WNUR’s Predictions of Northwestern vs. Nebraska
The WNUR Sports staff offers their predictions for Saturday’s football game between the Northwestern University Wildcats and the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers as they pick the victor, final score, and a player to watch.As we head into Week 8 of the NCAA football season, we also head into Week 8 of these predictions. We have seen the good (Sam Block correctly predicting the 38-7 victory for the ‘Cats over South Dakota), the bad (almost every pick made for the Penn State game), and the ugly (we’re all on the radio for the reason). However, now is when the true test starts; Northwestern will play host to Nebraska this weekend, a rematch of last season’s 28-25 upset victory for the ‘Cats in Lincoln. After our staff, we have tweets sent in to @WNURSports predicting this week’s action. Be sure to leave your prediction in our comments section, or your genius may never be fully realized. Pity.
Zach Kisfalusi (@zKisfalusi): Northwestern 38- Nebraska 37. Player to Watch: Jeff Budzien. He’ll have a clutch kick to win it for Northwestern.
Jim Sannes (@JimSannes): Nebraska 27, Northwestern 24. Believe me, this is a good omen for the ‘Cats. I picked the Jets to go to the Super Bowl last year, so my intelligence rivals that of a third grader. Northwestern has had a lot of trouble stopping duel threat quarterbacks this year (i.e. MarQueis Gray), so Taylor Martinez should thrive on Saturday. Venric Mark and Kain Colter will both have big days on the ground, but it won’t be enough to overcome the three-headed monster of Martinez, Rex Burkhead and Ameer Abdullah. Player to Watch: Patrick Ward.
Seth Bernstein (@SethBernstein67): Northwestern 41, Nebraska 38. Going to be a slugfest with two high-powered offenses here. But Nebraska has really struggled on the road this year, and they’ve been terrible defending the run – Northwestern’s strength offensively. The Wildcats need this game to finally climb into the upper echelon of the Big Ten and they’ll be really, really, hungry. Advantage, Northwestern. Player to Watch: Kain Colter.
Michael Anders (@MikeAnders819): I will be broadcasting this game so I won’t predict a winner but I do think the game will be very close and will come down to a field goal at the end. Player to Watch: Jeff Budzien.
Danny Moran (@DannyJMoran): Northwestern 45, Nebraska 44. The backfield trio of Taylor Martinez, Rex Burkhead and Ameer Abdullah will cause trouble for the Wildcat front seven, who were torn up by MarQueis Gray and the Minnesota running backs last week. But the Cornhusker run defense has been flimsy (and that’s being generous) the whole year. With such explosive offensive weapons on both sides, this is setting up to be one of the most exciting games of the season. Player to Watch: Kain Colter.
John Castellanos (@JJCast15): Northwestern 42, Nebraska 41. It’s going to be a shootout from the start. Both teams love to run the ball and Saturday will be no different, but a late turnover will be the downfall for the Cornhuskers. Players to watch: Offense: Kain Colter, Defense: Damien Proby.
Greg Mroz (@TheeMrClean): Nebraska 41-38. These are two really good offenses who will score a lot. Whoever scores last is going to win this ballgame, and it is going to be the team with the most diversified offense, which I believe is Nebraska. The Cornhuskers defense will not be good, but it will be good enough to hold off a final effort Northwestern Drive. Player to Watch: Taylor Martinez.
Cameron Songer (@CameronSonger): Nebraska 24, Northwestern 17. Northwestern hasn’t played a great all-around game in over a month, and I don’t see it turning around against an angry Nebraska team playing in front of a crowd that may be more red than purple. I don’t think either team will break many big plays, so my key player is Nebraska kicker/punter Brett Maher. He won both kicker and punter of the year in the Big Ten last year, but his numbers are down this year. If he hits some long punts and can hit 30-50 yard field goals like he did last year (5-8 this year after 9-10 from that range last year), Nebraska will win.
Nick Petro (@NickPetro15): Northwestern Wildcats 38, Nebraska Cornhuskers 34. Although Nebraska will have two weeks to prepare their defense after a 63-38 beat down at Ohio State, their two losses this season have been a result of spread offenses on the road – similar to the test they will face on Saturday in Evanston. Last season, the Wildcats upset the #10 Cornhuskers under the direction of Kain Colter with Dan Persa sidelined with an injury. Watch out for Nebraska’s rushing attack, ranked fifth-best in the country while running for 292 yards-per-game. Player To Watch – Jeff Budzien (could very well be the difference maker this weekend).
Jeffrey Eisenband (@JeffEisenband): 31-27, Northwestern. Both teams can score and both teams play average defense. The job of the winning defense will not be to stop the opposition, but rather to contain them. The ‘Cats have been the more consistent defensive team, and if they can hold the ‘Huskers under 30, they will be back in the top 25. Player to Watch: Damien Proby.
Cameron Albert-Deitch (@c_albertdeitch): Nebraska, 38-35. You can be sure that the Cornhuskers have their upset loss to Northwestern last year in the back of their minds – and they won’t let it happen again. The Wildcats defense didn’t look good when Minnesota’s dual-threat signal caller MarQueis Gray was on the field last week, and Nebraska’s Taylor Martinez is one of the better running QBs in college football (funky throwing motion and all). Nebraska gets the edge in this high scoring affair. Player to Watch: Taylor Martinez.
Ben Goren: Nebraska 38 Northwestern 34. Northwestern hasn’t played a team with this much firepower offensively. This will be a true test of Northwestern’s improved run defense. I can’t look past Nebraska in this game. Expect Taylor Martinez to bounce back from a pretty poor showing two weeks ago and make an impact on the ground and through the air. Player to Watch: Taylor Martinez.
Nick Scoliard: Nebraska 35-21 I don’t think that Northwestern can stop Nebraksa. I think it’s going to be somewhat close until the fourth quarter, and then the Cardiac ‘Cats let their fourth quarter antics get to them. Northwestern can only win if they get a perfect day from their defense, especially from the linebacker corps who need to stop Abdullah and Burkhead. If the defense can play perfectly, the offense starts firing, and Northwestern gets some lucky turnovers, then the ‘Cats could squeeze it out. But I think that it will be too much for them to handle. Players to Watch: Linebacker Corps.
Kevin Harris (@kevharris711): 38-27 Nebraska. This is arguably Fitz’s biggest regular season game of his coaching career as the Cats have a chance to vault back into the BCS rankings if they can pull out a win against a tough Nebraska team in front of a sold out Ryan Field. Although the Huskers have shown signs of weakness this year (giving up 63 points to Ohio St. and losing to UCLA), I believe NU will struggle to move the ball through the air for a third consecutive week despite adding morning naptime to their pregame team routine. Venric Mark won’t match last week’s performance, the Wildcats will fail to win the turnover battle, and Nebraska will lead the entire game, putting Northwestern out of Big Ten Championship contention. Player to Watch: Nick VanHoose (who was Big Ten Freshman of the Week after his performance at Minnesota).
Brandon Wilson (@bwilmedill): Northwestern, 38-35. The defenses will try early and fail often. Expect a ton of tosses on both sides, as what this Big Ten showdown should boil down to is which defense will stop which offense. Northwestern’s 12th man makes the difference this year in Evanston; ‘Cats take this contest two years running. Player to Watch: Kain Colter.
Tweets from those much smarter than us
Chad (@RevDJEsq): First game I’ve been negative on this season. I think Nebraska wins 31-27, just because we always manage to keep it close.
Alex Wilcox (@AlexWilcox10): Northwestern 36 Nebraska 18. ‘Cats get down 14-0 early, but end the game on 36-4 run. #anythingcanhappen
Torin Quinlivan (@tquinlivan): 47-4 Northwestern. Easy.
Nick Nemeth (@SixthDeclension): 34 30 huskers :-(.