football Edit

Nebraska vs. Northwestern: Keys to victory, HOL score predictions

EVANSTON, Ill. - The Nebraska football team will take the field on Saturday still in search of the first win of the Scott Frost era.

The Huskers (0-5, 0-3) will take on the Northwestern Wildcats (2-3, 2-1) today at 11 am on ABC.

As we get closer to kickoff, here are today's keys to a Nebraska victory over Northwestern. The Wildcats are currently a 3.5 point favorite over the Big Red.

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KEYS TO VICTORY: Nebraska at Northwestern 

KEY 1: Don't let Northwestern gain confidence with their ground game

The last two weeks Northwestern has rushed for just 36 yards on 54 carries. Was that due more to the loss of running back Jeremy Larkin or how good Michigan and Michigan State were against the run? My guess is it's somewhere in-between. I fully expect the Wildcats to try to run the ball more Saturday than they did the last two weeks.

KEY 2: A fast start for the offense

We've only seen Nebraska's offense start fast once all season. This has been as big of a problem as anything. Last week the defense played well early, but the offense gave them nothing in return. That has to change today.

KEY 3: Limit penalties and mental mistakes

Nebraska is one of the most penalized teams in the nation and Northwestern is one of the least. Of all the numbers out there, this is the one that jumps out the most. If Nebraska is penalized 10 times again today, they will have a tough time winning in Evanston.

KEY 4: Third down

Nebraska's third-down offense and defense have had their problems this season. The offense has constantly faced third-and-longs because of penalties. The defense has not been able to get offense's off the field on third down. NU has worked on this in practice all week. Will it make a difference on Saturday?

KEY 5: Containing Thorson

Like Purdue's David Blough, Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson will be making his fourth start against Nebraska. NU's players are very aware of what Thorson can do, and he's hurt the Huskers just as much with his legs the last few years as his arm. He's not known as a great runner, but he always seems to find a way to have a back-breaking type run against the Big Red. They need to limit these types of plays today.

EXPERT TAKE: Nebraska at Northwestern 

Sean Callahan - HuskerOnline Publisher

The Huskers are playing better football right now. Northwestern is a great match-up for the Big Red. I think Nebraska finds a way to get a win in Evanston, as they ride the back of quarterback Adrian Martinez for a thrilling victory.

Nebraska 31, Northwestern 30

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Robin Washut - HuskerOnline Senior Writer

Even against the most disciplined team in college football, Nebraska figures out how to stay out of its own way for once and pulls off the first victory of the Scott Frost era today. The defense finally creates a couple key turnovers and Adrian Martinez keeps his hot streak going.

Nebraska 35, Northwestern 28

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Nate Clouse - HuskerOnline Lead Recruiting Analyst

I think Nebraska matches up fairly well against Northwestern this weekend, but it’s not the first time I’ve thought that this season and here they are still winless. If the Huskers are going to beat the Wildcats they must get off to a fast start offensively, get off the field on third down defensively and at least cut back on a few penalties. This is the week we see Nebraska turn the corner as a team simply by being more consistent in all three phases of the game. The Big Red and Frost finally end its losing streak.

Nebraska 35, Northwestern 33

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Mike'l Severe - Omaha World Herald Bottom Line

For some reason, this game reminds me of the 2015 Michigan State game. Big timeline movement towards the Huskers and a team that Nebraska always plays well against. It's not a real home game but Evanston is as close as you can get to Lincoln in terms of fans. I expect a FG game decided by a big play on a throw from Adrian Martinez to Maurice Washington.

Nebraska 31, Northwestern 28

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Andy Kendeigh - KETV Channel 7 Sports Director

We can talk penalties, turnovers, buy-in, the ascending Adrian Martinez, the dynamic JD Spielman but one thing that stands out is third down. Nebraska is converting just 32% of its third down opportunities (14th in B1G, 122nd nationally) while NU's defense allows opponents a 42% conversion rate (13th in B1G, 122nd). If the Huskers win third down they win in Evanston.

Nebraska 34, Northwestern 31

HuskerOnline Week  7 Score Predictions 
Week 7 Sean Callahan Robin Washut Nate Clouse Mike'l Severe Andy Kendeigh 

Nebraska at Northwestern

31-30

Nebraska

35-28 Nebraska

35-33 Nebraska

31-28

Nebraska

34-31

Nebraska

Iowa at Indiana

34-24

Iowa

28-21

Iowa

35-24

Iowa

27-24

Iowa

27-20

Iowa

Wisconsin at Michigan

27-17

Michigan

17-10

Michigan

28-24

Michigan

27-13

Michigan

27-20

Michigan

Michigan State at Penn State

34-23

Penn State

42-28

Penn State

38-28

Penn State

34-17

Penn State

38-21

Penn State

Georgia at LSU

26-24

Georgia

41-24

Georgia

31-21 Georgia

26-21

Georgia

24-21

Georgia

Washington at Oregon

38-34

Washington

45-42

Oregon

38-30

Washington

28-27

Washington

33-30

Oregon

HuskerOnline Score Prediction Standings 
Expert Picker Straight Up vs. the Spread  Cumulative Total 

Mike'l Severe

OWH Bottom Line

21-14

20-14

41

Andy Kendeigh

KETV-ABC Omaha

25-10

15-19

40

Nate Clouse

HuskerOnline

19-16

16-18

35

Sean Callahan

HuskerOnline

19-16

15-19

34

Robin Washut

HuskerOnline

17-18

11-23

28