Nebraska Preview: Cornhuskers Host Northwestern
It may be hard to believe after the ups and downs of this Nebraska football season, but the Cornhuskers are a win away from taking over sole possession of second place in the Big Ten West, when they host Northwestern, Saturday (November 4).
Neither the Huskers (4-4/3-2) nor Wildcats (5-3/3-2) will likely catch first-place Wisconsin, who takes the field this weekend with a two game lead, but second place at this stage of the season is still a bit of an accomplishment.
Northwestern comes to Lincoln fresh off of back-to-back overtime victories over Iowa and Michigan State.
The Wildcats will test a Nebraska running game that's been a disappointment in 2017. NU is 17th best in the nation against the run. Linebackers Nate Hall and Paddy Fisher have combined for 78 tackles.
The Husker offense could have a big day throwing the football against Northwestern. The Wildcats are the second worst pass defense in the Big Ten, allowing better than 270 yards a game.
Northwestern's biggest problem on offense has been protecting quarterback Clayton Thorson. He's been sacked a Big Ten worst 24 times and pressure has forced him to throw nine interceptions.
Like Nebraska, Northwestern has struggled to establish a running game this year. The Wildcats are 11th out of 14 Big Ten teams, averaging 128 yards per game. Justin Jackson has the majority of those yards, 81 per game.
Kickoff is 2:30 PM, Saturday in Lincoln. You can listen live on ESPN 99.1.
The Cornhuskers snapped a two-game losing streak with a 25-24 win at Purdue, last Saturday (October 28).
Nebraska grabbed an early three-point lead but managed just 29 yards on their next three possessions.
One of those possessions ended on downs at the Purdue 45 and the Boilermakers took advantage with a touchdown.
Later in the half, an 86-yard scoring drive gave Purdue a 14-6 halftime lead.
That lead grew to 24-12 early in the third quarter, when things began to click for the Husker offense. Quarterback Tanner Lee orchestrated a 70-yard touchdown drive to pull to within five and then in the final 1:22 Lee went 7-of-8, hitting Stanley Morgan with what proved to be the game winning touchdown, with just 14 seconds left.
Lee finished the night with 431 yards passing, fourth most in school history, and completed passes to seven different receivers. He attempted 50 passes in the game.
Morgan had six catches for 112 yards. Tight end Tyler Hoppes added five grabs for 105 yards.
Freshman running back Jaylin Bradley had his best running game in a Husker uniform - 42 yards on seven carries - all in the second half.
The Blackshirt defense held Purdue to just 3-of-13 on third down. Chris Weber led the way with 12 tackles.
Kicker Drew Brown had a perfect night, going 4-of-4 on field goals, including a 44-yarder..
I talked with the 'Voice of the Huskers', Greg Sharpe, about the match-up with the Wildcats: