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.
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.
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.
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
Big Red Today coverage
Nebraska’s season can be summed in the second quarter Saturday.
World-Herald staff writer Lee Barfknecht ranks the Big Ten football teams, as published in The World-Herald on Nov. 20.
If Joe Ganz deserved credit for making the very end of the Bill Callahan era mildly enjoyable, so does Tanner Lee, especially one week after a concussion.
All year round, Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In Sunday's episode, Carriker evaluates who else could be on Nebraska's radar if Scott Frost goes a different route.
Interest might be higher in seeing how many fans show up — and what the red and white vs. black and gold mix is — than the outcome of Iowa and Nebraska's game on Black Friday.
On Saturday, longtime Husker fans were picking up groceries at Walmart or Christmas shopping at Westroads Mall instead of settling into the couch in front their flat screen TVs.
If and when Riley is replaced, UNL will be paying three current and former football coaches and two athletic directors, all at once.
The Blackshirts gave up more than 50 points in a game for the third time this season as Nebraska suffered its seventh loss of the year in a 56-44 defeat Saturday at Penn State.
There’s one more game left to play this season, maybe one more game left in Tanner Lee’s limited Nebraska career. But it’s hard to imagine this not being a snapshot we keep of Lee and store wherever it is we’ll…
In a way, it’s lucky. Because at this point in the season, the quarterbacks don’t throw much during practice.
Penn State coach James Franklin didn't fret about letting Nebraska score 34 second-half points in PSU's 56-44 victory over the Huskers. Too many things went right.
Three quick takes by World-Herald columnist Tom Shatel following Nebraska's 56-44 loss to Penn State on Saturday.
Nebraska's hopes didn't end the first time Saquon Barkley sped through defenders Saturday afternoon. But it surely was a sign that the Heisman Trophy campaign for the Penn State running back was about to be in full revival.
Stanley Morgan not only pushed his season total above 900 yards, but he also now sits 30 yards behind Johnny Rodgers’ 1972 school record for receiving yards in a season.
Four keys from Nebraska's 56-44 loss to Penn State on Saturday, including a peculiar play, a questionable call and more.
World-Herald staff writer Evan Bland takes a look at Nebraska's effort on both sides of the ball during the Huskers' 56-44 loss to Penn State.
Rain played havoc with everything but the game itself as Penn State dismantled Nebraska Saturday on a soggy Beaver Stadium field.
Five things we learned and five things we still don’t know about the Huskers coming out of Saturday's loss to Penn State.
All year round, Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In Saturday's episode, Carriker gives his gut reaction to the Huskers' loss against the Nittany Lions.
Watch video highlights from Nebraska's postgame press conference following the loss to Penn State.
It will be a Penn State party, a celebration of a revival, of perseverance. A hapless Nebraska bunch is being served as the main course. But if NU Athletic Director Bill Moos, the coaches, players and fans look around to…
The programs, similar in their insularity and love of tradition, couldn’t be further apart at this moment. Nebraska has won all three Big Ten games against the Nittany Lions, including two in Happy Valley; that’s almost certain to change starting…
Wisconsin is the darling of college football’s “defense wins championships” crowd. Under first-year coordinator Jim Leonhard, the Badgers are No. 1 nationally in total defense (247.6 yards), No. 1 in rushing defense (81.5 yards), No. 1 in pass efficiency defense…
All year round, Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In Friday's episode, Carriker discusses what is irking him the most beyond the losses — NU's lack of passion.
Coach Mike Riley calls it a formula: The pace at which an offense plays and how that relates to the defense, and in turn, how the defense relates to the offense by getting stops and turnovers.
As Scott Frost walked into the interview in 2015, the men before him knew his credentials. But several candidates for the Central Florida job had been head coaches. Frost had not. His interview was critical.
All year round, Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In Thursday's episode, Carriker talks to NU freshman JD Spielman about his record-breaking season, moving up the depth chart, finding out that he was adopted and more.
Mick Stoltenberg's deep voice booms like a megaphone through walls inside Memorial Stadium
Scott Frost’s choice is more complicated than salaries or trophies or conference affiliation. It really boils down to this: Does he covet tradition or imagination? Does the new dad want to save something old or build something new?
All year round, Adam Carriker is taking the pulse of Husker Nation. In Wednesday's episode, Carriker talks about former Husker and UCF coach Scott Frost and if he would be the best candidate for any potential job openings at Nebraska.