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    'Cats Welcome Huskers to Evanston for Pivotal Big Ten Showdown

    Pat Fitzgerald aims to lead the 'Cats to a second straight victory over Nebraska Saturday at Ryan Field.

    Pat Fitzgerald aims to lead the 'Cats to a second straight victory over Nebraska Saturday at Ryan Field.

    Oct. 15, 2012

    Northwestern (6-1, 2-1 Big Ten) vs. Nebraska (4-2, 1-1 Big Ten)
    Saturday, Oct. 20 • 2:30 p.m. CT
    Ryan Field (47,130) • Evanston, Ill.

    TV: ABC (ESPN2 Mirror) (Crew: Bob Wischusen, Danny Kanell, Maria Taylor)
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    Radio: 720 WGN (Chicagoland) (Dave Eanet, Ted Albrecht, Sam Valenzisi) and WNUR (89.3 FM)
    Online Video: WatchESPN
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    For Openers
    • Northwestern aims to gain an upper hand in the Big Ten Legends Division when it welcomes Nebraska to a sold-out Ryan Field Saturday (2:30 p.m. CT, ABC). The Huskers are making their first appearance in Ryan Field in 82 years, having last visited Evanston for the 1931 season-opener.

    • Northwestern enters play this week as the only Big Ten team to already have become bowl-eligible after clinching its sixth win of the season at Minnesota Saturday. It was the second straight year in which NU assured itself a trip to the postseason with a win against the Gophers. NU is poised to play in a bowl game for the fifth straight season and has been postseason-eligible six times in Pat Fitzgerald's seven-year tenure as head coach.

    • Northwestern's senior class achieved a different milestone with the win over the Gophers, tying the NU school mark for most wins by a five-year senior class. The group has been part of 36 victories since arriving in Evanston prior to the 2008 season and helped NU advance to postseason play all five years.

    • The Wildcats are 10-2 in their last 12 regular season games dating to Oct. 29, 2011.

    • Saturday's matchup pits the Big Ten's No. 2 rush defense (Northwestern) against a Huskers rushing attack that averages a Big Ten-best 292.0 ground yards per game. On the flip slide, Nebraska's rush defense will be forced to contend with an NU ground game that ranks in the top-20 nationally with 229.9 yards per contest.

    • Of Northwestern's eight Big Ten opponents this season, four of them have the luxury of a bye week before taking on the Wildcats, including Nebraska. Northwestern has gone 2-0 in its first two games against Big Ten teams coming off an open date -- Indiana and Minnesota -- while Michigan State also will have two weeks to prepare for the 'Cats before the two teams square off next month.

    VanHoose Tabbed Big Ten Freshman of the Week
    • Northwestern redshirt freshman CB Nick VanHoose picked up Freshman of the Week honors from the Big Ten Conference in recognition of his steady play in the Wildcats 21-13 win at Minnesota. VanHoose set a career high with three pass breakups in the game, all of which came on Minnesota passes into the end zone. The last of the three came with the Gophers in search of a game-tying touchdown and under three minutes remaining when VanHoose deflected away a would-be TD pass on third-and-goal from the 6-yard line. The secondary surrendered a season-low169 passing yards to the Gophers.

    Series Information

    Series Record: Nebraska leads, 3-2
    Last Meeting: Nov. 4, 2011 • Lincoln, Neb.
    Northwestern 28, Nebraska 25

    • This is the sixth all-time meeting between the Wildcats and Huskers, who last season began their annual series as members of the Big Ten's Legends Division. Nebraska's only previous trip to Ryan Field ended in a 19-7 Northwestern victory back on Oct. 3, 1931.

    • Northwestern's attempt at a second straight win over Nebraska will likely include another big effort by Kain Colter, who accounted for three total touchdowns in the Wildcats' 28-25 win a year ago. Colter recorded 115 passing yards in relief of an injured Dan Persa, 57 rushing yards and 57 receiving. His 57 receiving yards were the most by an FBS player who also had 100 passing yards in the same game since Nebraska's own Eric Crouch on Oct. 27, 2001.

    • NU quarterback Kain Colter is a childhood friend of Nebraska standout wide receiver Kenny Bell. Colter and Bell grew up together in Colorado before becoming opponents in high school, with Colter attending Cherry Creek and Bell prepping at Fairview.


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