Nebraska rush offense vs. Wisconsin rush defense
The Huskers had better pack a lunch. Wisconsin’s run defense gives up just 2.43 yards per carry and has allowed just two runs of 20 yards or longer. The Badgers aren’t fancy against the run, they’re just consistent — consistently tough — with defensive linemen Conor Sheehy and Alec James and undersized-but-rawhide-tough inside linebackers TJ Edwards and Chris Orr. Nebraska has to be diverse in its run game and give carries to Mikale Wilbon, Devine Ozigbo and Jaylin Bradley. Nebraska’s offensive line has been better the last two weeks in wins over Rutgers and Illinois, but Wisconsin is a different kind of nasty. If Nebraska gains 100 yards on the ground, call it good.
Nebraska pass offense vs. Wisconsin pass defense
Nebraska quarterback Tanner Lee wobbled badly through a three-game stretch in which he threw nine interceptions, but he righted the ship against Illinois’ secondary. That should help, as should a healthier trio of top wideouts in Stanley Morgan, De’Mornay Pierson-El and JD Spielman. NU’s receivers can make plays on Wisconsin’s secondary, which may be the best the Badgers have had in years but remains vulnerable because of the chances UW takes with its pass rush. The Huskers will have their hands full blocking Wisconsin’s front seven and its basket full of twists, stunts and blitzes. But if they can keep Lee protected, NU will have some downfield chances.
Wisconsin rush offense vs. Nebraska rush defense
The Badgers do what they do — they run the heck out of the ball with power plays and pulling offensive linemen and tough tight ends and fullbacks. In each of the last two games, Nebraska has actually held up against Wisconsin’s run game pretty well until the fourth quarter, when the Badgers got some chunk plays. NU defensive coordinator Bob Diaco’s preference for rotating players in his front seven should pay off coming into this game, but Nebraska’s linemen and linebackers haven’t faced a line that averages 322 pounds. UW running back Jonathan Taylor, though just a true freshman, is fast and big. Nebraska can’t let him find open space.
Wisconsin pass offense vs. Nebraska pass defense
Much depends on whether preseason All-America tight end Troy Fumagalli plays in the game. If he does recover enough from a leg injury to get in the game, Nebraska’s coverage assignment gets much harder, as Fumagalli is a giant, athletic target who can catch the ball over defenders. Wisconsin’s receivers — Jazz Peavy, Danny Davis, Quintez Cephus and AJ Taylor — are as good and perhaps a little better than Nebraska's receiving corps, and NU’s secondary isn’t as good as Wisconsin’s. That leaves the Huskers’ front to pressure Wisconsin quarterback Alex Hornibrook, the lefty with good touch but not much power.
Nebraska has the more explosive returners (Spielman on kickoffs, Pierson-El on punts) while Wisconsin punter Anthony Lotti has often been excellent this season for the Badgers. NU kicker Drew Brown gets a slight nod over good friend Rafael Gaglianone — who wears No. 27 in honor of former Husker punter Sam Foltz — and Brown is one of the best kickoff guys in college football. Nebraska needs to find a way to steal a touchdown or some key field position here.
NU is 46-5 in home night games, and even if this is one of NU’s toughest, the Huskers have big recent wins (2015 Michigan State, 2014 Miami, 2009 Oklahoma) at night. Nebraska will be honoring the 1997 national title team and wearing alternate uniforms; the Huskers are 2-2 since 2009 in alternates at home. Wisconsin has a psychological advantage over every team in the Big Ten West. Since the West formed in 2014, Wisconsin has lost just one divisional road game — at Northwestern in 2014.
Key matchup: Nebraska’s offensive line vs. Wisconsin’s pass rush
The Badgers’ offense might be slowed some, but Nebraska won’t shut them down entirely, so, somewhere in the course of four quarters, NU will have to score some points and complete some passes. And Lee will only be able to do that if he has the time to do it. Look for the Huskers to throw some on first down to keep Wisconsin off-balance, but Lee has to make plays on third down.
Here’s the big one. Until Nebraska beats Wisconsin, the Big Ten West bully will continue to punch the Huskers with a power running game and a stingy defense. This isn’t the best NU team that’s come down the pike since 2011, but it’s probably not the best Badger team, either. Nebraska will need a quick start — Wisconsin occasionally can be sluggish early — and withstand the inevitable fourth-quarter UW surge. On the night Nebraska welcomes the 1997 national title team back to Memorial Stadium, the Huskers are game. They have a puncher’s chance.
Our prediction: WISCONSIN 24, NEBRASKA 20
Big Red Today coverage
Moos says the selection committee has to better follow its protocol to measure playoff-worthy teams.
Moos knows there isn’t anything broken with the Memorial Stadium fan experience, but he wants to stay ahead of the curve.
The Davis twins have loved their time at Nebraska and laud NU’s willingness to let two 300-pounders find their way, throw some discus and sack some quarterbacks.
On Wednesday's episode, Adam Carriker talks to former Blackshirt Ralph Brown about how the Huskers can improve on defense, how the defensive secondary can get better in 2019, Lamar Jackson growing into a leader, Nebraska memories and much more.
Former Nebraska outside linebacker Breon Dixon will transfer to Iowa Western Community College, Reivers coach Scott Strohmeier confirmed Tuesday night.
Iowa Western Community College defensive tackle Perrion Winfrey has offers from several of college football's giants — including Nebraska.
Once one of the highest paid players in the league, Suh went more than two months as a free agent before finding a new team.
Mills is now admitted to the school. He'll arrive Wednesday and immediately get to work.
On Monday's episode, Adam Carriker breaks down the race for the College Football Playoff following spring practices and give his four-team prediction for 2019.
Lovie Smith and quarterbacks? They don’t go well together.
The final standings are in and roughly half of Nebraska’s teams met Moos’ base standard of finishing in the top half of the Big Ten this season.
Demariyon Houston, out of Oklahoma City's Millwood High, is a 100- and 200-meter champ. He also has great hands, maybe his biggest asset in college. Not to mention he was class president. He will be the first in his immediate…
Nebraska running back signee Dedrick Mills said on Saturday that his grades from Garden City (Kansas) Community College are in, NU is reviewing his transcript and he believes he will be in Lincoln this week — perhaps by Tuesday.
In less than a year, the NCAA’s transfer portal is already beginning to turn against the student-athletes it was supposed to help.
According to a Wednesday report from USA Today, the league had nearly $759 million in revenue for the 2018 fiscal year.
On Friday's episode, Adam Carriker gives his way-too-early, just-for-fun preview of September's Nebraska-Colorado game.
Bill Moos wants to improve Memorial Stadium. But he won't expand it. The athletic director spoke for the final time of the 2018-2019 school year on Wednesday night. Moos said there is currently a proposal out there to put in…
Former Husker safety Cam'ron Jones, who announced last month he's leaving Nebraska, is headed back to Texas.
Fox announced this week it would place the best game from its weekly college football menu in the 11 a.m. CT slot.
On Wednesday's episode, Adam Carriker shares his thoughts on kids playing tackle football, what age range they should start playing, flag football and more.
World-Herald staff writers Sam McKewon, Chris Heady and Evan Bland tackle the hottest Husker headlines in the latest episode of the Pick Six Podcast.
When Noa Pola-Gates arrives in late May, it’s possible he could get trained at every position — defensive backs coach Travis Fisher has indicated that each of NU’s incoming defensive backs is versatile enough to do so — but he…
Offensive lineman Jerald Foster signed a deal Sunday with the Washington Redskins, and defensive lineman Freedom Akinmoladun inked with the New York Giants on Monday.
Despite earlier reports that Washington entered not guilty pleas when he waived formal arraignment during an April hearing, there have not been any pleas entered in the case, said a Santa Clara County Superior Court spokesperson.
This timeline of events in the Maurice Washington investigation is based on allegations outlined in court documents, investigator reports and officials' statements.
Football coaches like to talk about culture, so much that it becomes a cliche. But it's still true that culture matters, and it's important to Scott Frost.
On Monday's episode, Adam Carriker talks about the youth on the Husker defense, their off-season additions and what realistic expectations are for the Blackshirts in 2019.
The 6-foot, 185-pounder had 96 career catches for 1,237 yards and six touchdowns over three-plus seasons at Cal.
Nebraska received a graduate transfer commit Sunday from California’s Kanawai Noa.Three takes on the decision of the 6-foot, 185-pounder.
Nebraska running back Maurice Washington is set for his second appearance in a California court for charges filed against him in February.