Nebraska (1-1) is back home after a 34-31 overtime loss to Colorado on the road. The Huskers are looking to get back on track with a win over Northern Illinois (1-1) under the lights of Memorial Stadium.
Nebraska currently leads the series, 2-1. Saturday’s matchup is the second in a four-game series between the Huskers and Huskies. The last meeting was in 2017, and there are two additional visits scheduled between the two in Lincoln for 2021 and 2023.
Nebraska-Northern Illinois football TV channel, time, live stream
TV channel: FS1 (Justin Kutcher, Petros Papadakis, Shane Vereen)
Time: 7 p.m. CT
Date: Saturday, September 14
Live stream: Fox Sports Go
Radio: Nebraska fans can listen to the game on IMG Husker Sports Network, as well as on Sirius Channel 83 and XM 83. Internet radio will be available at Huskers.com.
Location: Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, Nebraska
Weather: Isolated thunderstorms during the evening, becoming clear overnight. Low 67 degrees. Winds SSW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 30%.
Nebraska-Northern Illinois football picks, odds
The line: Nebraska -14
(per the VI Consensus)
Nebraska-Northern Illinois preview
Well, the last time Nebraska and Northern Illinois met was . . . interesting? The Huskers were stunned in a 21-17 loss to the Huskies in 2017 that ultimately kicked off the beginning of the end for former coach Mike Riley and his staff. Nebraska finished that season 4-8 before firing Riley and hiring current coach Scott Frost.
Things are different two years later. Nebraska still has to overcome some growing pains—as shown in the loss to Colorado—but Frost believes he has his team on the upwards trajectory. A win, especially one by the margin that the betting line has given it, would be a welcome sight for Nebraska fans.
But it’s not a given win for the Huskers. Northern Illinois Ross Bowers can throw the ball well, going 20-of-29 for 220 yards, one touchdown and one interception in the Huskies’ loss to Utah. Nebraska’s current national pass defense ranking is 114th. Utah’s is 69th. The Blackshirts will have to keep Bowers from putting the ball in the air in order to keep things comfortable.
From there, the Huskers’ offense needs to play like it did in the first half against Colorado and not like they did in the third quarter. Frost has said he needs his team to play a complete game, and Saturday could be the day for it all to click. NIU linebackers Antonio Jones-Davis and Kyle Pugh could give Nebraska some grief on offense, but likely not enough to be too big of an issue. Unless the offense allows it to be too big of an issue, of course.
Nebraska shouldn’t lose to Northern Illinois. That doesn’t mean the Huskies won’t put up a fight. It just depends on how the Huskers respond along the way.