Nebraska vs. Wisconsin prediction and game preview. The Cornhuskers face the Badgers in a crucial Big Ten West matchup in Madison.
Nebraska vs. Wisconsin Game Preview
When: Saturday, Oct. 29 – 7 p.m. ET
Where: Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, Wisc.
TV Broadcast: ESPN
Saturday night marks the first time in Wisconsin’s history that it’ll be facing its fifth top-10 opponent in a single season. The Badgers have gone 2-2 in such matchups heading into this one, which is crucial if they want to have any hope of winning the Big Ten West and playing in the conference title game.
Nebraska has a two-game lead over Wisconsin atop the division and sits at 7-0 for the first time since 2001 – the last time it played for the national championship. The No. 7 Cornhuskers haven’t been all that impressive, though, and have squeaked out wins against opponents that have made things a bit too close for comfort. That’s part of the reason they’ll head into this one as underdogs by more than a touchdown.
What To Know About Nebraska
Nebraska’s signature victory of the season doesn’t look so good now. It beat then-No. 22 Oregon, 35-32, at home Sept. 17 as the Ducks attempted a two-point conversion on each of their touchdowns and failed more often than not. Oregon now is 2-5 overall.
The Huskers also had their struggles against Northwestern, Illinois and Indiana prior to this past week’s 27-14 victory over Purdue, which led at halftime before Nebraska scored 17 unanswered points to end the game.
On the positive side, though, Nebraska has survived despite multiple injuries. The offensive line is banged up, and Jordan Westerkamp and Cethan Carter continue to battle ailments. Coach Mike Riley will have to find his best lineup as the week goes on depending on how progresses with their health.
What To Know About Wisconsin
The Badgers have an uphill climb to win the Big Ten West, but it’s certainly not out of the question. A victory Saturday plus another Nebraska defeat – possibly next week at Ohio State? – would give it the tiebreaker over its toughest competition. Wisconsin earned that over Iowa with last week’s 17-9 victory in Iowa City and still has Northwestern and Minnesota on the schedule to take the driver’s seat over them as well.
But can the Badgers really continue winning using two quarterbacks? That appears to be coach Paul Chryst’s plan moving forward. Bart Houston played two series against Iowa, finishing his first drive with a touchdown pass and guiding another that stalled following a first down in his first action since Sept. 17, when Alex Hornibrook relieved him against Georgia State. Hornibrook finished 11 of 19 for 197 yards. There’s no word on who Chryst will start against Nebraska, but it seems pretty clear both will play at some point.
Offense: Nebraska – Tommy Armstrong leads a unit averaging 6.13 yards per play, third in the Big Ten behind Ohio State and Michigan.
Defense: Wisconsin – The Badgers rank ninth in the nation in total defense giving up 300.6 yards per game.
Special Teams: Even – Nebraska has dangerous return threats, but Wisconsin has some of the best kick coverage in the Big Ten.
Coaching: Even – Chryst and Riley have these programs heading in the right direction and in better situations than some thought they’d be.
Intangibles: Wisconsin – The Badgers have won the last three meetings, including last year’s 23-21 victory on a field goal with four seconds remaining.
Matchup To Watch
Wisconsin’s QBs vs. Nebraska’s defense
If Chryst sticks to his plan of using both Hornibrook and Houston, it’ll be interesting to see which situations each enter. Teams are passing an average of 34.7 times against Nebraska, third-most in the Big Ten. Wisconsin is attempting roughly seven fewer throws, and Corey Clement will see his share of carries.
Spread: Wisconsin -7.5
Over/Under: No line as of post
Nebraska vs. Wisconsin Prediction
Get ready for another Big Ten defensive slog. The Huskers will try surprise Wisconsin with some big plays, but the Badgers will be ready. Houston and Hornibrook each throw a touchdown pass as they help deal Nebraska its first defeat.
Nebraska vs. Wisconsin final score prediction: Wisconsin 20, Nebraska 10