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5 predictions for Nebraska football vs. Northwestern



Nebraska football
Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

The Huskers are coming off a bye week and here are five predictions for Nebraska football vs. Northwestern.

Northwestern might not be viewed as a big test, but it is for Nebraska football, especially if the Huskers want to get to a bowl game.

The Wildcats are also 3-3. Both teams are 1-2 in the Big Ten and just one game back of Iowa in the Big Ten West Division, which is wide open.

Nebraska football is a 12-point favorite this week according to DraftKings and here are five predictions for the Huskers who are looking to improve to 4-3 against Northwestern.

Nebraska football will run for 200 yards

To be honest, I think the Huskers could have a shot to hit 300 rushing yards. Northwestern allows 174 yards per game and ranks last in the Big Ten in rushing yards allowed.

Only Penn State averages more rushing yards in the Big Ten than Nebraska. The Huskers are right at 200 per game and that’s a number I think this team needs to hit to win this game.

Nebraska won’t ever be confused for a high-powered offense with Heinrich Haarberg at quarterback. But that doesn’t mean the Huskers can’t score points and win games. It’s just going to be old-school and I don’t see Northwestern being able to stop the Nebraska rushing attack.

Haarberg has a 100-yard game

I have felt all week that either Heinrich Haarberg or Anthony Grant would run for 100 yards in this game. However, I feel like Haarberg will break a long run this week which will put him over the top.

Haarberg has had a run of at least 16 yards in each of his four starts, which includes the Michigan game. I’m confident he’ll be able to break off an explosive run against Northwestern.

The Kearney kid might get a couple but overall, I see him running the ball around 12-15 times for 100 or so yards for Nebraska football on Saturday.

Thomas Fidone catches a touchdown

There’s no doubt that Haarberg and Fidone had a strong connection. They used to be roommates. The play-action passing game also tends to open up the middle of the field for tight ends when you run the ball well.

Fidone has started to find the form that made him a top-100 recruit and he’s had a reception of 20 yards or more in three of the four games started by Haarberg.

Northwestern’s pass defense is statistically better than the run defense but sometimes stats can be deceiving. The Wildcats rank 10th in the Big Ten in yards allowed per passing attempt at 7.0. They are also 13th in the Big Ten in completion percentage allowed, in addition to ranking last in sacks. But they are fifth in passing yards allowed.

The running game should get going, and Haarberg should be able to connect with Fidone a few times on Saturday.

Malachi Coleman makes an explosive play

I expect Malaci Coleman to make a lot of explosive plays during his Nebraska football career but Saturday feels like the perfect time for the first.

Coleman is starting this week, according to the depth chart, and Matt Rhule talked about how well the young receivers have played in practice recently.

It sounds like Coleman and others like Jaidyn Doss could be ready to make an impact. Coleman caught a pass against Illinois and was open down the field if Haarberg hadn’t just missed him. He also had a key block.

This week, I’m predicting the Haarberg and Coleman connect on an explosive play, hoping that maybe I’ll sort of speak it into existence.

The Blackshirts get at least three sacks

Northwestern is good at not turning the ball over. We don’t know if Ben Bryant will be the starting quarterback but after a bye week, it seems like there is a decent chance.

Whether it’s him or Brandon Sullivan, getting takeaways won’t be easy. Yet, the Northwestern offensive line has struggled to protect and is 13th in the conference in sacks allowed (22). That’s nearly four per game and Nebraska is probably the second-best pass rush the Wildcats have faced outside of Penn State.

Cameron Lenhardt is probably healthier than he’s been since the start of the season and getting him going again would be huge. Princewill Umanmielen is a guy I’m watching at the Jack position and throughout the game, I expect Northwestern quarterbacks to face a lot of pressure from the Blackshirts.

Score Prediction: Nebraska vs. Northwestern

It won’t be as lopsided as the 2021 season, but Nebraska football is just better and more physical. The Huskers will control the line of scrimmage and dominate the rushing-yardage battle which will be the difference in the game.

Prediction: Nebraska 31, Northwestern 10

Record: Straight up (6-0), ATS (3-3)

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Chris has worked in sports journalism since 2005 writing for multiple newspapers and websites such as the Bleacher Report and Fansided before starting Husker Big Red, A fan site for hardcore followers of the #Huskers offering articles, podcasts, videos and more exclusive content on all things Nebraska