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NU-Northwestern predictions and random over/unders: The Journal Star staffers make their picks

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Fordham vs. Nebraska, 9.4

Nebraska's Logan Smothers catches the snap as right guard Matt Sichterman (70) works during the Huskers' game against Fordham on Sept. 4 at Memorial Stadium.

After two close losses to ranked opponents, Nebraska returns home to play a Northwestern team that has given it fits over the years.

Eight of 10 meetings since the Huskers joined the Big Ten Conference have been decided by one score. Six of the 10 games have been decided by three points or less.

Will it be close Saturday, or are the Huskers ready to break loose for a big-time performance?

Here we go.

Fan grade for Nebraska's special teams will be …

Chris Basnett (Husker writer): D. Huskers give up a couple big punt returns, but they at least catch punts this week and don’t give up a special teams touchdown.

Parker Gabriel (Husker beat writer): C.

Clark Grell (Sports editor): C+. The punting team will be better (How could it get worse?), but the return units just don't have the juice.

Nate Head (Assistant/online sports editor): C.

Sipple: C. Still problems, but not as glaring.

Nebraska's starting five offensive linemen will be …

Basnett: LT Teddy Prochazka, LG Broc Bando, C Cam Jurgens, RG Brant Banks and RT Turner Corcoran.

Gabriel: LT Prochazka, LG Nouri Nouili, C Jurgens, RG Matt Sichterman, RT Corcoran.

Grell: Prochazka at LT, Bryce Benhart and Sichterman at the guard spots, Corcoran at RT and Jurgens at C.

Head: Prochazka at LT, Bando and Sichterman at guard, Corcoran at RT and Jurgens at C.

Sipple: Prochazka (LT), Nouili (LG), Jurgens (Center), Sichterman (RG), Corcoran (RT).

Husker linebacker prime for a big game …

Basnett: Luke Reimer was great against Northwestern last year, and he'll be great again this year.

Gabriel: Inside linebacker Nick Henrich.

Grell: Garrett Nelson. The Scottsbluff native is playing his tail off.

Head: Henrich.

Sipple: Henrich. This sort of brawl is right up his alley.

Adrian Martinez touchdown count (running and throw) …

Basnett: Three. Two more on the ground and one in the air.

Gabriel: Three.

Grell: Three. Two touchdown strikes and one on the ground.

Head: Three.

Sipple: Three (one running, two throwing).

Prediction?

Basnett: Nebraska 25-22.

Gabriel: Nebraska 27-17.

Grell: Nebraska 28-13.

Head: Nebraska 31-17.

Sipple: Nebraska 30-7.

Over/unders

Nebraska rushing yards: 215.

Basnett: Over.

Gabriel: Over.

Grell: Over.

Head: Over.

Sipple: Under.

Combined points by halftime: 20½.

Basnett: Under.

Gabriel: Under.

Grell: Under.

Head: Under.

Sipple: Just over.

Luke Reimers tackles count: 11½.

Basnett: Over.

Gabriel: Under.

Grell: Under.

Head: Over.

Sipple: Under.

Rahmir Johnson carries counter: 14½.

Basnett: Under.

Gabriel: Over.

Grell: Under.

Head: Under.

Sipple: Over.

Husker punts over 40 yards: 3.

Basnett: Under.

Gabriel: Under.

Grell: Over.

Head: Push.

Sipple: Over.

 

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