The much-anticipated debut of Nebraska on the Big Ten gridiron is upon us. The league schedule makers did not do the Cornhuskers any favors, with their first-ever Big Ten game being played at Camp Randall Stadium. Wisconsin is always a tough place to play, especially this season with transfer quarterback Russell Wilson adding a new dimension to the Badgers’ vaunted power running attack. Nebraska has its usual solid running game as well, but the defense must improve on its September performance to stop Wilson and crew. The atmosphere will be electric at Camp Randall, and this battle of Top Ten teams could be a preview of the league championship game in December.
Will Nebraska beat Wisconsin in its first-ever Big Ten game?
Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
I like Wisconsin to win on Saturday night. Although both teams are undefeated, it’s still a mystery how they stack up in the national title picture. The Badgers have played a relatively easy schedule so far, while Nebraska at least has a game against a solid Washington team. Landing Russell Wilson has been huge for the Badger offense and I think that’s going to be the difference in this matchup. Wilson’s steady passing and ability to make plays with his legs is the perfect complement to the one-two punch on the ground of Montee Ball and James White. The Nebraska defense hasn’t played great so far, but defensive tackle Jared Crick and cornerback Alfonzo Dennard are expected back in the lineup. Look for the Cornhuskers to have success running the ball with quarterback Taylor Martinez and running back Rex Burkhead. However, when the game is on the line, can Nebraska’s passing attack generate enough to keep up with Wisconsin? Although I think the Badgers get the victory on Saturday, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see these two teams matchup again in the Big Ten title game.
Braden Gall (@AthlonBraden)
Despite the fact that Wisconsin has played as good of football as any team in the nation, I am just not sure they are equipped well-enough on defense to beat Nebraska. The atmosphere will be electric and hostile, but Taylor Martinez and Bo Pelini have been preparing for this day for more than a year. Saturday night should be the first time the Huskers have both Jared Crick and Alfonzo Dennard on the field at the same time this season as Nebraska hasn't played up to its potential in September (possibly looking forward to this game). If UW can figure out a way to keep T-Magic in the pocket, then the Badgers' power running game and efficient quarterback play should make this an ‘edge of the seat’ affair. If they cannot keep Martinez from breaking big plays with his legs, however, Wisconsin will not win this game.
The NU kid on the block won't be bullying the Big Ten on Saturday night. Camp Randall will be rocking when Russell Wilson leads the Badgers against the Cornhuskers in prime time. Expect Wilson -- a post-graduate transfer from NC State, where he was the 2008 ACC Rookie of the Year as well as a two-time All-ACC selection -- to take the next step in a burgeoning Heisman Trophy campaign. The two-sport star (4th-round pick of Colorado Rockies in 2010 MLB Draft) and dual-threat quarterback has been nearly unstoppable this season, completing 75.8 percent of his passes for 1,136 yards, 11 TDs and only one INT, while scrambling for another 108 yards and one TD on the ground. Nebraska's blackshirt defense won't be able to contain the three-headed monster of Wilson and running backs Montee Ball (360 yards, 9 TDs) and James White (303 yards, 3 TDs). The Huskers will get shucked in their first-ever Big Ten game.
Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)
I think Nebraska can win its Big Ten debut, especially with a healthy defense on the field. All-America candidates Jared Crick and Alfonzo Dennard have missed time early, but both should be good to go against Wisconsin. The Badgers have been very impressive so far with Wilson and Montee Ball leading a juggernaut offense, and the defense has been stellar as well. However the September schedule was fairly soft, and I think that Taylor Martinez and Rex Burkhead will be able to run on the UW defense. The key to the game will be the NU defense making sure that the Huskers do not fall behind early. If Martinez is forced to pass, it could get ugly for Bo Pelini’s club. But I think Nebraska keeps it close and wins late, causing the Husker fans to jump around in Big Ten country.