Week 10 College Football Breakdown with Joe Lisi: Northwestern vs. Nebraska

Northwestern Wildcats players in field

Joe Lisi

Friday, November 3, 2017 3:09 PM GMT

Friday, Nov. 3, 2017 3:09 PM GMT

This is the companion article to Joe's picks on the Northwestern vs. Nebraska game on Saturday at 3:30 pm ET.

Northwestern Wildcats vs Nebraska Cornhuskers

Line: Northwestern -1.5
Northwestern 31 Nebraska 21

Northwestern enters this game coming off an emotional 39-31 win over Michigan State in overtime in Evanston.

The Wildcats quarterback Clayton Thorson completed 33 of 48 passes (68%) for 356 yards with 2 touchdowns and no interceptions.

Northwestern is averaging 127 rushing yards per game and is passing for 270 yards per game through the air this season.

The Wildcats have converted 36% of their third-down attempts and will need to keep the Nebraska offense on the sidelines playing on the road in Lincoln.

Northwestern’s defense has stepped up over the last five games especially in run support. In games against Bowling Green, Wisconsin, Penn State, Maryland, Iowa and Michigan State (32-17 or .653%) the unit has allowed 94.8 rushing yards per game.

The Wildcats are allowing 118 rushing yards per game and are giving up 270 passing yards to opposing offenses.

Through eight games, the Wildcats have converted 16 total sacks or 2.0 sacks per game. Northwestern is allowing opposing offenses to convert 41% of their third-down attempts and will need to force long third downs for Nebraska quarterback Tanner Lee.

Nebraska is averaging 25 points per game and is rushing for 121 yards per game entering this matchup with the Wildcats.

In back to back games against Ohio State and Purdue, the offense is averaging 42 rushing yards per game.

The Cornhuskers are averaging 274 passing yards per game with Lee completing 56% of his passes for 2,140 with 15 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

The Cornhuskers are converting 39% of their third-down attempts and have only allowed 11 sacks as an offensive unit.

Defensively, the Cornhuskers have allowed 170 rushing yards per game and have given up 224 passing yards to opposing offenses.

A cause of concern heading into this game is sack total for the front seven. Nebraska has recorded 11 total sacks so far this season. The unit has only recorded 3 sacks over the last three games and must do a better job this weekend.

Nebraska is allowing 43% to opposing offenses on third downs this year and cannot afford to defend against a short field this weekend at home.

The unit is -4 in turnover margin and must find a way to create a short field for their offense this weekend.

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