Northern Illinois keys to victory and HOL score predictions

Sean Callahan, Publisher
Husker Online

Can Nebraska (1-1) get things back on track this week after a rough showing at Oregon?

As we get closer to kickoff for today's 11 am game with Northern Illinois (1-1), here are the keys to a Husker victory over NIU.

NU enters today's games game as a 14 point favorite over the Huskies. Saturday's game will be aired on FS1 and streamed on FoxSportsGo.

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KEYS TO VICTORY: Northern Illinois vs. Nebraska 

KEY 1: Find a running game without Bryant

One of the biggest keys for today will be for Nebraska to generate a solid ground game of around 200 yards without starter Tre Bryant. The Huskers need a quality day out of Mikale Wilbon, and they need some complimentary carries from Devine Ozigbo and Jaylin Bradley to go with it.

KEY 2: Play with an early edge on defense

The last two weeks Nebraska's defense hasn't really played with a purpose out of the gates. They need to impose their will early and play with a physical edge out of the gates.

KEY 3: Tanner Lee's composure

After throwing four interceptions last week at Oregon it will be important for Tanner Lee to play with composure early. He needs to get into an early rhythm on Saturday with some high percentage throws.

KEY 4: Resurrect the return game

Week 1 Nebraska ran a kickoff back for a touchdown, but other than that we've seen little to nothing from the return game. The Huskers need to get this part of their game back on track, as they have some real weapons that need to be utilized in both the punt and kickoff return game.

KEY 5: Get the 11 am crowd into the game early

Make no bones about it...very few people like 11 am games. They present challenges for the crowd to get into Memorial by kickoff, eliminate tailgating time and they affect the overall atmosphere of the game. The Huskers needs to give this 11 am crowd something to get excited about early. A quick three and out or an opening touchdown drive would probably do the trick.

Sean Callahan - HuskerOnline Publisher

We are going to find out what this team is really made of starting this week. Was last week's second half a sign of what's to come, or was it just a flash in the pan? I think the Huskers will take a big step in the right direction today and pull away to an easy victory over Northern Illinois. I don't think NIU has anywhere close to the QB play the Huskers have seen the last two weeks, and the Blackshirts should be able to force a few turnovers. Tanner Lee will also have a bounce back game.

Nebraska 41, Northern Illinois 20

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Robin Washut - HuskerOnline Senior Writer

Facing an offense very similar to the scheme that's caused the defense so many problems the first two weeks, I see Nebraska putting together a much better overall showing today. The offense shouldn't have any trouble scoring, and the Blackshirts will look more like unit we saw in the second half vs. Oregon than the first.

Nebraska 49, Northern Illinois 21

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Nate Clouse - HuskerOnline Lead Recruiting Analyst

I see things getting off to a bit of a slow start once again which keeps Northern Illinois within striking distance early on. However, the defense does build off of last week’s second half performance and a few key turnovers breathes life into the 11:00 a.m. crowd inside Memorial Stadium. Tanner Lee bounces back and leads an efficient, balanced offense in the second half to pull away.

Nebraska 35, Northern Illinois 20

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Mike'l Severe - Omaha World Herald Bottom Line

Not sure Northern Illinois can hang with the Huskers without its starting quarterback and a top Wr but I still like the speed and athleticism of the Huskies defense. NU's offense just has too much size for the NIU defensive front. The Huskers should be able to pound the rock.

Nebraska 38, Northern Illinois 21

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Andy Kendeigh - KETV Channel 7 Sports Director

Two things I know - the Huskers will hold Northern Illinois below their 39 point per game average and Nebraska will convert more than two first downs on the day. Even without Tre Bryant & Joshua Kalu, the Huskers get well just in time for another confidence booster in Rutgers as Big Ten play begins next week.

Nebraska 37, Northern Illinois 21

HuskerOnline Week 3 Expert Score Predictions

Week 3

Sean Callahan

Robin Washut

Nate Clouse

Mike'l Severe

Andy Kendeigh

N. Illinois @ Nebraska

41-20

Nebraska

49-21 Nebraska

35-20 Nebraska

38-21 Nebraska

37-21 Nebraska

Wisconsin @ BYU

31-27 Wisconsin

31-14 Wisconsin

28-10 Wisconsin

38-14 Wisconsin

24-22 Wisconsin

Purdue @ Missouri

38-34

Missouri

38-35 Purdue

35-30 Missouri

40-35 Missouri

44-41 Missouri

Tennessee @ Florida

27-23 Florida

13-10 Florida

24-14 Tennessee

30-27 Florida

31-27 Tennessee

K-State @ Vanderbilt

34-24

KSU

24-20

KSU

31-24

Vanderbilt

27-17

KSU

21-17

KSU

Clemson @ Louisville

31-30 Louisville

41-31 Clemson

37-31 Clemson

38-34 Clemson

27-21 Clemson

HuskerOnline Score Prediction Standings

Expert Picker

Straight Up

vs. the Spread

Cumulative Total

Mike'l Severe

OWH Bottom Line

10-2

9-3

19

Nate Clouse

HuskerOnline

10-5

7-5

17

Sean Callahan

HuskerOnline

10-2

6-6

16

Robin Washut

HuskerOnline

9-3

6-6

15

Andy Kendeigh

KETV-ABC Omaha

6-6

8-4

14

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