Game Day: Nebraska vs. Purdue

Turning the page

READ MORE »


2-Minute Drill by Sam McKewon

Nebraska rush offense vs. Purdue rush defense

The Huskers' improved commitment to the run game has paid off this season in the fourth quarters of games, as NU has closed out wins against Northwestern, Illinois and Indiana with a glut of runs from Terrell Newby. Purdue's run defense has been awful in Big Ten play, giving up 400 yards to Maryland, 315 to Illinois and 365 to Iowa. Aside from defensive tackle Jake Replogle — a nice player — the Boilermakers haven't shown much ability to compete. Last season's game against Nebraska is an exception, when the Huskers managed a measly 77 yards. Nebraska avoids a repeat of that mess.

Nebraska pass offense vs. Purdue pass defense

The Boilermakers will almost certainly load up the box to stop Nebraska's run game, forcing Husker quarterback Tommy Armstrong to throw the ball. Purdue defensive coordinator Ross Els — a Lincoln native and former Nebraska linebackers coach — must know that Armstrong struggles against stingy man-to-man defense. Els will likely roll the dice, play physical against Nebraska's wideouts and see what Armstrong can get done. A better screen game would be helpful.

Purdue rush offense vs. Nebraska rush defense

The Huskers played stingy run defense against Indiana, giving up a paltry 88 yards on the ground — 33 of which came on one play. Purdue's run game has been pretty average this season — Maryland held the Boilermakers' to 10 rush yards, while Iowa allowed just 46. The Boilermakers will happily abandon the run to throw, and that will likely happen Saturday.

Purdue pass offense vs. Nebraska pass defense

Purdue quarterback David Blough is the prototypical Texas high school gunslinger. He can run around and make big plays, he'll take big risks and he's tough to knock down or discourage. He riddled the Huskers last season for 273 passing yards and 82 rushing yards. His experienced set of receivers — led by DeAngelo Yancey — will give Nebraska some fits. The Husker secondary could give Blough some fits, though, with its tight coverage and playmaking ability. Chances are, they'll both take chunks out of each other.

Special teams

Nebraska's punt team is the nation's worst and Purdue will have to try to take advantage of it with either a return or a block attempt. The rest of Nebraska's special teams are decent enough, if not spectacular; it feels like De'Mornay Pierson-El is close to breaking a long punt return for a touchdown. Nebraska has the better kicker in Drew Brown, the better kick coverage unit and should squeak by Purdue in this category.

Intangibles

Purdue has the Big Ten's worst turnover margin (minus-7 for the season) but commits fewer penalties, for fewer yards, than the Huskers. The Boilermakers are awful in the red zone, converting just 14 of 22 trips into points, while Nebraska's defense is the most stingy. NU has to guard against looking past Purdue to big games against Wisconsin and Ohio State, but since Purdue beat NU last season, there's some decent motivation here.

Key matchup: Nebraska's offensive line against Purdue's front seven

If Nebraska runs the ball well, it's game over. The question is: Will the Huskers' beat-up offensive line be any better than the average players Purdue puts on the field? NU needs to stick with the run even when it doesn't appear to be working because the Huskers have proven it'll pay off in the fourth quarter. Improving Nebraska's first-down yards per carry would be good, too.

Our take

Has there been a recent game Nebraska more wanted to merely survive — without any more injuries or, of course, a loss — than Saturday's game against Purdue? The Boilermakers have an interim coach, Gerad Parker, after they fired Darrell Hazell. So the team has little to lose, and knows it'll have an entirely different coaching staff by next season. There's a freedom in that. They'll play for themselves. Nebraska, meanwhile, can put this game on ice quickly with a big first quarter, but it's not too likely. This game might just be a pain to watch. NU's defense should hold up OK, but the offense may struggle, and this game could be closer than expected. If it is, expect a week of hand-wringing from Husker fans.

Our prediction: Nebraska 34, Purdue 17

Live updates

Photos

World-Herald fan photos »

#Huskers on Instagram

Videos

Extras

Game notes

Check out a PDF of the game notes for the Nebraska-Purdue 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

Scott Frost wants Adrian Martinez to let it rip — and against Illinois, he should have that chance

Aggressive is how NU's head coach wants his start quarterback to stay going forward.

Husker notes: No injury updates on Brenden Jaimes, but Broc Bando 'was more than ready' in debut

No comment from Frost on the injury to left tackle Brenden Jaimes, who left the game in the fourth quarter. He said the depth chart indicated the next player up. That would be Broc Bando, who finished the fourth quarter.

It's Big Ten time: Huskers embrace the fresh start with beginning of conference schedule

For all that has happened to the Huskers in three weeks, everything resets for the upcoming nine-game Big Ten slate.

Video: Scott Frost's complete Husker football press conference, Sept. 16

Scott Frost is ready for the start of Big Ten play, and the Husker coach spent about 17 minutes Monday at his weekly press conference setting the stage for the week.

Huskers award scholarship to former walk-on, Creighton Prep grad Jeramiah Stovall

Coach Scott Frost announced Monday the 5-foot-11, 200-pound defensive back will lose his walk-on status thanks to steady, positive production on and off the field.

Husker press conference, Sept. 16: For Scott Frost and Nebraska, it's next man up after injuries

Nebraska had its best offensive game of the season with 526 yards in a 44-8 win over Northern Illinois. But coach Scott Frost, in his press conference Monday, said the team can still play a lot better on offense.

Nebraska-Ohio State game set for ABC's Saturday night spotlight

It'll be the third straight night game in a row for Nebraska and it'll be the third straight time OSU has played a night game at NU.

Blackshirts don't want to be a side dish to the Husker offense. Against NIU, they served notice

Nebraska’s defense held Northern Illinois' offense to six points Saturday. Though it was a MAC team at home under the lights, the Blackshirts want that goal-line stand to burn into your brains. To remind you they’re not here to mess…

McKewon: While the offense finds its footing, the Huskers' Big Ten hopes hinge on the Blackshirts

This year, the Husker D is the dutiful older brother — figuratively, literally — of the younger, more explosive, more inconsistent offense.

Huskers make walk-on offer to Reis Vernon, one of highest-ranked punters/kickers in 2020

Nebraska is in the market for a kicker in its 2020 class.

Sam McKewon's AP Top 25 poll, Sept. 15

Top 10 generally remains unchanged except for Utah taking the No. 9 spot away from Notre Dame who is now in tenth.

Full coverage of Huskers' win vs. Northern Illinois

Nebraska walked out of Memorial Stadium with a 44-8 victory against Northern Illinois on Saturday, and The World-Herald was there for all of it. Check out our complete coverage of the game.

Chatelain: The moments that proved Scott Frost, Adrian Martinez truly have no fear of failure

Frost endured a brutal week. His team blew a 17-point lead to an old rival. And for the first time since he returned to Lincoln on a white horse, Husker fans pointed the finger at him, not his players or…

Shatel: Huskers are still a work in progress, but we watched a winning formula take shape

There are still a lot of questions for Nebraska as we watch an identity take shape. What mattered on Saturday night was that the Huskers provided a resounding answer just when they needed it most.

Husker offense wanted to prove something — and it did with complete performance

The body language of offensive players leaving the field gave them away. Finally, they had played something close to a complete game.

Lesson learned: Huskers feeling good after starting fast, finishing strong against Northern Illinois

A line of men in red — a little fed up, a lot hungry, sensing a chance at blood — bolted toward one of the loneliest, most vulnerable positions on the football field. The punter.

Recruiting: Elkhorn South's Teddy Prochazka gets sold on Nebraska by two Husker commits

The junior from Elkhorn South was the center of attention on the sideline prior to kickoff between Nebraska and Northern Illinois.

Lane McCallum doesn't want to just be a kicker, but he'll do anything to help Huskers

The walk-on safety transfer from Air Force was minding his own business when his name was screamed by a coach on the sideline.

Husker notes: Injury watch for two players; ball hawks and more

Although Nebraska played one of the cleanest game of the Scott Frost era and beat Northern Illinois 44-8, two key Huskers may have sustained injuries that keep them out of future practice or play.

Video: Scott Frost's full press conference after Nebraska's win against Northern Illinois

Nebraska coach Scott Frost spoke for nearly nine minutes breaking down the Huskers' performance against Northern Illinois.

Martinez tracker: Stock up for Husker QB after turnover-free game

Each week, The World-Herald will track Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez's play game-to-game, including wow plays, turnovers, market indicator and more.

Nebraska-Northern Illinois: Breaking down the Huskers' performance on offense and defense

World-Herald staff writer Evan Bland takes a look at Nebraska's effort on both sides of the ball during the Huskers' victory against Northern Illinois.

Without running game, Northern Illinois coach Thomas Hammock says Huskies couldn’t find rhythm

It was easy for Northern Illinois coach Thomas Hammock to identify what kept the Huskies’ offense from scoring any touchdowns Saturday night against a suddenly stout Nebraska defense.

Winning numbers: The stats and figures that defined Nebraska's win against Northern Illinois

A closer look at the defining stats and figures from the Huskers' 44-8 win over Northern Illinois on Saturday.

Tom's Takes: Unlike some Big Ten peers, Huskers walk away with a really good win

World-Herald columnist Tom Shatel shares his immediate thoughts following the Huskers' 44-8 victory against Northern Illinois.

Nebraska-Northern Illinois: 3 things we learned, 3 things we still don't know

Three things we learned and three things we still don’t know about the Huskers coming out of Saturday's win over Northern Illinois.

Carriker Chronicles: Gut reaction to Nebraska's win over Northern Illinois

On Saturday's episode, Adam Carriker gives his quick take to Nebraska defeating Northern Illinois.

Huskers earn dominant victory against Northern Illinois as backups see action late

Nebraska led the game 30-5 at halftime and maintained its lead in the second half as backups got to play in the final minutes.

Husker left tackle Brenden Jaimes leaves NIU game with injury in fourth quarter

Nebraska's already-thin depth at tackle may get thinner after starting left tackle Brenden Jaimes was injured in the fourth quarter of the Huskers' game against Northern Illinois.

From the sidelines: More Northern Illinois fans make the trip; Celebrating Bill Straub

Northern Illinois had a solid contingent of fans in the stands Saturday, especially in the southern-most corner of West stadium.