Northwestern Wildcats vs Nebraska Cornhuskers Game Preview and Prediction - 10/02/2021

by Amedeus Mastrangelo

Game Time: 7:30 pm ET, Saturday, October 2, 2021
Venue:  Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, NE
Where to Watch:  Big Ten Network


Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks

DraftKings:  Point Spread:  Northwestern +10, Nebraska -10; Over/Under:  50.5 points
Bet365:  Point Spread:  Northwestern +10, Nebraska -10; Over/Under:  50.5 points
BetMGM:  Point Spread:  Northwestern +9.5, Nebraska -9.5; Over/Under:  50 points

Season Record

Northwestern Wildcats:  2-2 (5th place, Big Ten West)
Nebraska Cornhuskers:  2-3 (7th place, Big Ten West)
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Northwestern Wildcats vs Nebraska Cornhuskers Preview and Analysis

Recent Form
Northwestern Wildcats:  won at home on Sep. 25 against the Ohio Bobcats 35-6.
Nebraska Cornhuskers:  lost on the road in overtime on Sep. 25 against the Michigan State Spartans 23-20.

Northwestern Wildcats Analysis

Northwestern is coming into this game with a 2-2 record overall and they are 0-1 in their road games this season where they will be in this game. This will be their 2nd conference matchup of the season and they are already 0-1 in their conference games this year. That 1 conference loss came against the Michigan State Spartan in their season-opener while their other loss came against the Duke Blue Devils. Their 2 wins came against the Indiana State Sycamores and the Ohio Bobcats in their last game. Ryan Hilinski did not do much at the quarterback position in this game as he completed 12/20 passes for 88 yards, zero touchdowns, and zero interceptions. Evan Hull went off for them in the running game as he led the team with 216 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns himself on 22 carries. Even Andrew Clair rushed for 71 yards on 8 carries. It was a very quiet day for the receiving corps as Stephon Robinson Jr. led the team in receiving with 44 yards on 4 receptions. Chris Bergin had a big day for this defense as he led them with 11 solo tackles and 3 assisted ones. Brandon Joseph had the only interception for them in this game while multiple players had recorded a sack. They have scored 103 points in their first 4 games and they have allowed their opponents to score 80 points against them. Their offense is averaging 388.3 YPG while their defense is allowing 400.3 YPG.

Nebraska Cornhuskers Analysis

Nebraska is coming into this game with a 2-3 record overall and they are 2-0 in their home games this season where they will be in this game. This will be their 3rd conference matchup on their schedule and they have already fallen behind big as they are 0-2 in conference games this season. Their 2 home wins came against the Buffalo Bulls and the Fordham Rams while their 1 non-conference loss came against the Oklahoma Sooners. Their 2 conference losses came against the Illinois Fighting Illini in their season-opener and the Michigan State Spartans in their last game. Adrian Martinez played well in that game as they fell short in overtime but he still completed 24/34 passes for 248 yards and 1 interception. Rahmir Johnson led the team in rushing with 76 yards on 19 carries while Martinez had 59 rushing yards on 19 carries himself and 2 touchdowns on the ground. Zavier Betts led the receivers with 62 yards on 5 receptions but there was no one player that stood out for the receiving corps. Luke Reimer led the defense with 6 solo tackles and 5 assisted ones while also recording 0.5 sacks in that game. Nick Henrich had the other 0.5 sack while Garrett Nelson and Deontre Thomas both recorded 1 each themselves. Marquel Dismuke came away with the only interception for his team in that one. They have scored 138 points in their first 5 games and they have allowed their opponents to score 86 points against them. Their offense is averaging 473 YPG while their defense is allowing 328 YPG.


Northwestern vs Nebraska Prediction

Nebraska has held both of their opponents to less than 10 points in each of their home games this season. This should be a tight defensive battle as this conference game is so important to both sides, especially Nebraska who are already 0-2. They are also coming off of a game that only had 43 points, a conference game in which they lost by 3 points in a very close one as it went to OT. Northwestern is not a high scoring team as they have only scored more than 30 points in one of their games this year. Both teams will struggle to move the ball quickly here so the best bet for this game is on the under for the point total as it will be a lower scoring game.
Northwestern Nebraska Prediction:  Our NCAAF Pick for Saturday, October 2, 2021 (7:30 pm ET start time) is Nebraska 20 Northwestern 17.
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NCAAF Betting Trends

Northwestern Wildcats: 120-92 ATS as an underdog. 89-60 ATS in road games.
Nebraska Cornhuskers: 20-27 ATS off 2 or more consecutive unders. 69-86 ATS after outgaining opp by 125 or more total yards in their previous game.

Key Injuries

Northwestern Wildcats:  B. Holman (WR) day-to-day - Head injury. J. Jefferson (WR) day-to-day - Undisclosed injury. A. Marty (QB) day-to-day - Upper Body injury.
Nebraska Cornhuskers:  C. Rogers (DL) Out indefinitely - Undisclosed injury. O. Martin (WR) day-to-day - Undisclosed injury. J. Wright (S) out for season - Illness.

Players to Watch

Northwestern Wildcats: Evan Hull is one player to watch in this game. He leads his team in rushing yards and in touchdowns. He is coming off of a massive game where he rushed for over 200 yards himself. Look for him to keep up his great play and have another big day on the ground here.
Nebraska Cornhuskers: Adrian Martinez is one player to watch on this squad. He leads his team in passing, rushing, and in touchdowns. He is the quarterback and the leader on this team and he will have to step up in this game to get his team a big conference win here.

Notable Quotes

"We started the way we wanted to. Evan was outstanding playing behind our offensive line. We were very physical." - Pat Fitzgerald after their win at home to Ohio.
"We have guys at the university specifically for the reason to punt it. And we had a couple of 10-yard punts that almost cost us, and right when we needed it the most we kicked it to the wrong side of the field. Some of the coverage guys didn't see it and it cost us the game." Scott Frost on the punting performance by his team in their loss to MSU.

Starting Lineups

Northwestern Wildcats
WR Washington, Malik 
WR Kirtz, Bryce 
WR Robinson Jr., Stephon 
TE Mangieri, Charlie 
QB Johnson, Hunter 
RB Hull, Evan 
Nebraska Cornhuskers
WR Toure, Samori 
WR Martin, Oliver 
WR Liewer, Wyatt 
TE Allen, Austin 
QB Martinez, Adrian 
RB Stepp, Markese  

Statistical Leaders

Northwestern Wildcats
Passing: H. Johnson (424)
Rushing: E. Hull (478)
Receiving: S. Robinson Jr. (193)
Touchdowns: E. Hull (4)
Sacks: A. Adebawore (2.5)
Tackles: C. Bergin (33)
Nebraska Cornhuskers
Passing: A. Martinez (1265)
Rushing: A. Martinez (349)
Receiving: S. Toure (373)
Touchdowns: A. Martinez (6)
Sacks: P. Payne (2)
Tackles: L. Reimer (23)
Northwestern Wildcats: Pat Fitzgerald (16th season)
Nebraska Cornhuskers: Scott Frost (4th season)

Weather Forecast

69 degrees F scattered showers, 74% humidity, 30% chance of rain, up to 8 mph wind speeds NE.

Amedeus Mastrangelo

About the Author:

Amedeus Mastrangelo has been heavily wagering on all sports for years and plays just about everything, including sides, totals, favorites, underdogs, against the spread, alternative spreads, first half, second half, player props, and futures. The bottom line is, if Mastrangelo can see an edge in any way shape or form, then he's going to take advantage.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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