Oct. 29, 2013
Full News Conference (All-Access)
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Considering the drama produced in their matchups over the last two seasons, Northwestern and Nebraska will stage a much-anticipated rubber match Saturday at 2:30 p.m. CT in Lincoln. The two programs, whose split meetings in 2011 and 2012 were decided by a combined four points, each are looking to improve their standings in a competitive Big Ten Legends Division.
Fans can catch the live television broadcast on the Big Ten Network or WVMP-ESPN 100 on the radio in Chicago.
Saturday marks the seventh all-time meeting between the Wildcats and Huskers, who will continue to meet annually following the Big Ten's divisional realignment next season. Prior to Northwestern's visit to Memorial Stadium in 2011, the 'Cats had not visited Lincoln since 1974 (37 years).
The Last Meeting
|Nebraska (Family Weekend)||29
October 20, 2012
Wildcats Clipped By Huskers' Late Rally, 29-28
Northwestern kept a prolific Nebraska rushing attack largely in check and brought a 21-16 lead into the fourth quarter, but the visiting Huskers were able to gain a one-point lead with 2:08 to play and held on for a 29-28 victory Saturday at Ryan Field.
Northwestern's first Big Ten Conference trip to Memorial Stadium in 2011 was a memorable one as the Wildcats jumped out to an early lead and dominated the trenches en route to a 28-25 win over No. 9 (No. 10 BCS) Nebraska. Kain Colter accumulated 115 yards passing, 57 rushing and 57 receiving and accounted for three of Northwestern's four touchdowns in the upset. In all, the 'Cats outrushed the vaunted Nebraska ground attack by a margin of 207-122, icing the game with a 13-play fourth-quarter TD drive that consumed more than seven minutes off the clock. Nebraska entered that game ranked No. 1 in the Big Ten in rushingyards per game (252.1) and fresh off a win over top-10 ranked Michigan State.
NU's only other win over the Huskers came on Oct. 3, 1931, a 19-7 outcome in Evanston.
Northwestern and Nebraska share a common opponent on the horizon in the University of Michigan. The Huskers will head to the Big House next week (Nov. 9), while the Wildcats are entering a bye week before hosting the Wolverines at Ryan Field on Sept. 16.
Northwestern Game Notes
Determined to get back in the win column this week, Northwestern will attempt to recapture the November magic it has so often displayed under head coach Pat Fitzgerald. The Wildcats are 12-6 in November since 2008, with five victories over top-20 opponents -- including their 28-25 toppling of No. 9 Nebraska on Nov. 5, 2011. NU's only November loss last season was an overtime defeat on the road at Michigan.
Northwestern last week enjoyed the return to the lineup of senior QB Kain Colter, who missed NU's Oct. 19 loss to Minnesota due to injury. Against Iowa on Saturday, Colter took all but seven snaps under center and compiled 60 rushing yards and 104 yards and one touchdown through the air on 11-of-14 passing. In the process, he became the ninth QB in Big Ten history to reach 2,000 career yards both rushing (2,014) and passing (2,083).
Big Ten opponents have found it increasingly difficult to move the ball and put points on the board against the Wildcats 'D' of late. Northwestern has kept the opposition out of the end zone in six of the last eight quarters it has played, and against Iowa last week allowed only a field goal over the final 54:22 of regulation. The play has been reminiscent of a 2012 Northwestern defensive unit that
held opponents to 20 points or less eight times in 13 games en route to NU's 10-win season.
Before Matthew Harris made his first career start at cornerback at Iowa, it had been 85 games since NU last started a true freshman on defense (Sherrick McManis, CB, vs. Ohio State, 11/11/2006).
Junior LB Chi Chi Ariguzo has performed at an All-Big Ten level this season, ranking third in the conference with 9.0 stops per game after recording a Northwestern season-high 14 at Iowa Saturday. Ariguzo also came away with his fifth career interception and third of the year against the Hawkeyes.
On offense, Northwestern sits atop the Big Ten in red zone efficiency, coming away with points on 30 of 31 trips inside the 20 (96.8 percent). NU has scored 18 touchdowns (nine rushing, nine passing) and converted 12-of-13 field goal tries from inside the red zone. The 'Cats, who are one of three Big Ten teams yet to commit a turnover in the red zone, will this week go head-to-head with a Huskers defense that ranks next-to-last in the conference in red zone defense (90.0 percent).
Redshirt freshman RB Stephen Buckley has seized the opportunity afforded him in the running game over the last two weeks, averaging 78.5 yards per game and 6.0 yards per carry against the Gophers and Hawkeyes. Buckley, a former option quarterback out of Forney, Texas, has broken out for long runs of 33 and 30 yards in the last two games and against Iowa fell one yard shy of
notching his first career 100-yard performance.
The Huskers will be looking to bounce back after a 34-23 road loss at Minnesota last Saturday. The loss dropped Nebraska to 5-2 overall and 2-1 in Big Ten Conference play. The setback also dropped Nebraska out of both national polls this week.
Senior quarterback Taylor Martinez made his first start since Sept. 14 against UCLA. Martinez completed 16-of-30 passes for 139 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Martinez rushed eight times for 16 yards, including a 35-yard run in the third quarter. Martinez increased his career rushing total to 2,975 yards, moving him within 25 yards of becoming the 16th quarterback in FBS history to rush for 3,000 career yards and just the third quarterback in Big Ten history to achieve that milestone.
Junior receiver Kenny Bell -- a childhood friend of Northwestern's Kain Colter -- caught three passes for 45 yards, including a 42-yard reception on the Huskers' scoring drive to open the game. With his three catches, Bell pushed his career receptions total to 109, moving him into fifth place on the NU career receptions list. Bell passed Todd Peterson (108 catches) in the game to move into fifth place
Download the PDFs linked at the top of the page for complete Northwestern and Nebraska game notes.
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