Nebraska and Northwestern meet on Saturday for the eighth time since the Huskers joined the Big Ten in 2011. The two have met a total of 11 times in program history.
Nebraska currently holds a 4-3 record over Northwestern since 2011. The Huskers are also undefeated at Ryan Field since joining the Big Ten. Five of the seven meetings since 2011 have also been decided by three or fewer points, or in overtime.
The Huskers and Wildcats last met on Nov. 4, 2017. Nebraska dropped that meeting 31-24 at home.
Nebraska-Northwestern football TV channel, time, live stream
TV channel: ABC (Mark Jones, Dusty Dvoracek, Molly McGrath)
Time: 11 a.m. CT
Date: Saturday, Oct. 13
Live stream: WatchESPN
Radio: Huskers fans can listen to the Nebraska vs. Northwestern game on IMG Husker Sports Network, as well as on Sirius Channel 94 and XM 383. Internet radio will be available at Huskers.com.
Location: Ryan Field, Evanston, Illinois
Weather: Sunny skies. High of 53 degrees. Winds SW at 10 to 15 mph.
Nebraska-Northwestern football picks, odds
The line: Nebraska +3, per OddsShark
Nebraska is on the road for the second time in two weeks. The Huskers come into the matchup looking for their first victory of 2018. Nebraska currently sits at 0-5 on the season after dropping its matchup with No. 16 Wisconsin last Saturday, 41-24.
Despite the losing record, Nebraska has shown signs of progress this season. For example, the Huskers are currently averaging 432.2 yards of total offense per game. That ranks fifth in the Big Ten.
The Huskers also have consecutive 500-yard games against Purdue and Wisconsin. It's the first time Nebraska has had back-to-back 500-yard games in Big Ten games. The last time the Huskers accomplished that feat in conference play was as members of the Big 12 in 2007.
As for Northwestern, the Wildcats had 8 yards rushing on 20 carries last week. They had 34 carries for 28 yards the week previous.
And the season numbers look pretty rough, too. They rank 120th in the country in opportunity rate, 123rd in marginal rushing efficiency and 129th in stuff rate.
So, as is the case when a team can't really run the ball, they've completely turned away from the run.
Northwestern throws it on standard downs more than all but three teams in the country and throws it on passing downs more than all but 20. Which, as I'll point out later in this piece, is a total departure from a season ago. Northwestern has put the ball in Clayton Thorson's hands and is off to a second consecutive 2-3 start.
Thorson hasn't really been terrible, either, he just hasn't been great. He's got six touchdowns, five picks and a 62.1 percent completion rate. Northwestern has been very average in terms of efficiency and protecting Thorson (weird because they can't run block) but the passing game is one of the least explosive in the country this season.
So you have no threat of a run game, you're not effective trying to chew up yards at a time and you're not elite at just grinding out yards. That all adds up to the 12th-worst scoring offense in the Big Ten. NU ranks only one spot ahead of the real NU. Saturday should be an electric morning.
The defense hasn't been good enough so far to make up for a lackluster offense. Northwestern's unit ranks 10th in the Big Ten in yards given up, 11th against the pass, seventh against the run and eighth in scoring.
For a full look at Northwestern, visit Derek Peterson's opponent preview on the Wildcats.