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Northwestern vs. Nebraska Picks

A look at picks for Saturday's game. We're split on this one:

Kevin Trahan (@k_trahan)

Who knew that a trip to Nebraska might be Northwestern's easiest game yet on the Big Ten schedule? That isn't to say the Cornhuskers are worse than Iowa or Minnesota — though there's an argument for that — but this is definitely the best matchup for NU so far in Big Ten play. First, Nebraska will be without quarterback Taylor Martinez. Tommy Armstrong could be a star eventually, but he has a long way to go. Second, this is just the game Northwestern's offense needs to get back on track. It's a good matchup for the NU rush offense going against a bad run defense. This should be the game that gets NU back in the win column.

Northwestern 27, Nebraska 21

Chris Johnson (@ChrisDJohnsonn)

Two years ago, Northwestern slogged through a five-game losing streak that began with a week three loss to Army and ended October 29, when the Wildcats hung 59 points on Indiana in a blowout win. They upset Nebraska on the road one week later. The circumstances are slightly different this time around: the Wildcats have lost four games in a row, are traveling to Lincoln without having won the week prior and the Huskers – who lost to Minnesota last week – don’t measure up to the No. 10-ranked version Northwestern stunned in 2011.

The result will be different, too. Stephen Buckley and Treyvon Green will gash Nebraska’s woeful run defense, and Kain Colter, evoking his tremendous second-half performance in Lincoln in 2011, will play his best game of the season. Hard as it is to believe, given all the negativity hovering over Northwestern right now, the Wildcats’ defense has played well in recent weeks. Against Nebraska, it won’t. The offense will, though, because Nebraska’s defense is pitiful. The Wildcats will keep this one close, but redshirt freshman Tommy Armstrong, playing in relief of the injured Taylor Martinez, will throw a late, game-winning touchdown pass to Quincy Enunwa to prolong Northwestern’s losing misery at least one more week.

Nebraska 34, Northwestern 31

Callie Counsellor (@CCounsellor)

With Taylor Martinez out, Nebraska's offense becomes severely one-dimensional. All Northwestern has to do is stop the run--no easy task, but they proved they could do it last week against Iowa, allowing only 52 yards rushing in the last three quarters and overtime. Stephen Buckley provided the spark for NU's offense last week and will need to do so again this week with Venric Mark out and Kain Colter at less than full strength. Nebraska will pull ahead early, but Northwestern will settle in and take charge in the second half behind a big game for Buckley.

Northwestern 24, Nebraska 20

Josh Rosenblat (@JMRosenblat)

Now that Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini officially announced that quarterback Taylor Martinez is out, Northwestern's defense really only has to focus on containing running back Ameer Abdullah. Last week, was effective in holding Iowa, a run-based offense, to just 10 points in regulation. This game, though, will undoubtedly come down to whether Northwestern’s offense can take advantage of Nebraska’s weaker front seven. This is a big opportunity for an offense, particularly the offensive line, that has struggled as of late.

Northwestern 23, Nebraska 17