Nebraska-Wisconsin Preview Capsule
Line: Wisconsin by 6.
Series Record: Tied 4-all.
WHAT'S AT STAKE
Welcome to the Ameer Abdullah-Melvin Gordon Bowl. This is a showcase game for Nebraska's Abdullah and Wisconsin's Gordon to make statements to Heisman Trophy voters. Besides the footrace between the star running backs, the game could be crucial in determining the Big Ten West division title. The loser has a tougher road to win the West and a trip to the league title game.
Nebraska QB Tommy Armstrong Jr. vs. Wisconsin front seven. Abdullah practiced at midweek wearing a brace on his sprained left knee. If sidelined or slowed by the injury for Wisconsin, more burden could fall on dual-threat QB Armstrong. The Badgers have had trouble in the past against mobile quarterbacks, though Wisconsin's top-ranked defense has stiffened over the last four games. The pass rush is getting to the quarterback, and the linebacking corps is stocked with playmakers.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
NEBRASKA: Abdullah. The senior left the Nov. 1 game against Purdue in the first quarter with the left knee injury. He wore a brace in practice earlier this week, and offensive coordinator Tim Beck said the Heisman hopeful looked good after taking part in all drills.
WISCONSIN: You had to ask? Gordon is good friends with Abdullah. He has taken the Heisman hype in stride, but could use a breakout game in a victory against a ranked opponent on national television to really get the buzz going. Gordon has scored 15 touchdowns in five home games this year.
FACTS & FIGURES
Winner gets Freedom Trophy, the latest addition to the Big Ten trophy game slate. ... Nebraska seeking seventh straight nine-win season. ... Huskers' 490.6 yards of total offense through nine games is best offensive start to season since averaging 510.2 yards in same span in 1997. ... Abdullah is active major college career leader in all-purpose yards with 6,605. ... Gordon leads nation with 166.8 yards per game. ... Wisconsin defense leads country in allowing just 251.1 yards per contest. ... Defense has limited 72.9 percent of opponents' drives to six plays or less, the best mark among major college teams.