1st quarter recap: Northwestern 7, Nebraska 3

In the first quarter, Northwestern’s Dan Vitale stood out. He caught two passes for 14 yards and one touchdown, and the Wildcats lead 7-3 at the end of the first quarter. Nebraska struck first when Brett Maher drilled a 27-yard field goal, the final play of a seven-play, 65-yard drive.

[RELATED: Northwestern debuts new black helmet]

Trevor Siemian’s 10-yard touchdown pass to Vitale gave Northwestern the lead, 7-3, and was the final play of a three-play, 14-yard drive. A fumble recovery by the Wildcats set Northwestern up to start the drive.

The Cornhuskers will start the second quarter with possession on the Wildcats’ 46-yard line.

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Read more from BTN.com’s Tom Dienhart on this game:

Player on the spot: Pick a player on Nebraska’s defense. Any player will do. This is a unit that has struggled mightily from time to time, suffering two horrid efforts in 2012: UCLA ran up 653 yards while Ohio State rattled off 63 points. Perhaps the week off will result in an improved unit at Northwestern, which has a dynamic offense behind the two-headed quarterback duo on Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian. And Wildcat running back Venric Mark is a handful, too. The Huskers are No. 10 in the Big Ten vs. the run (189.2 ypg) and No. 10 in scoring defense (27.7 ppg).

Key matchup: Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez vs. Northwestern front seven. Martinez ranks No. 1 in the Big Ten in passing efficiency, completing 66 percent of his attempts for 1,273 yards with a Big Ten-high 12 touchdown passes and only four picks. Led by end Tyler Scott and linebackers Chi Chi Ariguzo and David Nwabuisi, the Wildcats are No. 2 in the Big Ten vs. the run (109.9 ypg); No. 9 in total defense (380.7 ypg) and No. 7 in scoring defense (22.1 ppg).

Key number: 10, fumbles lost by Nebraska. That leads the Big Ten. By the way, Northwestern leads the Big Ten with nine fumble recoveries.

Key note: Nebraska enters the game with Northwestern following an off Saturday. The Huskers have had success when coming off a bye, winning on the road each of the past three seasons. In 2009 and 2010, Nebraska followed a bye week with a Thursday night road game, winning 27-12 at No. 24 Missouri in 2009, and posting a 48-13 victory at Kansas State in 2010. Last season, Nebraska followed a mid-October bye with a 42-14 victory at Minnesota. Nebraska is 4-1 overall after a bye under Bo Pelini, splitting a pair of games in 2008 following an off week.

EDITOR’S NOTE In partnership with Narrative Science, BTN.com posts recaps after every quarter of every Big Ten football game. Use the links above for more info on this specific game, including full Big Ten campus weather reports. And enter your zip code below to find the TV channel airing BTN football games on your TV provider. If your game isn’t listed, it’s on another TV network. Learn more about our TV GameFinder.


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