Northwestern vs. Nebraska: Last Minute Spread Info, Line and Prediction

Eric BowmanFeatured ColumnistNovember 3, 2011

LINCOLN, NE - SEPTEMBER 3: Head Coach Bo Pelini leads his Nebraska Cornhuskers onto the field against the Chattanooga Mocs before their game at Memorial Stadium September 3, 2011 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska won 40-7. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
Eric Francis/Getty Images

The Nebraska Cornhuskers host the Northwestern Wildcats this weekend, and they're looking to maintain their place at the top of the Legends Division in the Big Ten. 

These two teams have only played each other four times, with the Cornhuskers winning the most recent one in 2000 during the Alamo Bowl.

That all changes now that Nebraska is in the Big Ten, as these division foes will become well very acquainted with one another in the coming years

The No. 10-ranked Cornhuskers (7-1, 3-1 Big Ten) are looking for their fourth straight win, whereas the Wildcats (3-5, 1-4 Big Ten) are hoping to get their second conference victory. Northwestern ended a five-game losing streak last week with a win over Indiana. 

With that said, let's take a look at some specifics of this Big Ten showdown. 


When: Saturday, Nov. 5 at 3:30 p.m. ET

Where: Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, NE

Watch: Big Ten Network



The Cornhuskers are favored at -17.5, which may seem high, but the Wildcats' defense simply won't be able to contain Nebraska's offense. Northwestern is 2-5 ATS, and this is the most points the Wildcats have received from the oddsmakers all season. Still, Nebraska will cover because the Wildcats' defense won't be able to compete for all four quarters. 



The over/under is set at 64, which, again, may seem high, but both teams have shown they can score at will. Take the over here because Nebraska's defense won't shut down Nortwestern's offense until the second half, which means they'll put up enough points to get the over. 


Key Injuries 

For Northwestern, QB Dan Persa (toe) and DL Tyler Scott (neck) are both probable. Persa played last week and should be fine for Saturday, but Scott sat out last weeks game. The Wildcats do expect him to return. 

For Nebraska, QB Taylor Martinez (thumb) is probable, but CB Ciante Evans (concussion) is questionable. Evans was a limited participant in practice this week, and Martinez should be fine to play. 

LINCOLN, NE - OCTOBER 8: Quarterback Taylor Martinez #3 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers runs downfield against the Ohio State defense during their game at Memorial Stadium October 8, 2011 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska Defeated Ohio State 34-27. (Photo by Eri
Eric Francis/Getty Images


BCS/Top 25 Implications 

The Wildcats are an afterthought in the polls at this point of the season, but a win over Nebraska would make them feel better about their season. 

As mentioned, the Cornhuskers are ranked No. 10 in the BCS, but they need to win all their games to have a shot at not just a BCS bowl, but the BCS National Title Game. Nebraska only has one loss, which means if it stays that way, and the Cornhuskers get a little luck thrown their way, they could be playing for the title. It's unlikely, but it's still a possibility.  


Key to Northwestern Win 

Northwestern has to create turnovers and frustrate dual-threat quarterback Taylor Martinez. If the Wildcats can get the ball in their hands more often, it increases their chances of winning.

The Wildcats must also find a way to slow down running back  Rex Burkhead, who has rushed for over 100 yards five times this season, including the last two games. It's not going to be easy, though, because Northwestern is ranked No. 95 in rushing defense. 


Keys to Nebraska Win

Taylor Martinez cannot turn the ball over frequently or else he'll give the Wildcats a fighting chance. Nebraska's defense should keep Northwestern in check, but consistent pressure on Dan Persa will greatly benefit the Cornhuskers. 

If Nebraska can chew the clock up with Burkhead running the ball, then the Cornhuskers will easily win on Saturday. 



The Wildcats will give a valiant effort on Saturday evening, but they won't be able to seal the deal late in the game. Don't be surprised at all if the Cornhuskers start out slow, but in the end, they will triumph and win big. 

Cornhuskers 48, Wildcats 24


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