Football: Nebraska writer says revenge not factor for Cornhuskers

Josh Walfish, Gameday Editor

Northwestern continues its season with a big game against Legends Division rival Nebraska on Saturday. The Daily caught up with Chris Peters, assistant sports editor at The Daily Nebraskan, via email to discuss the upcoming matchup. The Wildcats beat the Cornhuskers last year in Lincoln, Neb., shocking the nation on the path to an improbable bowl berth. We discuss whether revenge will be a factor for Nebraska on Saturday and how the bye week will affect the Cornhuskers as they head into this crucial Big Ten game.

The Daily Northwestern: What is wrong with the Nebraska defense?

Chris Peters: The Huskers haven’t been able to stop mobile quarterbacks, or really the spread offense as a whole, for the past two seasons. Braxton Miller’s 200 yards last week should be a testament to that. Nebraska’s defense is lacking in a worthwhile pass rush and doesn’t seem to have the speed in the front seven to catch up to players on the sidelines, let alone handle a juking mobile QB.

The Daily: Are the Cornhuskers talking about revenge heading into Saturday’s contest?

Peters: Revenge hasn’t been a big topic around Lincoln, despite last year’s upset by Northwestern. Last week’s thrashing in Columbus has garnered all the focus, with fans concerned that this team is about to have a meltdown. Nebraska fans are more concerned with not losing this game than they are with winning it.

The Daily: Do you think the bye week will help or hurt Nebraska?

Peters: Having a week off can only help this Husker team. Nebraska learned a lot about its identity since its last week off – mainly that the team needs to find faster players to defend the spread. The bye week allows coaches to play with new personnel, as well as establish a game plan for containing Kain Colter.

The Daily: Which Cornhuskers player will have the biggest impact on the game?

Peters: Senior linebacker Will Compton will play a large role in determining how well Colter is kept in check, but the most important player for the Huskers is probably quarterback Taylor Martinez. The team seems to thrive when Martinez is firing on all cylinders and decompose when he isn’t. Martinez’s comfortability in Evanston is the key to the Huskers walking out with a win.

The Daily: What is your prediction for Saturday?

Peters: I think the week off really benefits Nebraska. This team will have been under fire for two weeks, with fans and media calling the defense “soft” and saying that Martinez looked “flustered” and the team will play with a big chip on its shoulder. An extra week of prep work and scheming, along with a high-upside Nebraska offense, helps the Huskers prevail by a score of 48-31.