Now, we look at the flip side and see how the Huskers could walk away with their fifth loss of the year.
Nebraska is having a lot of success against solid defenses this season, but that does not mean they are going to roll through the Wildcats. Northwestern boasts the 12th ranked scoring defense in the country, allowing 16.1 points per game. I talked about their rushing defense and how it has been mediocre this season, but their passing defense has been stellar. The Wildcats are only allowing 146.7 pass yards per game, ranking them 7th in the country. Northwestern has only given up two passing touchdowns this seasons while picking off opponents six times. Nebraska will have to establish a ground game to take down Northwestern, and if they fail to do so, look for the Wildcats to have a good chance in this one.
History says it will be a close game:
No matter who is ranked where, Nebraska versus Northwestern has always been a good matchup. Three of the last four games have been decided by three or fewer points. I don’t think I need to mention what happened last time the two played at Memorial Stadium. If this is a close game, and signs are pointing to that, whoever makes a big play at the end of the game will come out the winner. It may be a turnover or a big play on offense, but look for this game to be decided late… Husker fans know that feeling.
Must win for Northwestern?
Northwestern was firing on all cylinders at the beginning of the season. They took down a ranked Stanford and a now ranked Duke team. After a 5-0 start and a 1-0 start in Big Ten play, Northwestern looked to be the real deal. Then they ran into a buzz saw in the form of Michigan followed by Iowa. They have been outscored by 68 points in their last two games. If Northwestern is going to turn its season around, now is the time to do so. This is a must win for both team’s Big Ten chances and whoever wants it more will be the team to improve to .500 in conference play.
Tommy Armstrong’s struggles continue:
Tommy Armstrong Jr. is the most important player on the Nebraska team. In two of the last three weeks he has struggled mightily. Against Wisconsin and Illinois he completed under 40% of his passes and threw for under 130 yards. He bounced back last week against Minnesota in a big way, completing nearly 70% of his passes and throwing for three touchdowns and no interceptions. Armstrong is a reason why Nebraska could win and lose. Whichever player shows up on Saturday may be the deciding factor in the game. Nebraska has yet to win a game in which Armstrong completes under 60% of his passes. If his struggles continue, and the Nebraska coaching staff wants to throw the ball like they have, look for Northwestern to stick around and possibly steal a victory in Lincoln.
I really don’t want to be that guy. I hate being that guy. I have to be that guy. Nebraska’s coaching has directly led to one loss and indirectly to at least one more. The offensive play calling has been laughable at times, the defense has been terrible at times, and at the end of the day that falls on coaching. I believe in this coaching staff and I think the right guys are here, but if the iffy play-calling continues at the end of games we could see another heartbreaking loss.