When the Big Ten switched to the East and West format, it looked as if the West would come down to the Nebraska–Wisconsin game every year (with Iowa sprinkled in as well). If only that could be the case this year.
Scott Frost and his Huskers head into Camp Randall at 0-4, the worst start in school history. The team as a whole has also lost eight straight games, another school record no one wanted to break. Can anything good come of this weekend?
How did Nebraska look last weekend?
Coach Frost said it best in his post-game press conference.
“We honestly look like one of the most undisciplined teams in the country,” Frost said, while seemingly on the verge of tears.
He isn’t wrong. Nebraska is tied for the top when it comes to penalty yards per game and just barely second in penalties a game. That’s the lack of discipline Frost is talking about. Sure, some of the calls are bad officiating (I’m looking at you Stanley Morgan, Jr. holding call). But a block in the back on a big return, a hold on an interception and an, albeit controversial, roughing the quarterback on third-and-20.
Any bright sides from Purdue? Sure. Adrian Martinez went for over 400 total yards and two scores, while backfield-mate Devine Ozigbo got 17 carries for 170 yards and two touchdowns. One turnover as a team also is a good sign. However, the offense was a combined 4-for-15 on third and fourth-down conversions, but, you know, baby steps.
Defensively, having just one sack won’t help in winning any games. Mohamed Barry and his 11 tackles or DiCaprio Bootle’s three pass deflections are both nice, but individual effort’s do not a defense make. Unless you’re Khalil Mack, but he’s an obvious outlier.
In a game where the Huskers had more yards and first downs, it comes down to penalties, conversion rate and the turnover battle. Fix those three things even a little bit, and we see those three “winnable” games coach Frost was talking about and actually get some wins out of them.
Lastly, one thing to look for: depth chart changes. Tyjon Lindsey gave us a late-night shock on Tuesday when he decided to leave the program. Lamar Jackson has been benched. Kade Warner, a walk-on redshirt freshman, son of Kurt, is now a starting wide receiver. You do the small things and the right things? You get rewarded. And Scott is finally sending the message.
How did Wisconsin look last weekend?
They didn’t, as they are coming off of their bye week. However, the weekend prior, they looked gritty as ever in a comeback win at Iowa. The defense is younger and more inexperienced than most, but it won’t be overlooking the Huskers like it did BYU. On offense, Hornibrook is who he is, but all that matters is that offensive line and my preseason Heisman pick, Jonathan Taylor.
What is Vegas saying?
The spread opened at around 20.5, jumped up to 22.5 and is now down to 17, in favor of the Badgers. Camp Randall is a tough place to play and it will be true freshman Adrian Martinez’s first trip up to Wisconsin. That’s where dreams go to die, but I’m not even sure Nebraska has dreams anymore. I so desperately want the under here, but the drop to 17 makes me weary.
The over/under is sitting pretty at around 58, meaning the Vegas final score should be around 38-20. Nebraska is averaging around 21 points per game and Wisconsin is giving up around 14.5.
I expect the Huskers to hit somewhere around there, maybe even a bit higher if they have cleaned up their game a little more. On the other side, Nebraska gives up nearly 39 points a game, while the Badgers score around 32. These games have been very lopsided recently, and the start to this season doesn’t look to be changing that.
Prediction: Wisconsin 38, Nebraska 21
Gambling this season? Want to try it just to see what it feels like? Go to MyBookie.ag and use promo code ARMCHAIR25 at checkout. They will match your deposit dollar for dollar. Putting in $100? You’ll now have $200.