Editor’s note: Dave Williams, aka White Sox Dave from Barstool Sports, was kind enough to write up a preview of Saturday’s game from the perspective of a Northwestern fan. Along with the White Sox, Dave really is a Northwestern fan (who knew they existed?) so it wasn’t a stretch for him to write from his long-suffering heart. Give him a follow on Twitter for some great sports takes and to see how much it hurts to be a loyal fan of teams like the White Sox and Northwestern. Move to Trash
Take it away Dave…
I’d like to preface everything you’re about to read by first addressing the big elephant in the room: Yes, Northwestern has casual fans. My ACT score wouldn’t have been good enough to get into NU if you doubled it, (thought it would have been about twice as good as the average UNL student HA!) and I have a pretty poor grasp of the English language, yet here I am, donning Purple every Saturday representing Chicago’s Big Ten Team. Yes, we do exist. Being a White Sox, Bears and Wildcats fan, I live an awful life as a sports fan. That’s neither here nor there though…
Anyways, though Nebby has only been in the conference for a short time, I feel like the two schools are developing a decent little rivalry right now. Each game has been a complete and total nail biter, save for a 21point victory for Nebraska in 2014. In the other 4 contests, the average margin of victory was a miniscule 2.25 ppg. Like I said, nail biters.
For the sake of keeping this preview short and sweet, I won’t break down each previous contest, just outline the scores showing exactly how close these two teams have played each other the last 5 years:
2011: Northwestern tops 10th ranked Nebby 28-25 in the B1G first meeting between the two.
2012: Nebby tops NU 29-28 in Evanston
2013: Nebby tops NU 27-24 on a Hail Mary with 4 seconds left. I legitimately thought about tying myself to cinder blocks and jumping into the Lake Michigan
Because I’m a masochist and I’m writing a guest preview, here’s the video for you pricks.
2014: Nebby stomps NU 38-17
2015: NU beats UNL 30-28 in Lincoln
Anyways, here’s what UNL fans need to know about Northwestern.
What to watch for when NU has the ball:
Well, the offense kinda stinks. And by kinda stinks I mean it totally blows and other than Justin Jackson, no one is above average. There isn’t necessarily a lack of “talent” on the offensive side of the ball, either, as there are 4 star, nationally renown recruits at both QB, RB, and TE. But the Northwestern offensive scheme flat out sucks, the offensive line is garbage, and the wide receiving core is probably the worst in the B1G. RB Justin Jackson is a stud, and will wind up as NU’s all time leading rusher should he stay healthy, but if he can’t develop a rhythm behind NU’s porous offensive line, then the Cats will be in extreme amounts of trouble against UNL.
If Jackson can get a ground game going for NU, it should hopefully open up the defensive enough where Thorson can throw the ball down field and move chains.
Keyword there: hopefully. Other than against a brutal Duke team, that hasn’t happened yet.
What to watch for when Nebraska has the ball:
NU defense hasn’t been great so far and it was supposed to be totally lockdown this year. If it weren’t for injuries, there would be multiple draft picks suiting up in every level of the defense against Nebby this week, however only one is: MLB Anthony Walker.
Anthony Walker was 1st team all B1G in 2015, 3rd team All American, and named to every preseason “watch” list for defensive players and a future high round NFL draft pick… but he hasn’t been great so far. It was recently disclosed that he had a knee injury that held him out of preseason camp for 2 weeks and that he wasn’t quite in game shape until last week, so he’s got the benefit of the doubt as of now, but he HAS to be the best player on the field when NU is on D for them to stand a chance this week.
NU’s defensive backfield is riddled with injuries right now, as their 2nd best defensive player and future NFL draft pick DB Matt Harris is out with a concussion, S Kyle Queiro has a shoulder injury and another starting CB, Keith Watkins, was lost for the year with an ACL. They have good depth in the defensive backfield, however, and depth that has legit starting B1G talent, so there’s not toooo much too worry about there. They just need to do a better job of getting off the field on 3rd down.
Nobody cares about special teams, but Northwestern’s kicker has won like 4 games with last second field goals, he just can’t make them when there isn’t any pressure on him.
It’s gonna be like a home game for Big Red and the atmosphere in Evanston will be electric, so I think the defense [Editor’s note: That’s really clever that you call that long ass grass “the defense.”] slows down UNL and the NU offense does just enough to win. Oh, and NU will have a pick 6 for a score after that BUM Tommy Frazier throws a ball off his back foot into double coverage. Ultimately, that will be the difference in this game