Nebraska quarterback Jeff Sims heads into the end zone for...

Nebraska quarterback Jeff Sims heads into the end zone for a touchdown in the second half of an NCAA college football game against Colorado Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023, in Boulder, Colo. Credit: AP/David Zalubowski

Northern Illinois (1-1) at Nebraska (0-2), Saturday, 7 p.m. ET (FS1)

Line: Nebraska by 10 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: Nebraska leads 3-1.


Nebraska is still looking for its first win under Matt Rhule, and this is no gimme. The Cornhuskers lost at home to Northern Illinois in 2017, and this will be anyone's game if they don't overcome the turnover problem that has gripped them. Rhule says he also wants his players to play looser and shake off the fear of losing that has set in. Northern Illinois knocked off Boston College in its opener but lost last week to FCS Southern Illinois largely because of its own turnover issues.


Northern Illinois defensive line vs. Nebraska offensive line. The Huskies' defense is aggressive and anchored by a veteran front that has three players with more than 20 starts apiece. The left side of Nebraska's offensive line has struggled.


Northern Illinois: QB Rocky Lombardi is in his seventh season of college football and third with the Huskies after transferring from Michigan State. He was the Spartans' quarterback when Nebraska won 9-6 in the snow and cold in 2018, completing only 15 of 41 passes with an interception.

Nebraska: QB Jeff Sims began the week with an ankle injury, but Rhule indicated he would start if he's able. Sims has committed 37 turnovers in 27 career games, and six of Nebraska's eight this season are on his tab.


The home opener begins a celebration of the 100th anniversary of Memorial Stadium. The Huskers have won nearly 75% of their games in the venue and are 77-19-4 in home openers. ... Nebraska’s eight sacks against Colorado were its most since recording nine against Texas in the 2009 Big 12 championship game. ... Northern Illinois' Kacper Rutkiewicz is coming off his first 100-yard receiving game, catching six balls for 139 against SIU. ... Lombardi's 297 passing yards against SIU were the most since he threw for 532 against Kent State in 2021.


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