Nebraska football mailbag: Can the Huskers win at home under the lights of Memorial Stadium?

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Have Nebraska football questions? We’ve got answers. Join us every Wednesday for the Land of 10 Nebraska mailbag to talk all things Huskers. This week, we discuss Nebraska’s success at home at night, what the Huskers have to do to beat Wisconsin, and more.

Great question. Nebraska’s success at home under the lights fascinates me, and it only gets more fascinating the more I dive into it.

First and foremost, the Huskers are 46-5 overall in home night games. That record dates back to 1986 when No. 8 Nebraska played its first home night game ever, beating No. 11 Florida State 34-17.

Even more impressive, the Huskers currently boast 20 straight wins at home under the lights, with the last loss coming against No. 4 Missouri in 2008. The key though, is looking at the situation in each of those meetings. Only twice since 2008 has Nebraska been the underdog for a night game matchup. Those were Oklahoma in 2009 and Michigan in 2015.

If you want to dig into the win probability and odds of Nebraska winning on Saturday, Dirk Chatelain of the Omaha World-Herald has you covered. He looked at every point spread over those 31 years of night games and broke it down into something very interesting to read.

One particular fact Chatelain pointed out? Nebraska opened as a 13-point underdog to Wisconsin, which is the largest underdog scenario for the Huskers at Memorial Stadium in 43 years. The number as of Tuesday night was 12, which still would be the largest number in that same span.

So to answer your question, I have no idea what the night-game aspect will ultimately mean for Nebraska. Maybe there is some Memorial Stadium mojo that just surfaces at the right moment. If that’s the case, it needs to surface ASAP this week.

One major key to defeating Wisconsin will be limiting Tanner Lee’s turnovers. That will be difficult against Wisconsin, because the Badgers are a solid defensive team. As ESPN noted, Wisconsin entered October as one of the 10 best units nationally in scoring defense, rushing defense, total defense and third-down defense.

Where you could maybe take advantage of Wisconsin is in the passing game. As of now, the Badgers are No. 4 in the Big Ten in pass defense. For comparison, they’re No. 2 in both rush defense and total defense in the Big Ten. That’s not a lot of difference, but it’s enough where you might see Nebraska have Lee put the ball in the air more Saturday night.

The trick goes back to those turnovers. Will the offensive line hold up and protect Lee? That’ll be key to creating explosive plays. Wisconsin struggled to defend the deep ball against Utah State, FAU and BYU. The Badgers looked better against Northwestern, but those first three games are enough to raise an eyebrow. However, if the offensive line plays more like it did against Northern Illinois, it becomes a moot point for Lee, who is already prone to poor decision making.

Going back to the question above, I’m going with the offensive line. There’s a lot of pressure on that group to protect Lee because Wisconsin’s defense is a solid unit all-around. If he feels too much pressure, the mistakes will come and the wheels could fall off quickly.

As of now, Morgan has 395 yards over the four games he has played in. He missed Rutgers, which likely would have been another 100-yard game for him. Pending no injuries, Morgan needs approximately 86 yards per game between now and the end of November. That feels very doable, but Nebraska is also getting into the toughest part of its season.

How Lee and Morgan perform against Wisconsin will say a lot about how close he gets to that 1,000 yard mark.

I still have my money on De’Mornay Pierson-El returning a punt this season, so I’d say yes.

There are so many on that roster that I’d like to interview. I’ve interviewed and gotten to know players like Jason Peter, Ralph Brown, Jay Foreman and others over the last few years, so I’ll pick someone I’ve never talked to previously. And please don’t read too much into this: Scott Frost.

I’ve only met Frost once when I was younger and I would love to pick his brain about that 1997 team. Again, don’t read into that anymore than me simply wanting to interview him. I know what saying his name around Husker Nation does right now.

Pepperoni and cream cheese. No competition there for me.

Have a question about Nebraska football? Tweet us @Landof10Huskers and we’ll try to answer your question in a future mailbag. Check to see if your question already was answered by reading previous Nebraska football mailbags here.

The post Nebraska football mailbag: Can the Huskers win at home under the lights of Memorial Stadium? appeared first on Land of 10.

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