It’s an overstatement to say this was the most important game of the Bo Pelini era. But it certainly was the biggest of this season.
Taylor Martinez threw for 342 yards and three touchdowns and Nebraska rallied to beat Northwestern 29-28 on Saturday. The Cornhuskers (5-2, 2-1 Big Ten) rallied from 12 down in the fourth, taking a one-point lead when Martinez hit Ben Cotton with a 7-yard pass with just over 2 minutes left, and hung on when a 53-yard field goal attempt by Northwestern’s Jeff Budzien barely missed wide right with 1:10 remaining.
Thanks to a mean rushing attack, Northwestern now leads 23-16. The Wildcats rushed for 98 yards in the third quarter. The Wildcats expanded their lead to 21-10 thanks to a four-play, 93-yard drive that ended when Venric Mark ripped off an 80-yard touchdown run.
Nebraska’s Kenny Bell caught a 37-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter, but the margin is still four, as Northwestern leads the Huskers, 14-10. Trevor Siemian’s 27-yard touchdown pass to Tony Jones finished off an eight-play, 50-yard drive and gave Northwestern its halftime advantage.
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.
And here we were thinking Northwestern was just wearing an all-black uniform for today’s big-time Legends Division battle with Nebraska. As it turns out, the Wildcats also have a new matte back helmet, which features a massive Wildcat. Here’s the team’s usual helmet.
If you haven’t heard, there’s a pretty big game at Ryan Field this afternoon. Northwestern (6-1, 2-1) hosts Nebraska (4-2, 1-1) at 3:30 p.m., and the Wildcats can’t wait for the huge Legends Division battle to arrive. In fact, the guys over at NUAthletics YouTube page published a really cool video of the sunrise at Ryan Field early Saturday. Watch the full timelapse video in this post.
Week 8 in the Big Ten is chock full of intriguing games. Michigan-Michigan State has arguably been the most talked-about rivalry in the conference over the last five years – from Mike Hart’s “little brother” quip in 2007 all the way through the early-season derogatory comments about Denard Robinson on Twitter by some Michigan State players this season. I can’t wait to get it going Saturday at 3:30 ET on BTN/BTN2Go.
Northwestern has been a surprise team this season, jetting to a 6-1 mark to become the first bowl-eligible Big Ten squad. Now, with a big home game vs. Nebraska looming, Northwestern can dare to dream big. How big? Why not contemplate winning the Legends Division and the Big Ten for the first time since 2000? It’s possible, thanks to a large degree to the defense.
It’s no secret college kids like to nap after an early-morning obligation. The Northwestern football team is no different. The Wildcats will take a “Mandatory Cat Nap” at 9:30 a.m. CT Saturday prior to its 2:30 p.m. game against Nebraska. Head coach Pat Fitzgerald tweeted out the news Wednesday, and the nap is sandwiched between position meetings and the pre-game meal.
Every week, BTN.com’s Brent Yarina (@BTNBrentYarina) and Tom Dienhart (@BTNTomDienhart) offer their predictions for each Big Ten football game. We also provide a poll for all of the games so fans can vote for their winners. After seven weeks, it’s Dienhart on top, one game ahead of BTN.com fans and three ahead of Yarina. See our Week 8 predictions and choose your winners in this post.
This shapes up as an interesting week, with two key Legends Division clashes on a Big Ten menu that has six games. The headline clash is Nebraska at Northwestern.
It will be a blackout Saturday at Ryan Field for Northwestern’s highly anticipated tussle with Nebraska. The Wildcats, who last week wore black pants on the road for the first time this season, announced Monday that they will debut a new black Under Armour jersey and sport an all-black uniform this week.