Nebraska football vs. Northwestern Wildcats – preview

(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Nebraska football enters mid-October still looking for their first win as they take on Northwestern Saturday in Evanston.

You could say everything went better than expected for Nebraska football last Saturday night in Madison. The Huskers went into Camp Randall Stadium and covered the spread. Even if you’re not a gambling person, that’s significant. It hadn’t happened all season, so Big Ten West favorite Wisconsin marked the first time they lost by less than they were predicted to. That’s the main takeaway that’s got me hopeful for this Saturday against Northwestern.

The visit to the Wildcats marks the third of the five road games that make Nebraska’s schedule one of the toughest in the country. But the Huskers, three-point underdogs, showed some life last week that inspires hope.

Adrian Martinez went into Madison and threw for 382 yards and two touchdowns, completing 24/42 attempts. Jack Stoll and JD Spielman made two nice grabs for the TDs, with Spielman picking up 209 yards in the air. The offense hummed at times in Madison, why they can’t do it twice in a row in Evanston? Who’s to say a team that may have finally found its rhythm can’t get it going again against a team whose marquee win is Michigan State?

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The Wildcats are 73rd in total defense, giving up an average of 5.71 yards per play. They’ve given up 15 touchdowns on the year compared to scoring 12 on offense. Offensively, they are 94th, gaining 4.75 yards per play.

In last week’s win over Michigan State, quarterback Clayton Thorson threw for 373 yards and three touchdowns but was brought back down to earth by two interceptions. His touchdown-to-interception ratio on the year is 6:5, and he has completed 62% of his passes. He’s a good quarterback, but he’s not Superman, and he can be taken down.

You may call recency bias, but this is a situation where recency is no bias, as the team went out and fought barely a week ago in a game nobody gave them a chance to win. I wouldn’t be surprised if the team brought that momentum with them to practice all week and are ready to keep it going in another game situation.

From Omaha Sports Insider:

"“There’s no question we got better this week,” Frost said. “I think the attitude got better, the practice got better, the performance was better. I was thrilled that we didn’t have any of those dumb things, dumb penalties, selfish plays that contributed to it.”"

One final thing: double-digit penalties (ten for 100 yards in the Wisconsin game, they have at least ten in every game this season) isn’t going to cut it, especially in a game that has a chance to be as close as this one.

Next. Huskers Tailgating: Wildcat meat and wine. dark

Here’s hoping Nebraska football tampers with peoples’ perceptions of them and get their first win.