WNUR Predictions: Northwestern vs. Nebraska
The WNUR staff predicts how Northwestern will fair in their homecoming game against Nebraska.
Cameron Songer (1- 2) (@CameronSonger): Nebraska 28, Northwestern 27. These two teams don’t know how to play a game against each other that isn’t close. It’s tempting to say that fate owes the Wildcats one after last year’s Hail Mary, but coaches tell players all the time to “make their own luck.” Or something like that. Nebraska is the more talented team, but a feisty ‘Cats squad will keep it interesting. Player to watch: Jordan Westerkamp. He’ll make a big play in the second half. Again.
Ben Goren (3 – 1) (@BenG412): Northwestern 14 Nebraska 13. Last week I couldn’t make a pick and Northwestern lost. I know my role in this. It is my duty to pick the Wildcats to win every week. Such is life. Player to Watch: Trevor Siemian. Expect Siemian’s role to be significantly less than last week when he threw the ball 50 times. A renewed emphasis in the run game should lead to more open space for Siemian to throw into. Will he take advantage? Plenty of Wildcat fans, me not among them, think not.
Nick Scoliard (1 – 4) (@NickScols): Nebraska 27 – Northwestern 13. Imagine a RB just as good, maybe better than Melvin Gordon, and add on a more competant QB than Tanney McEvoy/Joel Stave, and two great receivers? That adds up to the Wildcats. Also their gothic jerseys are terrible. There, I said it. Everyone else disagrees, but the Uniform Gods know what’s up. Maybe if they swtich uniforms at half time they’ll have a chance, but the Northwestern goths aren’t going to have a fun day. Player to Watch: Ameer Abdullah. There isn’t a single player that will change this game more than Abdullah, and honestly, he’s just fun and electrifying to watch.
Michael Stern (1 – 5) (@michaeljstern23): Northwestern 27, Nebraska 24. This game has to end with some sort of justice for Northwestern after the Huskers’ miracle victory last year. In addition to the revenge factor, Northwestern has the added excitement of new uniforms and a home night game, which should not be underestimated. I’ll take an improbable Wildcat victory by last year’s score, ending on a career-long Jack Mitchell field goal as time expires. Player to watch: Ibraheim Campbell. Last season’s game in Lincoln ended with Campbell sprawled out in the end zone from exhaustion and disbelief. He’s been out with an injury, but the safety has had this game circled for a long time. Nothing gets behind him Saturday, especially not Jordan Westerkamp.
Ryan Fish (1 – 4) (@RyanMFish): Nebraska 21, Northwestern 17. I’ve been wrong almost every week in picking Northwestern’s games this season, so take this one with a grain of salt. But I think an inspired effort by the Wildcats comes up just short, and that there’s too much Ameer Abdullah for the ‘Cats’ defense to handle. Player to Watch: Justin Jackson. Trevor Siemian threw 50 passes last week, and many thought NU’s offense was too imbalanced. Let’s see if Jackson, who had a receiving TD last week, gets more touches on Saturday.
Ari Ross (1 – 5) (@aross50): Nebraska 27-24. Playing in prime time with Gothic jerseys, Northwestern will be ready for this game and they’ll keep it close, and if they play as they did against Penn State or Wisconsin, Northwestern has a real good chance to win this game. But Nebraska is the best team they’ll play all year. I just am not sure enough that Northwestern can put together another complete game to beat the Huskers and Nebraska pulls it out in a heart breaker at the end. Player to Watch: Dan Vitale, SB, Northwestern. In games where Vitale has played well – against PSU and Wisconsin – Northwestern has won. When he wasn’t involved, they’ve lost. Mick McCall and Trevor Siemian need to get Vitale involved and open up the offense against a good Nebraska defense.
Ian McCafferty (0 – 2) (@Itmccaf52): 21-20 Northwestern. All the intangibles are there this week. This game is homecoming weekend, it’s in primetime, the team has new uniforms and the players will be hyped up. Northwestern just has to sure that this excitement translates into positives and not a nervous start. Nebraska QB Tommy Armstrong Jr. has thrown an interception in three straight games, so look for an opportunistic Northwestern defense to try and take advantage. The Wildcats pull off the upset by slowing down Ameer Abdullah and playing ball control against an average Nebraska defense. Player to Watch: Trevor Siemian, QB, Northwestern. During last week’s 97 yard game tying touchdown drive against Minnesota, Siemian was clinical, routinely completely passes for 10 or more yards to move the chains. Northwestern will need more of that from their QB this week if they hope to secure a victory.
Zach Pereles (0 – 3) (@zach_pereles): Nebraska 26 – Northwestern 20. In front of an energized Homecoming Week crowd, the Cats will perform well against this high-powered Cornhusker team, and the hosts will keep it close throughout. While Nebraska is similar to Wisconsin in that both teams have a Heisman candidate running back (Ameer Abdullah and Melvin Gordon, respectively), Nebraska’s Tommy Armstrong Jr. is a much better quarterback than either Badger signal caller. Hence, Nebraska will pick up the win on the road. Player to Watch: Trevor Siemian. His health is in question heading into this showdown, and while Siemian’s body may not be 100%, his execution on Saturday night will have to be. Siemian played well at Minnesota, but again failed to stretch the field; the Wildcats will need for him to hit on deep passes in order to win this game.
Willaim Greer (0 – 0) (@willy_nillie): Northwestern 23, Nebraska 17. Northwestern’s defense keeps Ameer Abdullah and the Cornhusker offense in check, and Trevor Siemian manages the offense to lead Northwestern to victory in front of an electric Homecoming crowd at Ryan Field. Linebacker Anthony Walker is the player to watch in this one, as forcing a couple takeaways and stopping the run will be crucial for Northwestern.