is hurting on offense at a bad time against the Wisconsin defense.

Key matchup: Third down vs. Nebraska

The best showdown Saturday might be all about third down when Nebraska has the football. The Huskers are converting 49.0 percent of the time, which ranks No. 12 nationally. Wisconsin is allowing opposing offenses to be successful at just a 24.7 percent clip, which ranks No. 4. The Huskers will need more of third-and-short and less of third-and-long to have a chance.

Our take

This becomes the toughest test to date for Nebraska, and you can bet its Top 10 rating and Big Ten West lead are motivation for the Badgers after their near misses against Michigan and Ohio State. The Huskers certainly are feeling confident and finding ways to win, but if Wisconsin can take care of the football and let its defense do the heavy lifting then the Badgers are going to be tough to beat on their home turf.

Our prediction: Wisconsin 24, Nebraska 20

Live updates

Videos

Extras

Game notes

Check out a PDF of the game notes for the Nebraska-Wisconsin matchup provided by the Husker Athletic Department. Click here »

Husker History

Find information on every win, loss and tie in Husker history. With historical World-Herald front pages, photos, stories, key stats and more, our ever-growing Husker History Database is your new home for archiving one of the nation's most tradition-rich programs. Click here »

On social media

Check out the Big Red Today page on Facebook to discuss the latest news with the top Husker fans, and follow us on Twitter to get instant updates and analysis whenever news breaks. Plus, look back at historical moments in Nebraska football by following @HuskerHistory on Twitter.

BRT app

IPhone and Android users, get your Husker updates on the go by downloading our free Big Red Today app from the App Store and the Google Play store. Omaha.com/BRTapp and Omaha.com/android

Recruiting updates

Visit the Big Red Today recruiting page to find the latest updates on potential future Huskers, including player cards for those athletes already committed. Click here »

Email alerts

Sign up for the Big Red Today email newsletter to get the Husker news, analysis, daily headlines and more delivered to your inbox. Click here »

Big Red Today coverage

Recruiting: Tyjon Lindsey leads all Husker commits in final rankings, but highly-rated targets remain available

247Sports, Rivals and Scout have all released their final batch of rankings of the nation’s top college football prospects, and Tyjon Lindsey leads the way among Husker commits according to all four services.

McKewon: Billy Devaney's recruiting role grew with Huskers after key staff departure

As Nebraska football finishes its 2017 recruiting class and gears up to start the 2018 cycle, Ryan Gunderson’s departure from the player personnel department should not go unnoticed.

Nebraska set for battle with Iowa, LSU over tight end recruit Kurt Rafdal

Nebraska and Iowa — and possibly a SEC school — will square off for a tall, sure-handed tight end in the final weeks before signing day.

Bryan Reimers among six Husker walk-ons hauling in scholarships for spring semester

Nebraska gave scholarships to at least three Husker in-state walk-ons Wednesday: Fullback Luke McNitt, I-back Austin Rose and wideout Bryan Reimers.

Nebraska lands coveted 2018 athlete Eric Fuller, sets sights on teammates Joseph Lewis, Greg Johnson

Nebraska received on Wednesday a coveted commit from one of Los Angeles’ top talent hubs – for next year’s recruiting class. NU wouldn’t mind getting a few commits for the 2017 recruiting cycle from Los Angeles Hawkins High School. For…

New defensive coordinator Bob Diaco on why he chose Nebraska: 'Blackshirt defense, man, and Coach Riley'

Bob Diaco's first public comments as Nebraska's defensive coordinator underlined his passion for the new job, his new boss and returning to the Big Ten.

Recruiting: After Tyjon Lindsey's commitment to Nebraska, options abound at wide receiver

Nebraska got the biggest commit of the 2017 recruiting cycle on Saturday, when top 100 prospect Tyjon Lindsey flipped from Ohio State to the Huskers. But NU wideouts coach Keith Williams isn't done on the trail.

Recruiting: With one DB target announcing Thursday, Huskers set to host two others this weekend

Nebraska doesn’t have a defensive back committed to its 2017 recruiting class with two weeks left until national signing day, but the Huskers are about to host two of their top targets, and another is set to announce his commitment…

Shatel: Huskers are embracing change with Bob Diaco hire

Take a closer look at the game and you see that staff turnover is commonplace in big-time college football. Some head coaches replace an assistant every season. That wasn’t the Nebraska way, not the old Nebraska way. But then, that…

Lincoln East OL Chris Walker commits to Nebraska, flipping from Wyoming

For a second straight recruiting cycle, Nebraska snagged an in-state commitment just before signing day — flipping a prospect from Wyoming.

Coach who worked with Bob Diaco gives him high marks

Nebraska has been trying to get back to the Big Ten championship game since 2012. Bob Elliott thinks Bob Diaco can help it get there as the new defensive coordinator.

A ‘different breed’ comes to Lincoln: Bob Diaco brings 3-4 scheme, top-level experience to NU’s coordinator post

As he built one of the best defenses in the nation, Bob Diaco would arrive before dawn at Notre Dame’s football offices and usually be one of the last to leave. He loved the film room, and wanted his players…

McKewon: Two key Husker pieces add up to one big week for Mike Riley

Should the Mike Riley era at Nebraska turn out to be a big winner, the last seven days might be remembered as the Riley Rally.

Recruiting: Tyjon Lindsey picks the Huskers days after decommitting from Ohio State, becomes NU’s highest-rated commit

Saturday was a big day for Nebraska football with the Huskers landing a commitment from four-star wide receiver Tyjon Lindsey.

McKewon: Five quick takes on Tyjon Lindsey's commitment to Nebraska

Four-star wide receiver Tyjon Lindsey announced on Saturday that he was committing to Nebraska, days after he dropped his commitment to Ohio State. World-Herald staff writer Sam McKewon has five quick thoughts on what landing Lindsey means for the Huskers.

It's official: Nebraska names Bob Diaco its new defensive coordinator

Nebraska officially announced Bob Diaco as its defensive coordinator Saturday, three days after coach Mike Riley dismissed his longtime coordinator, Mark Banker. The World-Herald had reported the expected move on Friday night.

Coaching with energy: Mentors, former teammates say Bob Diaco has the same personality on sideline that he had on field

Bob Diaco went from pads on his shoulders to whistle around his neck, and somehow made the transition in the Iowa football program without changing himself.

Shatel: With the NFL's Chargers bolting San Diego, some of one’s youth is taken away

You always remember your first time. Mine was on Oct. 2, 1966. My father and I drove down from Escondido, California, about 30 miles to Balboa Stadium, in the middle of gorgeous Balboa Park near downtown San Diego.

Former Nebraska defensive coordinator Mark Banker talks about departure, being fired over the phone

Former Nebraska defensive coordinator Mark Banker — a longtime friend, confidant and assistant to coach Mike Riley — learned over the phone he wouldn't be returning as a Husker coach.

Recruiting: Top Nebraska DT target Damion Daniels down to three, set for signing day announcement

Dallas Bishop Dunne defensive tackle Damion Daniels will announce his college choice on Feb. 1 — national signing day — his father, Tony Daniels, told The World-Herald Friday.

Recruiting: Huskers open contact period visiting with top targets, longtime commits

Not only did the Huskers visit with some of their top targets — players they want to add before national signing day — but they also checked on recruits they’ve had committed for months.

Huskers to name ex-Irish aide Bob Diaco as defensive coordinator, replacing Mark Banker

Nebraska football will name former Notre Dame defensive coordinator and former Connecticut coach Bob Diaco as its new defensive coordinator, multiple sources confirmed to The World-Herald Friday.

Nebraska targeting defensive coordinator with experience in 3-4 scheme; Bob Diaco a candidate

The World-Herald confirmed through several sources Thursday that coach Mike Riley may be leaning toward a coach with experience with the 3-4.

McKewon: John Parrella’s words important to Husker recruit in time of change

When news broke Wednesday night about Nebraska defensive coordinator Mark Banker not getting his contract renewed, Guy Thomas said he quickly received a call from defensive line coach John Parrella to explain the situation.

NU recruit Jamire Calvin not done with Huskers despite Army Bowl surprise

Top receiving target Jamire Calvin shocked Husker fans and coaches Saturday when he picked Oregon State over NU at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, but Nebraska isn't out of the running for the 2017 prospect yet.

College football coaches favor adding second signing day in December

Coaches unanimously support creating an early signing period for college football in December, but the executive director of the American Football Coaches Association says none of them want a third signing day in June.

Recruiting: Huskers moving forward with other WR targets; Quick look at upcoming visitors

The Nebraska coaches didn’t sit on their hands after missing on Jamire Calvin during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. So even though the longtime Nebraska lean picked Oregon State, the Huskers had contingency plans in place and have moved forward…

Outland trophy notes: Robinson didn’t feel pressure at Alabama; Lott eyed playoff long ago and more

Alabama offensive tackle Cam Robinson was a five-star recruit coming out of Monroe, Louisiana, and ranked as the No. 3 prospect nationally by 247Sports. But Robinson said he didn’t necessarily feel any pressure following him to Tuscaloosa.

Recruiting: Top Nebraska target Tyjon Lindsey decommits from Ohio State

Tyjon Lindsey, a top 100 prospect at wide receiver from Las Vegas Bishop Gorman High School, announced on Twitter early Wednesday morning that he was reopening his recruiting process just weeks before Signing Day.

After Mark Banker's 'surprise' departure, Mike Riley will have a new defensive coordinator for the first time in nearly two decades

Defensive coordinator Mark Banker will not have his contract renewed, Husker coach Mike Riley announced Wednesday, while defensive backs coach Brian Stewart has decided to pursue opportunities elsewhere.