The Big Ten slate for the Nebraska Cornhuskers kicks off with the all-white alt uni game at Northwestern Saturday night.
The Huskers are needing a good start in B1G play and need to start fast to get ahead in the division. Here are the five reasons that Nebraska goes to 4-0 on the year.
It is essentially a home game for the Huskers:
Nebraska has yet to play on the road this season, and although they are away from Memorial Stadium on Saturday, it will feel like a home game. I would not be surprised if it is greater than a 50/50 split, with the Husker fans outnumbering the Wildcat fans. Going on the road is never easy, your schedule changes and you are in unfamiliar territory, but this Saturday will not be a normal road game for the Huskers. Crowd noise won't be an issue, which is a huge plus for the Huskers. Look for Nebraska to establish themselves early and make a home away from home.
Northwestern's offense has been laughable thus far. The Wildcats ranks 108th in the country in total offense, totaling just 334 yards per game. The Wildcats' offense is 112th in the country in yards per play averaging under 5 yards per snap. The passing offense is middle of the pack for the Huskers, but the ground game is a different story. The Wildcats rank 117th in total rush yards with 295 yards. Only seven teams in the country rush for less yards per carry than the Wildcats' 2.78. If I am Nebraska I am not worried about this offense at all. Their passing game is average, and the ground game is atrocious. 21 points should win this game, which is good news for Nebraska.
Nebraska's Defense Continues to Improve:
The Nebraska Rushing Defense is actually playing at a worse level than they were in 2015, allowing a full yard more per attempt (4.79 vs 3.77). However, the Pass Defense is helping the Huskers stay in the game more often. Northwestern is only averaging 17 points a game, and that's not differing from the norm when they didn't average above 20 per game. Granted, one of their better performance was against Nebraska last season in a game we'd like to forget for many reasons. Has Nebraska learned their lesson with Thorson's O?
Devine Ozigbo's Attitude:
Oz has already passed his 2014 season numbers in both carries and yards. With Terrell Newby splitting time at the 1 spot with Ozigbo, Tre Bryant's fumbles and the seemingly buried Mikale Wilbon, Devine is the runner of choice right now for Reggie Davis and Danny Langsdorf. A lot of folks were hoping that the Oz everyone saw vs. UCLA in the Foster Farms Bowl would carry over, and it appears it has. Maybe it's just the fortune of being the best fit for the current Offense this year, but it's a good thing for everyone right now
Not Taking Northwestern Lightly:
Everyone knows that the Big Ten west is there to be had with a weak NW, a questionable Wisconsin team on Offense and an Iowa team that could be regressing to the means. Going 1-5 last year in the division, however, means you don't take any team in there for granted. To win the West, Nebraska has to do better against the West. Mike Riley and his staff have been talking about not looking past this game. It's time to see if that's the case.