Nebraska Preview: #20 Cornhuskers at Northwestern
After passing their first big test of 2016, the Nebraska Cornhuskers are coming up quickly on their next key challenge of the season - the opening of Big Ten Conference play, at Northwestern, Saturday.
The Huskers head to Evanston as a ranked team for the first time in a long time. Nebraska is 20th in the latest AP Top 25 poll.
They come in as eight point favorites, but remember all too well what the Wildcats were able to do in Lincoln last year, winning 30-28. Redshirt freshman quarterback Clayton Thorson threw for 177 yards and a score and ran for 126 yards and another touchdown in the Northwestern victory. Linebacker Anthony Walker lead the NU defense with 13 tackles as Nebraska's running game was limited to just 82 yards.
This season, Northwestern (1-2) has struggled on the offensive line, allowing 11 sacks in three games, while scoring just an average of 17 points per game.
The Wildcats are coming in off of their best offensive day of the season so far, with 302 yards of total offense in a 24-13 win over Duke. Thorson threw for 320 yards and three touchdowns against the Blue Devils, but was picked off twice. Six of his eight completions were to wide receiver Austin Carr, who finished with 135 yards and a touchdown. Running back Justin Jackson finished the day with 94 yards on 28 carries.
The NU defense has helped keep things close so far, allowing just 14 points per game, while limiting opponents to less than 32 percent on third down.
For Nebraska, wide receiver Alonzo Moore is banged up and saw very limited practice time this week, but wide receiver Brandon Reilly should be back after missing last week with an injury.
Kickoff is 6:30 PM, Saturday, in Evanston, Illinois. Four of Nebraska's first six Big Ten games are on the road.
You can follow the Huskers live, all season long on ESPN 99.1.
The Huskers (3-0) have a ton of confidence and momentum after their first regular season win over a ranked non-conference opponent since 2001, with last week's 35-32 victory over #22 Oregon.
Quarterback Tommy Armstrong had one of his best games in a Nebraska uniform, throwing for 200 yards and three touchdowns, while running for 95 yards and another score, despite dealing with severe leg cramps for much of the game on a warm day at Memorial Stadium.
Running back Terrell Newby went to the bench early with an injury and Divine Ozigbo stepped in, running for 95 yards and a touchdown.
Down 20-7 just before halftime, the Huskers special teams turned in one of the biggest plays of the game when D'Mornay Pierson-El returned a punt 45-yards to set up a Nebraska touchdown with :05 left.
Defensively, the Cornhuskers did allow the Ducks 336 yards on the ground, but snapped Oregon's streak of 82 straight games with a touchdown pass. Sioux Falls native Nate Gerry led the Blackshirt defense with nine tackles.
I talked with the 'Voice of the Huskers', Greg Sharpe, about the Oregon win and week's match-up with Northwestern: