Nebraska vs. Wisconsin prediction roundtable with the Campus Insiders staff. Breaking down what will happen in Saturday’s battle between the Cornhuskers and Badgers.
Every week Wisconsin has been missing a key defender, and every week its defense has stepped up. It won’t be any different this week following the loss of leading tackler Jack Cichy. The biggest question is whether the Badgers’ two-quarterback system will work. Coach Paul Chryst confirmed both Bart Houston and Alex Hornibrook will get snaps. Corey Clement will see the majority of the work anyway, though, and the Badgers pull within a game of the Big Ten West-leading Huskers with two-touchdown victory.
Listening to Paul Chryst discuss his quarterback situation, you’d think that the Badgers were sub-.500 instead of (possibly) the nation’s best two-loss team. This is the first test Nebraska has faced all season, one it won’t pass. Badgers win on the backs of Corey Clement, a smothering defense and a two-quarterback system that probably keeps Chryst up most nights.
I like tommy Armstrong’s dual-threat ability. I think he’ll do most of the damage offensively for Nebraska, but he’s not going to get a ton of help from the rest of the Cornhuskers. Wisconsin’s defense – even though it’s banged up – will come up big. Corey Clement will find his way into the end zone twice, and he’ll lead the Badgers to a win in a nailbiter.
Cornhuskers quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. will face his stiffest test of the season. While the Badgers continue to get battered on defense, they are still putting forth strong efforts week in and week out. Armstrong can make plays with his arm and legs, but he’ll have to continue his strong play in a tough road environment. Vince Biegel and Co. will make enough stops, while Badgers signal-caller Alex Hornibrook makes enough clutch passes under pressure. Paul Chryst’s team wins by a field goal, handing Mike Riley’s squad its first loss of the year.
This year’s Big Ten West doesn’t feel like a division that’ll produce a runaway winner. Tommy Armstrong is still the conference’s best quarterback (sorry J.T. Barrett), but Wisconsin once again has a healthy Corey Clement and a defense with the right kind of nasty to slow down the Cornhuskers’ senior signal-caller. Clement will go over the century mark for the third week in a row, T.J. Watt will come up with a pair of big sacks, and Wisconsin will get over the hump against a ranked team to make put themselves in position to get Indianapolis.
I’m not usually a fan of teams/media/fans trying to create rivalries that aren’t there (hi, Bob Diaco), but this one, given a few more years and with no changing of divisions, could become a real rivalry. Wisconsin’s defense has proven itself to be legit, but losing leading tackler Jack Cichy is a big loss. The Huskers will keep it close, but Wisconsin will pull out a close low-scoring win and make the Big Ten West a race again.