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Papuchis ASU

Huskers hoping to match Wildcats’ smarts

Defensive coordinator John Papuchis was asked what it is about Northwestern’s offense that makes them unique. His answer was fitting given the overall reputation of Northwestern University.

“They’re smart in how they attack you,” he said. “They understand how you’re getting your run fits. They’re good at putting a plan together for each opponent.”

The Wildcats currently rank fourth in the Big Ten and 18th nationally in rushing offense at 228.43 yards per game. In their 28-25 win in Lincoln later year, Northwestern came in with a solid plan and rushed for 207 yards and three touchdowns. Papuchis is looking to avoid a repeat of that game on Saturday.

“They had a decent idea of how we insert and where we got our run fit from against spread looks,” he said of last year’s game. “We’ve got to be smart in how we attack what they do.”

Northwestern has used two quarterbacks this season with Kain Colter doing most his damage on the ground and Trevor Siemian carrying most of the passing load.

“In the first five games that they played, there was almost no difference in what they ran,” he said. “They both ran the whole offense.

“This past week (at Minnesota) was a little bit different. They went more to the rotation on third down…We’re preparing for both guys to play.”

Papuchis said Nebraska will have some scheme and personnel changes depending on who is in at quarterback but he wasn’t ready to divulge what that would look like. No matter who is taking the snaps or who is on the field for the Huskers, the emphasis for Nebraska will be on stopping the run. Nebraska currently ranks 10th in the Big Ten in rush defense but Papuchis said he’s seen a motivated unit over the past week and a half.

“There’s a lot left for us this back half of the year,” Papuchis said. “At the end of the day, we still control our own destiny to get to Indianapolis and we control our destiny to get to the Rose Bowl. Our guys are chomping at the bit to get back out there on Saturday.”