Week 0 was a lovely little taster for the season ahead, and I cannot wait for week 1! It’s a good job I’m not a gambling man, because my predictions for week 0 were WAY off! That’s partly why we love college football though – anything can happen but now time for the B1G 10 Week 0 Review!
Nebraska 28 Northwestern 31
We already knew that Nebraska has a close game problem. What I didn’t expect was for it to rear its head against Northwestern. This matchup in Dublin was the game of the weekend for the neutral – and not just because it gave UK fans a chance to experience college football in person. Dublin hosted the tightest game of week 0 and the one with the biggest talking points as a result.
Scott Frost is in trouble. I expected his Nebraska side to dispatch Northwestern with relative ease, but the Cornhusker defense couldn’t stop a lively Ryan Hilinski and co. The Wildcats QB ended the day with an impressive 314 yards through the air, 2 touchdowns and most importantly, 0 interceptions. Both of those touchdowns came in the first half, helping Northwestern to a 17-14 lead at the break.
Nebraska came out for the second half in the manner we expected, and snatched the momentum. They scored touchdowns on their first 2 possessions and had an 11-point lead. Then came the questionable call. Frost decided to try an on-side kick, presumably thinking that he could pull it off in an unexpected move and give his team the opportunity to all but end the game with another score. But of course, you have to recover the kick for that to be deemed a good decision.
As it turned out, it was a terrible one. Northwestern claimed the on-side kick attempt and capitalised on the short field. Nebraska wouldn’t score another point all game, and saw their lead disappear as Evan Hull ran in an early 4th quarter touchdown. Nebraska’s drives after that were 2 punts and an interception, having gained less than 40 yards combined in the 3 series. Not the start the Cornhuskers wanted, or really needed.
For Pat Fitzgerald’s men it was a great victory and brilliant to see their defense close out the game. There are encouraging signs on both sides of the ball, and with winnable matchups in the coming weeks, could conceivably be 4-0 by the time they face Penn State in October.
Wyoming @ Illinois
Chase Brown had a party in this early season miss-match. It took him 2 plays and just 41 seconds to register his first score of the day, in what the Fighting Illini hope will be a confidence booster ahead of a tough schedule. Brown ended the day with 151 ground yards and 3 total touchdowns as Illinois eased to win number 1. They will need many repeat performances from Brown if they are to win more than 3 games this year. He is their star player on a talent-needy roster. Brett Bielma running backs tend to be successful, and the head coach will be pleased with this opening day performance.