Northwestern-Nebraska Preview Capsule

Posted 9 months ago

By Robert Lovell

nebraska_helmetNorthwestern (4-4, 0-4) at Nebraska (5-2, 2-1), 2:30 p.m. CT (Big Ten Network)

Line: Nebraska by 7.

Series Record: Nebraska leads 4-2.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

Four straight losses have turned a promising season for Northwestern into one in which bowl eligibility is in doubt for the Wildcats. Nebraska will continue to control its destiny in the Legends Division if it can protect its home field.

KEY MATCHUP

Northwestern RB Stephen Buckley vs. Nebraska defense: The sophomore is listed third on the Wildcats’ depth chart, but that means nothing. He’s emerged as the best running back in Venric Mark’s absence. Buckley had a career-high 99 yards against Iowa last week, and he’ll be the go-to guy as the Wildcats attack Nebraska’sstruggling run defense.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Northwestern: QB Kain Colter, who missed the Minnesota game two weeks ago because of an ankle problem, was sharp in his return against Iowa and will need to be again. The mobile Colter gives the Wildcats their best chance to win.

Nebraska: LB Michael Rose, who has bumped David Santos out of the middle linebacker’s spot. The 5-foot-11, 230-pound Rose’s strength is supposed to be his run-stopping ability. We’ll find out.

FACTS & FIGURES:

Northwestern and Nebraska split meetings in 2011 and 2012, with the games decided by a combined four points … The Wildcats are 12-6 in November since 2008, with five victories over top-20 opponents … Northwestern leads the Big Ten in red-zone efficiency, coming away with points on 30 of 31 trips inside the 20 … Nebraska hasn’t entered a November out of the Top 25 since 2009 … QB Tommy Armstrong Jr. will make his fourth start of the season in place of the injured Taylor Martinez … Nebraska RB Ameer Abdullah needs 19 yards for his second straight 1,000-yard season.