A pair of preseason favorites in the Big 12 Legends Division are playing for their proverbial lives Saturday when the Nebraska Cornhuskers (5-2, 2-1 Big Ten) host the Northwestern Wildcats (4-4, 0-4 Big Ten). Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET, with television coverage on BTN.
Northwestern was riding high at the end of September. The Wildcats were undefeated and hosting ESPN College GameDay before their tilt with Ohio State. Since then, they have lost four straight conference games, plummeting to the Big Ten cellar. Northwestern has been without star tailback Venric Mark, who has appeared in just one game, is not listed on this week's depth chart, and could take a medical redshirt.
Nebraska lost an early game to UCLA, but appeared to recover with three blowout victories. Last week's shocking loss at Minnesota shook the fanbase's confidence and put Bo Pelini squarely on the hot seat.
Rankings and records: Both teams have spent time in the Top 25 this season, but Northwestern's four-game losing streak and Nebraska's recent loss at Minnesota have them both on the outside looking in. Nebraska has won four of six all-time meetings with Northwestern, including last year's 29-28 victory in Evanston.
Vegas: Nebraska is favored by six. Full information on the spread can be found at OddsShark.
Weather: After a stormy week in Lincoln, the forecasters are predicting sunny conditions with a high in the upper 50s.
Three names to know
Ameer Abdullah: As Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez has fought turf toe and ineffectiveness, the Huskers have turned to running back Ameer Abdullah. The junior tailback from Homewood, Ala. should go over 1000 yards on the season Saturday -- he currently has 981 on just 133 carries, a 7.4 ypc average -- and could record his seventh 100-yard rushing game of the season.
Quincy Enunwa: We love Kenny Bell, but the senior Enunwa has arguably been the better receiver this year for Nebraska. Enunwa has 28 receptions for an even 400 yards through seven games, and has hauled in seven touchdown passes. His production increased when Martinez was out injured, and his role could be greater if redshirt freshman Tommy Armstrong Jr. again takes the reins Saturday.
Kain Colter: Northwestern has rotated quarterbacks throughout the season, but relied almost exclusively on the mobile Colter in last week's overtime loss at Iowa. Colter has missed time with an ankle injury, but appeared to have little trouble with it last week. Expect him to start and play significant minutes against a Nebraska defense that ranks 75th nationally against the run.
Two things at stake
Nebraska can still win the Big Ten Legends title and a spot in the league's title game by running the table. A loss to Northwestern would effectively end the title race, though.
Northwestern is trying to avoid its first 0-5 start in Big Ten play since 2006. Bowl eligibility becomes a serious concern with a fifth loss, given that the Wildcats have games against Michigan and Michigan State still to come.
How to witness
TV: BTN provides television coverage this Saturday, with kickoff set for 3:30 p.m. ET.
Radio: Husker Sports Radio has you covered, with radio broadcast on KLIN 94.5 FM/1400 AM in Lincoln and across Nebraska. WGN Radio 720 AM is The Voice of the Wildcats in Chicago.
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