Wisconsin Badgers vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers Preview

The No. 15 Wisconsin Badgers (7-3, 5-2) host the Nebraska Cornhuskers (3-7, 1-6) tomorrow, November 20th, at Camp Randall Stadium.

Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 PM (Central Time) and will be nationally televised on ABC.

Wisconsin holds the all-time series 10-4 and has won seven consecutive games in the series dating back to 2012. The last time the two teams met, UW’s Jonathan Taylor ran for 204 yards in a 31-17 win in Lincoln in 2019.

UW is a 10-point favorite, per Bovada, as I write this.

Three Things To Watch:

1) Keep dominating the run game.

No team in the country has run for more yards in the last six weeks than Wisconsin. During that stretch, UW has rushed for 1,618 yards and 18 rushing touchdowns. More than half of those rushing yards belonging to Braelon Allen, who has a chance to become the fourth true freshman to rush for 1,000 yards in a season at UW since 1996.

Traditionally, the Badgers have dominated the trenches against Nebraska. UW has run for at least 200 yards in seven of the nine games between the two programs since Nebraska joined the Big Ten in 2011. However, this is one of their better run-stopping units that Nebraska has fielded during that stretch, allowing 132.5 yards per game on 3.7 yards per carry and it figures to provide a stiffer challenge to what has become a dominant Badgers ground game.

2) Dealing with Adrian Martinez

Wisconsin’s defense will be tested in multiple ways by a Nebraska offense that has largely struggled to put up points against Big Ten opponents, but has moved the ball well enough.

It’s starts with quarterback Adrian Martinez and his ability to beat teams with his arms and legs. In two previous matchups against UW, Martinez has had some success in the air (604 yards, 3 touchdowns) as well as on the ground (146 yards, 2 touchdowns).

Having said that, Martinez has lacked consistency, especially as of late. He has thrown four touchdowns and five interceptions in the last three games and outside of a 21-yard rushing touchdown against Ohio State, has largely been ineffective with his legs due to a sprained ankle.

3) Graham Mertz needs to continue to step up

Graham Mertz has played really well in recent weeks and the offense has caught fire. He put together solid performances against Rutgers and Northwestern. In the last three games, Mertz has completed 65.5-percent of his passes, while throwing six touchdowns and just two interceptions. He has been able to spread it around, too, which has helped tremendously, especially last week when nine different guys caught at least one pass.

Nebraska’s defense is coming off a game against Ohio State where they allowed the Buckeyes to throw for 405 yards. Obviously, Mertz likely won’t throw for that many yards, but it suggests that Nebraska is vulnerable if Mertz continues to play the way he has during the six-game winning streak.

Other Notes:

The Badgers and Cornhuskers are playing for the Freedom Trophy, and Nebraska has touched it zero times since the trophy was introduced in 2014 as the Badgers have won by an average of 16.2 points per game in the meetings for the Freedom Trophy.

UW’s defense has allowed just 7.3 points per game and 194.5 yards per game during the six-game winning streak. For the season, the unit ranks No. 1 in the country in total defense, run defense and third-down defense.

Do I need to remind you for the millionth time this season that the defense is elite?

My Prediction:

Wisconsin 24, Nebraska 14.

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