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Scouting the Wildcats' Week 5 Opponent: The Nebraska Cornhuskers

Get to know Northwestern's upcoming opponent, the University of Nebraska, in preparation for the matchup this weekend.

For the first time in the 2021 season, the Northwestern University football team will be playing a divisional contest. The Wildcats travel to Lincoln to face the University of Nebraska and kick off is slated for 6:30 p.m. CT. Here is some information on the Cornhuskers.

History

The rivalry between the two programs is not as prolific as some other divisional opponents, but that does not mean it is not historical. The first game in the series was in 1902 in Lincoln, where the Cornhuskers won 12–0. In the most recent matchup, the Wildcats emerged victorious by a score of 21–13. 

Overall, Nebraska holds an 8–6 edge in the all-time series, and the teams have each won five games ever since the Cornhuskers joined the Big Ten in 2011. As a program, the Cornhuskers are among the most successful in college football, with five national championships in program history.

2021 Season

The Cornhuskers are in the midst of a make or break year for head coach Scott Frost, and the results so far have been mixed. Nebraska suffered a disappointing loss in Week one to the University of Illinois, followed by two blowout victories over Fordham University and State University of New York at Buffalo. The Cornhuskers then dropped two close games against ranked opponents. The University of Oklahoma squeaked out a 23–16 victory two weeks ago, and Michigan State University won 23–20 last week in overtime.

This gives Nebraska a 2–3 record heading into the matchup, but solid performances over quality opponents makes the team a 10-point favorite. The Michigan State loss is especially responsible for this, considering the Spartans rolled 38–21 over the Wildcats in week one. The Cornhuskers rank No. 25 in the nation in total offense and 50th in total defense through five games.

Players to Watch

QB J.T. Martinez- The junior signal caller accounts for a significant portion of the Cornhuskers offense. Martinez has thrown for 1,261 yards and five touchdowns in 2021 and rushed for 362 yards and six touchdowns. The dynamic talent is a veteran at the position and will be tough to stop for the Wildcats defense.

WR Samori Toure- The senior pass catcher leads the team in receiving yards this season with  375 yards and receiving touchdowns with two. Toure is a transfer from the University of Montana and had not played at the FBS level until this season.

LB Luke Reimer- The dynamic defender leads the team in total tackles and individual tackles with 46 and 23 respectively. Reimer also have 0.5 sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss in 2021. His 46 total tackles also lead the Big Ten.

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S Deontai Williams- The veteran leads the Cornhuskers with two interceptions this season. Williams also has 28 total tackles, 15 solo tackles and two tackles for loss. 

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