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Northwestern-Nebraska predictions

How do our staffers see this one playing out?

NCAA Football: Northwestern at Nebraska Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Caleb Friedman: Northwestern 30, Nebraska 24

Northwestern and Nebraska games are usually close, and I see that trend continuing. The Wildcats’ defense gets the stops it needs down the stretch, and Clayton Thorson has a nice day throwing the ball. NU moves to 3-3 and 3-1 in the Big Ten.

Joe Weinberg: Northwestern 38, Nebraska 28

Adrian Martinez will play well and make some noise early but the experience of Clayton Thorson will ultimately prevail like it typically does around this time of the season. Skowronek has his biggest game of the season as Nebraska turns its attention to Flynn Nagel and the ‘Cats defense does enough to get Northwestern back to .500 on the year. Scott Frost’s first win as a Husker isn’t coming in Evanston.

Eli Karp: Northwestern 31, Nebraska 20

This time around the ‘Cats will follow up a win with urgency, knowing they have plenty left to play for. It will be interesting to see if Mick McCall gives Clayton Thorson more volume after last week, but Saturday would be the day to get the ground game going as Nebraska is giving up over five yards per carry. I see Adrian Martinez hitting on a couple of big pass plays, but ultimately Northwestern’s offense will control the clock and give half of the Ryan Field crowd its first home win.

Graham Brennan: Northwestern 35, Nebraska 21

Every Nebraska recruiting class since 2015 has been ranked inside the top-30 nationally, so part of me thinks they’re bound to turn their season around. A bunch of 4-stars lined up against 3-stars at nearly every position should advantageous for the Cornhuskers, but Nebraska’s talent has yet to produce wins. That won’t change Saturday at Ryan Field. Adrian Martinez will generate a couple big plays with his feet and his arm, but the fundamentally sound ‘Cats will slowly and methodically beat down the Cornhuskers.

Avery Zimmerman: Northwestern 35, Nebraska 24

Adrian Martinez poses serious problems for the Northwestern defense. Nebraska’s record doesn’t show it, but it is a team that has the talent to compete with Northwestern on all fronts. On the other hand, this year’s NU squad showed what they’re capable of against MSU. With a purely one-dimensional attack, they were able to move the ball down the field with ease at times. Take advantage of Nebraska’s shoddy run defense, and the offense could be in for a big day. Frost’s team keeps it close, but Northwestern has the game in hand the whole way.

Lukas Stachtiaris: Northwestern 31, Nebraska 20

Last week, I said that I was going to have trouble choosing Northwestern until they proved that they could score in the second half. Well, they put up 15 in the second half against Michigan State and knocked them out of the Top 25. While I’m still not confident that the Wildcats will muster a record better than 6-6, I think that Northwestern can carry last weeks momentum into this week’s matchup against a struggling Nebraska team. Scott Frost stays winless as Clayton Thorson throws for 350+ yards just like last week.

Matthew Albert: Northwestern 35, Nebraska 14

Wildcats continue to dominate, Clayton Thorson puts up a performance similar to his against Michigan State. I understand that Nebraska is more talented than their 0-5 record but with a new coach comes a new scheme, and the Huskers have struggled to adapt to it so far so I don’t see why it changes here. Beyond that, the Northwestern defense is talented, they held both Michigan and Michigan State to 39 points between the two of them, and while Martinez is talented, the Wildcats have played better quarterbacks. Northwestern once again jumps off to a hot start jolted by the homecoming crowd, yet their bend and not break strategy involves a little less bend this week.

Lia Assimakopoulos: Northwestern 31, Nebraska 17

Unfortunately for the Cornhuskers, I see them falling to 0-6 after this weekend. Northwestern has the momentum coming off a huge win while the Cornhuskers have struggled to find any signs of life early on in the Scott Frost era. With that being said, Adrian Martinez will make a couple big plays to keep the game close, but Thorson will have big performance like last week and pull out another much-needed Big Ten win for the Wildcats, who soon head into the toughest stretch of the season.

Davis Rich: Northwestern 21, Nebraska 16

Nebraska isn’t as bad as its 0-5 record indicates, and quarterback Adrian Martinez as well as running back Devine Ozigbo could give Northwestern problems. After a huge win last weekend, I see NU starting the game a bit slowly, before the Wildcats are able to establish the run and take advantage of Nebraska’s mistakes. Don’t expect a blowout at Ryan Field.

Brett Haensel: Northwestern 17, Nebraska 21

Northwestern is unable to keep the momentum going following the Michigan State win, and the Wildcats’ offense comes back down to Earth in what feels like a trap game. Adrian Martinez plays his best game yet for the winless Cornhuskers, and Nebraska puts an end to Northwestern’s already semi-dead season. Unless Thorson is as deadly throwing dimes to his receivers with one-on-one coverage on the outside as he was last week, I see the offense sputtering with no real ground game to rely on and no true threat to make big plays in open space. Northwestern takes a lead into the half, but the Wildcats blow it in the second in a way seemingly only they know how to do.

Noah Coffman: Northwestern 35, Nebraska 34

Nebraska, especially their offense, is better than their record indicates, and Northwestern has struggled generally (and specifically against this Cornhusker team recently) as home favorites. I expect this game to be within a score. And with no Greg Newsome or Nate Hall, the Wildcats are liable to get torched by Martinez.

But just enough pressure and stellar run defense out of the front four should give the Wildcats enough stops to buoy Clayton Thorson and a resurgent passing game. If Mick McCall sticks with the wrinkles he pulled out against MSU (big if) and Tommy Doles continues to anchor a solid when at full-strength offensive line, Northwestern will put up enough points to win this one.