The Wildcats hit the road to face Nebraska Saturday, looking to snap a two-game losing streak this season and a three-game losing streak against the Huskers. The game starts at 11 on ESPN2, but you’ll be listening on WNUR 89.3 FM in Evanston/Chicago or online right here at wnursports.com!
Here are our broadcasters’ predictions for tomorrow’s game:
Max Gelman (@MaxGelman): Nebraska 27, Northwestern 10
Over the past two weeks, Northwestern’s defense has looked like it’s been made of Lincoln Logs. And as the Wildcats travel to Lincoln, it will be tough to Log a win on the road against an improving Cornhusker team.
Player to watch: Nick Van Hoose, DB, Northwestern. Van Hoose made some questionable reads against Iowa last week, and if NU’s defense wants to get back to where it was, he needs to step up. With Matthew Harris out for the foreseeable future, Van Hoose should become the top playmaker in the secondary.
Zach Pereles (@zach_pereles): Nebraska 27, Northwestern 13
This offense is struggling, and Nebraska isn’t nearly as bad as its record says. The Cornhusker offense is explosive and finally rounding into shape; it’ll be a long ride back from Memorial Stadium for the Wildcats, who will drop their third straight.
Player to Watch: De’Mornay Pierson-El, WR, Nebraska. Pat Fitzgerald called him one of the best return men on the planet, and he’s finally being worked into the offense more and more. Whoever draws the unenviable task of defending him might be in for a rough afternoon.
Austin Miller (@austin_james906): Nebraska 27, Northwestern 10
Nothing Northwestern has done over the last two weeks gives me any reason to believe the ‘Cats can win this one. NU will get stuffed on 3rd and shorts, and be ineffective on 3rd and longs. The defense will play well but will be worn down by the end of this one. My, how this team has fallen.
Player to Watch: Northwestern pass catchers: Northwestern’s receiving corps has really struggled lately, which hasn’t helped redshirt freshman Clayton Thorson. If Northwestern has any chance Saturday, their wideouts are going to have to play much better than they have been.
Tim Balk (@timbalk): Nebraska 12, Northwestern 10
The ‘Cats’ defense rises from the dead, but Thorson and the offense struggle in Lincoln.
Player to watch: Clayton Thorson, QB, Northwestern: NU’s running game has vanished, and the ‘Cats need Thorson to step up.
Josh Burton (@josh_burton1): Northwestern 20, Nebraska 7
Although Northwestern has been outscored 78-10 in the last two weeks, and has looked horrible in doing so, Nebraska still isn’t a good team and the Wildcats are bound to bounce back eventually. The defense will return to form, force a few turnovers, and ease the pressure off the offense that has struggled so mightily lately.
Player to watch: Anthony Walker, LB, Northwestern. Walker, who took the nation by storm during Northwestern’s season-opening five-game winning streak, hasn’t done much in the losses to Michigan and Iowa. He excels when he’s able to not play in coverage and instead roam the middle of the field, where he can force fumbles and even pick passes off. If he can cause turnovers Saturday, Northwestern is in good shape.
Ryan Fish (@RyanMFish): Nebraska 27, Northwestern 17
It shouldn’t be as lopsided a contest as the last two weeks have been for Northwestern, but it’s hard to have a lot of faith in the Wildcats now after a couple of sobering losses. Nebraska is vulnerable and beatable, but the ‘Cats are ice cold going into a hostile environment in Lincoln. The Huskers are the smart pick in this one.
Player to watch: Tommy Armstrong, Quarterback, Nebraska. Tied for the conference’s lead in passing attempts and the leader in passing yards, the ‘Cats’ D will see a lot of Armstrong on Saturday. The Wildcats’ secondary will benefit if they can force some turnovers and limit his production.
Sam Brief (@sambrief): Nebraska 27, Northwestern 10
Nebraska’s 3-4 record isn’t as ugly as it looks—they’ve lost by just 11 total points this season. The ‘Cats are sputtering in all facets right now, and Nebraska can pounce early and send Northwestern home with another conference loss.
Player to watch: Mick McCall, offensive coordinator, Northwestern. I know, he’s not a player—he’s a coach. But I’ll keep an eye fixated on McCall’s playcalling, especially early on. Will he continue the predictable early-down runs and screen passes? Will he completely abandon the run if the ‘Cats go down early? Opposing defenses clearly have McCall’s offense figured out. How he adjusts will be something to watch in this one.
Michael Stern (@michaeljstern23): Nebraska 31, Northwestern 16
Last time the ‘Cats visited Lincoln, Nebraska needed a Hail Mary to beat NU. This year, it won’t be as close, as a Husker running attack which features Terrell Newby and dual-threat Tommy Armstrong should have plenty of room to operate.
Player to watch: Austin Carr, wide receiver, Northwestern. Clayton Thorson missed Carr against Iowa, when he threw a career-high 35 times. The Huskers allow 342 passing yards per game, dead last in the FBS, and Thorson and Carr connected on two key plays against Michigan.