Nebraska is still looking for their first win in the Scott Frost era, and they’ll see if they can upset Northwestern at Ryan Field on Saturday afternoon. The Huskers have lost nine straight dating back to last season, and the skid started with a loss to the Wildcats. Northwestern ended a three-game skid by taking down Michigan State in an upset last week.
Huskers defense remains easily beatable in Big Ten play
It’s been an absolute struggle for Nebraska to get anything going this season, and they honestly haven’t looked good since their opening week loss to Colorado. After getting punched in the mouth to Michigan to open conference play, they fell in an embarrassing loss to Purdue and most recently stumbled against Wisconsin, 41-24. The transition to success under new head coach Scott Frost may take longer than most fans anticipated.
Perhaps a bigger issue than the struggle at quarterback is the defensive side of the ball. They’re allowing teams to hit over 200 yards rushing on average (108th nationally) and they allow 39.2 points per game, which is nearly at the bottom of the entire FBS. Freshman QB Adrian Martinez is shifting in the right direction, but is still completing under 60 percent of his passes.
Wildcats pick up a fifth straight conference road win
If Northwestern wanted to be honest, they should have been winless heading into their second road game of the season, but they definitely earned the 29-19 win over Michigan State to open up October. While the Spartans are dealing with their own issues, the Wildcats threw the ball enough and stepped up on defense, forcing the opposition to go just 4-for-15 on third down and missing both fourth down opportunities.
Spoiled Sparty's party for a fifth straight Big Ten road win. 😈
— Northwestern Football (@NUFBFamily) October 8, 2018
Running the ball continues to be a stickler for the team — they had just eight net positive yards on the ground in 20 carries. They ended up not needing it with quarterback Clayton Thorson completing 66 percent of his passes for 373 yards and 3 TDs. He did throw two picks, and the ratio currently sits at a mediocre six scores to five turnovers.
- 21-5 ATS in their last 26 conference games
- 16-5 ATS in their last 21 against teams with a losing record
- 3-12-1 ATS in their last 16 games after an ATS win
- 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games overall
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Interestingly, the Wildcats opened up as near double-digit favorites but that number has shrunk to just under a touchdown. At some point, the Huskers will figure things out, but it may not be until next season. Right now, it feels like the home team is being offered at a discount.
Prediction: Northwestern -5.5
Full-Game Total Pick
One consistent has been the high totals in these Big Ten games Nebraska has played in. Their defense is nowhere near ready to compete against these teams and that’s a trend that should continue for another week.
Prediction: Over 56