LINCOLN, Neb. – Wisconsin still has an outside shot of catching Minnesota atop the Big Ten West, but the Badgers must take care of business over the next two weeks if they have any intention of playing for something meaningful when they meet the Golden Gophers in their season finale. After ending a two-game losing streak by knocking off a Top 25 opponent last week, No. 15 Wisconsin faces the first of two sub-.500 teams on Saturday when it visits Nebraska.
TV: Noon ET, Big Ten Network. LINE: Wisconsin -14.5.
Following back-to-back losses at Illinois and No. 2 Ohio State, the Badgers got back on track by pounding the conference's second-ranked rush defense for 300 yards - including a season-high 250 from Jonathan Taylor - and holding off a late rally to pull out a 24-22 win over No. 22 Iowa. The victory kept Wisconsin two games behind Minnesota, which hosts the Badgers on Nov. 30. The Cornhuskers had a great opportunity to move one step closer to bowl eligibility on Nov. 2, but they could not stop Purdue from putting together a 12-play, 82-yard touchdown drive in the final minutes of a 31-27 home loss. “We’re all tired of (beating ourselves). I wish the team had just a little more conviction to just get it done at times and wish we would get to a point where some of the mistakes aren’t happening," coach Scott Frost told the Omaha World Herald.
ABOUT WISCONSIN (7-2, 4-2 Big Ten)
Taylor ranks third in the country with 1,259 rushing yards and is tied for fifth with 15 rushing touchdowns - both Big Ten-best marks - and needs only 167 more rushing yards over the remainder of the season to pass Herschel Walker (5,596) for the most in FBS history by a player through his junior season. The New Jersey native had been held to 80 rushing yards or fewer in two of his previous three contests before posting his 29th career 100-yard rushing effort - four behind school-record holder Ron Dayne. Senior linebackers Chris Orr (nine sacks - second in the conference) and Zach Baun (7.5, fifth) are the only teammates who rank inside the top five in the conference in sacks.
ABOUT NEBRASKA (4-5, 2-4)
Despite missing two games and part of another with a knee injury, sophomore quarterback Adrian Martinez paces the Cornhuskers in rushing (399 yards) and passing (1,492), making him only one of three players from a Power Five conference to lead his team in both categories. Junior receiver JD Spielman amassed 123 receiving yards on six catches against Purdue, including a 42-yard grab that was his seventh reception of at least 40 yards a season - good for the fourth most in FBS. Wan’Dale Robinson’s 40 catches and 453 receiving yards are the most ever by a Nebraska true freshman, while his per-game average of 112.8 all-purpose yards leads all Power Five conference freshmen.
1. Wisconsin has rushed for at least 353 yards four times during its six-game winning streak in this series.
2. Robinson is the first Cornhusker with 400 receiving yards and 300 rushing yards in the same season since Marlon Lucky in 2007 and the fourth true freshman in school history with more than 1,000 all-purpose yards.
3. Taylor needs 160 more rushing yards to pass two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin (5,589) for second place on the Big Ten's all-time rushing list.
PREDICTION: Wisconsin 38, Nebraska 17