Nebraska vs Northwestern Five Things to Watch For


Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

1.     Can Nebraska’s defense find a way to contain Wildcat QB Kain Colter?  Colter’s ability to allude tacklers has enabled him to rush for 323 yards and score four TD’s so far this season.  Even though he splits time with Trevor Siemian, Colter has also passed for 500 yards and four TD’s.  Nebraska’s defense hasn’t been able to stop the run all year.  Expect Northwestern to spotlight Kain Colter and run the ball right at the Huskers the entire game.

2.     Northwestern Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald found a way to beat the Huskers in Lincoln on their first conference visit in 2011.  Fitzgerald’s Wildcats bring a 4-4 overall, 0-4 conference record into the game, having lost the last four games by a combined score of 112-63.  Last week’s 17-20 loss in OT to Iowa is still stinging.  Can Northwestern put it together on the road and turn their season around with a big win in Lincoln?

3.     Will Offensive Coordinator Tim Beck find away to get NU receivers to catch the ball and be more involved in the game?  Huskers receivers were subjected to much finger pointing this week after dropping passing, and running poor routes, accumulating only 139 yards against the Gophers.  Northwestern will surely lineup similar to Minnesota and put eight and nine guys in the box, forcing NU to pass.  Quincy Enunwa and Kenny Bell must step it up and make some plays down field if the offense hopes to score some points.

4.    Ameer Abdullah’s ability to stay on his feet after first contact will be critical for the Huskers on offense Saturday.  Last week against a box full of Gophers, Abduallah rushed for 165 yards.  He’ll need to have a similar performance Saturday to take some of the pressure off freshman quarterback Tommy Armstrong.  Aduallah is 19 yards shy of 1,000 rushing yards for the season.  Watch to see what impact Abduallah’s leadership will have on the game, without senior Taylor Martinez at quarterback, will Abduallah be the one to take the reins of the Husker offense?

5.     Bo Pelini might be on the hot seat after Nebraska dropped it’s second game of the season, but his brother Carl Pelini is in hot water.  Carl Pelini resigned from his position as head coach of Florida Atlantic on Wednesday for “exercising poor judgment” and allegedly smoking pot at a party.  The bigger question on every Nebraska fans mind is whether or not we’ll see Pelini back in Lincoln next year in one position or another?  Doubtful this would happen, but not improbable.  Carl played a huge role in turning the Blackshirt defense around when Bo took over as head coach.  A defense that hasn’t quite been the same since Carl left.