We’re very excited to introduce our Honorary InsideNU Picker of the week. Every game week this season, we’ll have a Northwestern athlete make their prediction along with our writers. First up is redshirt freshman guard Tino Malnati. He’s one-for-one in NCAA Tournament appearances, let’s see how he is at predictions.
Tino Malnati — Northwestern 34, Nevada 10
Justin Jackson and Clayton Thorson propel a big offensive day for the ‘Cats. The Sky Team takes care of Nevada on the other side of the ball resulting in a solid W to kickstart the 2017 campaign.
Noah Coffman — Northwestern 52, Nevada 10
Pat Fitzgerald has talked repeatedly over the past couple of weeks about the challenge that Nevada’s new staff poses to Northwestern. Despite his best efforts, I’m not convinced. Teams with new coaching staffs, especially those that were already facing a sizable talent deficit at most position battles, tend to struggle. Northwestern is looking to avenge last year’s slow start, and the Wolfpack are a relatively young team with two new coordinators and a new head coach. Adding to that, Nevada’s biggest weakness, as we’ve extensively detailed, is their run defense, and Justin Jackson is hungry to get back to throwing stiff-arms. This one should be a bloodbath.
Caleb Friedman — Northwestern 31, Nevada 14
Northwestern is all-around better than Nevada, and the scoreline will show that. The Wildcat offense may get off to a slow start, but it'll get going, and NU will win comfortably.
Davis Rich — Northwestern 42, Nevada 13
Tristan Jung — Northwestern 33, Nevada 14
Will Ragatz - Northwestern 41 Nevada 13
Pretty simple here, both of us are predicting a semi-close start to the game and then an easy Wildcats victory.
Martin Oppegaard - Northwestern 34, Nevada 17
Northwestern cruises past an overmatched Nevada team behind two touchdowns from Justin Jackson. Thorson throws one to Garrett Dickerson and another to Macan Wilson while Charlie Kuhbander goes 2-for-2 in his debut. The Wolf Pack get a late touchdown to cover and happily leave $1.3 million richer. Win-win for both programs.
Talia Hendel - Northwestern 42, Nevada 10
Northwestern’s been preparing all offseason to ensure they come out guns blazing in 2017 after last season’s 1-3 start, and the matchup of Justin Jackson and Clayton Thorson against Nevada’s mediocre defense should make for an impressive start to Jackson’s final season.
The Wolf Pack’s substantial coaching staff changes could make for a disorganized entry to the season, particularly for a team which only won a single game outside of Reno last year. That said, NU’s home field advantage will certainly be hindered by the lack of a student section courtesy of the quarter system’s late start. However, the combination of Pat Fitzgerald’s experience and enthusiasm, a number of young players eager to prove themselves and the team’s driven veteran leadership should make for an easy win.