Nebraska football vs Northwestern: 3 keys to victory for the Huskers

LINCOLN, NE - OCTOBER 24: Running back Solomon Vault
LINCOLN, NE - OCTOBER 24: Running back Solomon Vault /
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Put pressure on Thorson on every snap

Obviously, this is a key you could point to in most games, but considering that the Nebraska football defense is so much better when they are getting pressure on the quarterback, this is especially true when talking about Clayton Thorson.

Thorson has been plenty good against the Cornhuskers over the course of his career. This year, Thorson is just behind Tanner Lee in the Big Ten in total yards. That means he’s fifth among quarterbacks in the conference.

The Husker secondary has been much maligned this season. When they have been solid against the pass, it’s when the front seven hasn’t given the opposing quarterback all the time in the world in the pocket. If they can do that against Northwestern, Thorson has been shown to be someone who will make mistakes.

While the Wildcats have been playing better, Thorson isn’t an all-conference type quarterback. He can be harassed. He can be hurried and he can be forced to make bad throws. The usual rush three and drop seven isn’t going to work anyway, because he’s too mobile to have so many defenders running with their back to the line. Blitzes should be the name of the game for the Nebraska football team against Northwestern. If they do that, they might be able to make Thorson uneasy in the pocket.

While the Nebraska football team managed to pull out the win against the Purdue Boilermakers, there were some disappointing performances all over the field. On defense there were no more frustrating performances than that of Chris Jones.

Jones came into the pre-season looking like he might be one of the defensive backs in the Big Ten. Then he got hurt before the season even got started. Coming back sooner than any Cornhusker fan could have hoped, he’s looked like someone who has been off the football field for several weeks.

Jones even said he didn’t perform up to his standard. In reality, he didn’t look much better than the rest of a defensive backfield that has been much maligned. If the Cornhuskers want to have a chance to stop Clayton Thorson, they’re going to need a top of the line performance from Jones.

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There was a time when he had the talent to basically shut down an entire side of the field. If he could pull that off tomorrow, it would be a huge boon to Bob Diaco’s defense. It’s a safe bet that kind of performance would also allow the defensive coordinator to call more blitzes. That goes back to our other key. If the Nebraska football team hits all three of these keys, it will beat Northwestern and be just one win away from bowl eligibility.