It’s Champions Week in the Big Ten, and Nebraska is set to face Rutgers on Friday at SHI Stadium in Piscataway, New Jersey.
Nebraska comes into the matchup with a 2-5 record following a 24-17 loss to Minnesota. Rutgers is 3-5 on the season, which includes a 27-24 overtime victory at Maryland this past Saturday.
This is the first meeting between the two programs since 2017. It’s also Nebraska’s first trip to Piscataway since 2015. The Huskers currently hold a 4-0 edge in the all-time series, including a 3-0 record since the Scarlet Knights joined the Big Ten Conference in 2014.
Nebraska-Rutgers football TV channel, time, live stream
TV channel: Big Ten Network
Time: 6:30 p.m. CT
Date: Friday, December 18
Live stream: Fox Sports app with cable or dish log in
Radio: Nebraska fans can listen to the game on IMG Husker Sports Network, as well as on XM 382. Internet radio will be available at Huskers.com.
Location: SHI Stadium, Piscataway, New Jersey
Weather: With a fresh pile of snow on the ground from a nor’easter, temperatures are going to struggle to warm up for the Husker game on Friday. The game itself is going to be quiet but it’s going to be cold.
Full forecast and updates brought to you by Rusty Dawkins of Husker Weather. More here.
Nebraska-Rutgers football picks, odds
The line: Nebraska -6.5
(per the VI Consensus)
Well, well, well . . . It’s Champions Week in the Big Ten.
Only four games remain for Champions Week. That includes Ohio State and Northwestern for the Big Ten Championship Game, Minnesota at Wisconsin, Illinois at Penn State and, of course, Nebraska at Rutgers. Three other matchups—Indiana-Purdue, Michigan-Iowa and Michigan State-Maryland—have all been canceled due to COVID-19 concerns within a number of programs. In fact, the meeting between Indiana and Purdue was originally scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CT on Friday. With its canceling, the Huskers and Scarlet Knights moved into the spot on the Big Ten Network.
So, here we are.
There are a lot of unknowns with this game. Rutgers isn’t ruling out quarterback Noah Vedral just yet, but it seems unlikely he’ll play on Friday. It’s too bad if so, considering Vedral is a former Nebraska quarterback and the Huskers were looking forward to seeing him on the field.
And then there’s the weather, which looks pretty cold by kickoff. The snowstorm impacting the East Coast will have moved out of the area by game time, but the potential for single-digit temperatures?
“I don’t think I’ve ever coached in single digits,’’ Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said earlier in the week. “I may have.’’
Either way, it looks cold and that’ll likely be some factor in the game.
That’s not all though. Nebraska will be playing with a pretty young offensive line after senior Brenden Jaimes opted out of the game. Freshman Turner Corcoran will take his spot against Rutgers.
With so much uncertainty, what’s something you can look for that seems fairly certain? Keep an eye on the turnovers. The Scarlet Knights currently sit at plus-two on the season, while the Huskers sit at minus-eight. This matters because Nebraska is 1-13 under Coach Scott Frost when losing the turnover battle. If the Huskers start turning the ball over early and often? It could be a long night in New Jersey.
With all of that said, could this be it for Nebraska either way? Probably, but Frost is open to the possibility of a bowl game if presented the opportunity. For now, the focus is on Rutgers and whatever is to come for the Huskers in Champions Week.
For more on the matchup, don’t miss the latest I-80 Preview Podcast.