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Nebraska football vs. Northern Illinois: Odds, how to watch, and a prediction

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Sep 9, 2023; Boulder, Colorado, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers mascot looks on in the second quarter against the Colorado Buffaloes at Folsom Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Northern Illinois is next up for Nebraska football on Saturday night and here’s the odds, how to watch, and a prediction.

It’s that time of week when Nebraska football fans start to regain their optimism. Last week was brutal, there’s no doubt about that, but Saturday is the home opener and it’s time for a win.

Standing in the way will be Northern Illinois. The Huskies are 1-1 this season with a road win over Boston College, as well as a home loss to FCS foe Southern Illinois.

Former Michigan State quarterback Rocky Lombardi, who started a game for the Spartans at Lincoln Memorial Stadium in 2018, returns for the Huskies in 2023. He’s got one touchdown and three interceptions so far this season and last week, NIU scored 11 points in a 14-11 loss.

Northern Illinois is throwing for 234 yards per game but is 98th in scoring. The run game has been terrible with an average of just 2.8 yards per attempt, while the defense is allowing 4.1.

All in all, this should be a pretty good matchup for Nebraska football. However, Jeff Sims is hurt and his status is up in the air. Matt Rhule needs a win desperately this week and here’s a look at the odds, how to watch, and a prediciton for Nebraska vs. Northern Illinois.

Nebraska vs. Northern Illinois odds

According to DraftKings, Nebraska football is a 10.5-point favorite against Northern Illinois. The over/under is 45.5, while the money line is -425 for the Huskers and +330 for NIU.

Nebraska vs. Northern Illinois How to watch

Date: Sept. 16
Game Time: 7:00 PM EST
Venue: Memorial Stadium
How to Watch: Fox Sports 1 | Fox Sports App| Fubo TV
Listen: Huskers.com

Nebraska football vs. Northern Illinois prediction

The Huskers haven’t looked great through two weeks. But there have been glimpses. The defensive front has been dominant and Nebraska is tied for the college football lead in sacks (11).

Nebraska had eight sacks last weekend. Two of those were from freshman EDGE Cameron Lenhardt. His development is very promising. The pass rush was a concern entering the season, but that has been washed away after two games.

Beyond that, NIU averages just 2.8 per game on the ground. Nebraska is allowing just 1.9 yards per rush and that was against Minnesota and Colorado. NIU shouldn’t be able to run, which should put the game on the shoulders of Rocky Lombardi, which is exactly what the Huskers want.

The Huskies have also struggled to stop the run. Nebraska is going to pound the rock. I’m not sure if Sims will start, but even if he doesn’t, I see the Huskers running for 300 yards. There will be lots of QB runs for Sims or Henrich Haarberg and this team will be determined.

Nebraska’s defense will add a few to its sack total and the Huskers will notch two interceptions in a win.

Nebraska 27, Northern Illinois 10

(Season Record: 1-1; Against the spread: 1-1)

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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

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