The Nebraska Cornhuskers will get back on the field this Saturday when they travel to Evanston, Ill., to take on the Northwestern Wildcats in a Big Ten West contest. Game time at Northwestern’s Ryan Field is set for 11 a.m. CT with the game broadcast on KBBN 95.3 FM. Pregame coverage begins at 9 a.m. courtesy of the Huskers Sports Network.
Nebraska is coming off an unexpected off week following the cancellation of last week’s matchup with Wisconsin last Wednesday. The Huskers opened the season with a 52-17 loss at No. 5 Ohio State on Oct. 24, a game in which Nebraska was tied at 14-14 in the second quarter.
Northwestern enters the game with a 2-0 record following a 21-20 victory at Iowa on Saturday. The Wildcats fell behind 17-0 in the first quarter, but rallied to close the deficit to 20-14 at halftime, and scored a go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter for the only points of the second half.
Coach Pat Fitzgerald’s team has played stout defense through two games, allowing just 23 total points and 250.0 yards per game in wins over Iowa and Maryland. The Wildcats have been particularly strong against the run, allowing just 70.5 yards rushing per game. Northwestern has also forced seven turnovers in two games. Offensively, Northwestern has run the ball effectively, averaging 234.0 yards per game.
Nebraska and Northwestern have a history of closely contested games in the series. Overall, since joining the Big Ten Nebraska has won five of nine matchups with Northwestern, including a 3-1 record at Ryan Field.
Nebraska leads the all-time series with Northwestern 8-5, including a 5-4 edge since the Huskers joined the Big Ten Conference in 2011.
• Nebraska has won three of the five all-time meetings in Evanston. Of the nine conference meetings between the Huskers and Wildcats, the only two games decided by more than seven points were a 38-17 Husker victory in Evanston in 2014 and a 24-13 Nebraska win at Ryan Field in 2016.
• The series with Northwestern has featured several record-setting performances for Nebraska. In a 66-17 win at the 2000 Alamo Bowl, the Huskers set a school record for the most points in a bowl game, while Dan Alexander’s 240 yards rushing were a Nebraska bowl record. In 2012, Nebraska rallied from a 12-point fourth-quarter deficit to win 29-28, tying for the largest fourth-quarter comeback in program history. The next season, Nebraska won on the first game-winning Hail Mary pass in school history.
• Nebraska has had only three walk-off wins in the history of Memorial Stadium, and two have come against Northwestern (Hail Mary in 2013 and game-winning field goal in 2019).
• Scott Frost is 1-1 in his career against Northwestern and Wildcat head coach Pat Fitzgerald.
Close Contests Highlight Husker-Wildcat Series
Since Nebraska and Northwestern became conference foes in 2011, the one constant has been close games between the two schools. In nine meetings between the two programs as Big Ten Conference foes, Nebraska has outscored Northwestern 239-215, with an average score of 27-24.
• Seven of the nine meetings between the teams as conference foes have been decided by a touchdown or less, including six by three or fewer points. Three of Nebraska’s five Big Ten victories over Northwestern have come by three points or less. All four of the Wildcats’ wins have come by a touchdown or less, including three wins decided by three or fewer points and two overtime wins.
• The matchups have been especially close the past three seasons, when each game was either decided on the final play of regulation or in overtime. The combined score of the past five meetings is 120-118 in favor of Nebraska, although Northwestern has won three of those five contests.