Jacob Bova, senior sports editor: Wisconsin 45, Nebraska 20
The Huskers sit at 4-5 needing two wins in their last three games to qualify for a bowl game. They have shown no reason to pick them to win this game against Wisconsin, having lost three straight games, including losses to Purdue and Indiana, who are inferior to this Wisconsin team.
Also, Nebraska doesn’t match up well against Wisconsin as the Badger offense is centered around the run and the play of star running back Jonathan Taylor. The Husker run defense has struggled this season and sits at 11th in the Big Ten in run defense. Against Minnesota earlier in the year, a team with the same physical run style as Wisconsin, the Huskers were outmuscled and gave up 326 yards on the ground. The Badgers will run more than the Gophers and have a better running back.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Huskers are going against one of the best defensive groups in the country. Last season, against a weaker but still impressive Wisconsin defense, sophomore quarterback Adrian Martinez was able to lead the Huskers to a strong second half performance and put up 24 points in that game.
This Badger defense is better than that unit, but I think Martinez could find similar success, especially on the ground where he was the team’s leading rusher last year with 57 yards on 13 carries. Wisconsin has not played any dual-threat quarterbacks this season outside of Justin Fields of Ohio State, so he may be able to find some success.
While freshman phenom Wan’Dale Robinson’s status is in the air and definitely impacts the offense’s success, I think the offense will put up some points. It won’t be enough, though, to beat a Wisconsin offense that could put up big numbers on the ground on Saturday, Nov. 16.
Drake Keeler, assistant sports editor: Wisconsin 51, Nebraska 13
Since joining the Big Ten in 2011, Nebraska has been dominated by Wisconsin. This weekend, there’s almost no chance of that standard changing.
A home upset would do wonders for Nebraska, but another blowout at the hands of the Badgers seems much more likely at this point.
Most, if not all, of Nebraska’s weaknesses are Wisconsin’s strengths. The Badgers have one of the best rushing offenses in the country, while the Husker run defense has been poor as of late. Taylor has topped 200 yards against the Blackshirts each of the last two years, and another big performance seems likely.
The Badgers also excel in turnover margin (+4), while Nebraska does not (-3). This makes a difference because Nebraska and Wisconsin play opposite offensive styles in terms of pace. The Huskers play a faster, no-huddle offense, while the Badgers prefer to take as much time off the clock as they can. This means the Huskers need to force turnovers and avoid turning the ball over themselves to have chances to win, which doesn’t seem likely.
Along with that, the Nebraska offense that had 518 yards of offense against Wisconsin in 2018 is yet to show up this season. The Badgers are even better defensively this year, so the Huskers will have to try and replicate their 2018 offensive performance to have a chance.
Heading into this matchup, Nebraska is outmatched in every aspect. Saturday’s game will just be another Wisconsin blowout win where the Huskers look hopeless.
Luke Mullin, assistant sports editor: Wisconsin 38, Nebraska 25
With a future NFL star at running back and a dominant offensive line group leading the way, Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon obliterated the Nebraska defense in 2014. Gordon set the FBS single-game rushing record with a whopping 408 yards in a 59-24 win for the Badgers.
This time around, Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor is a better college back than Gordon was, and the Badgers have a dominant offensive line, as is the tradition. Taylor may not run for 400 yards against the Huskers, but expect a similar level of dominance. Wisconsin has the No. 16 rushing offense in the country, and rush defense is an area where Nebraska has struggled against opponents much less intimidating than the Badgers.
The Husker offense has been decent as of late, but it won’t be enough to best the Badgers. This matchup should be another in a long line of Husker defeats to the dominant power in the Big Ten West.