‘We’ve got our hands full’: Huskers hope to snap 8-game losing streak against Badgers

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – The battle of the interim head coaches will see two Big Ten schools duke it out in hopes of salvaging their seasons.

But recent duels between the two storied programs have been quite lopsided.

Nebraska has lost eight consecutive games against Wisconsin since being demolished by the Badgers in the Big Ten championship in 2012.

Both teams fired their head coaches this season, and Mickey Joseph and Jim Leonhard were put into the vacant positions.

Regardless of who helms the team and the history of the series, the Huskers will still have a lot on their plate during the last home game of the season on Saturday.

Wisconsin’s recipe of success is “no secret,” Joseph said: “Real good defense, and they like to run the football.”

Once again, Nebraska’s defense will need to prepare for a top-ranked running back.

This week’s challenge: Braelon Allen, who is right behind Chase Brown, Mohamed Ibrahim and Blake Corum in rushing yards this season.

The Huskers haven’t gotten a break against the Big Ten’s 1,000-yard rushers, as Nebraska will now face all of them in four consecutive games.

“The workload has been real,” defensive coordinator Bill Busch said.

Nebraska had plenty of things to say about Allen this week:

» “Really big back and really explosive,” edge rusher Garrett Nelson said. “People were saying he was NFL-ready when he was 16 or 17 years old, which is incredible for him.”

» “This kid is special,” Joseph said. “Someone told me he is 18 years old. To be that big and to be 18, that’s special.”

» “The thing that scares me the most is that when he breaks out, he has finishing ability down the field, that he can take runs 60, 70 yards in that spot,” Busch said.

Nebraska’s defense will have a boost this week, as Myles Farmer, who was suspended one week for a driving under the influence citation, is now back with the team.

Farmer has been a strong component of the Husker defense, which in recent weeks has struggled to stop the Big Ten’s best running backs.

“To have him back means a lot to us,” Busch said.

Busch highlighted the Badgers’ toughness, physicality and ability to run the ball.

He also gave a shout-out to Wisconsin’s quarterback, Graham Mertz, who Busch said can do a lot of things in the air, especially on play action.

“We’ve got our hands full, but we have been prepared extremely well,” he said.

Busch said the team has had an extra focus on securing turnovers, as the Huskers rank 10th in the conference in interceptions.

“When there’s a chance to punch it out, you can’t have a ‘my bad,'” he said. “Or the chance for interception, you can’t have a drop.”

Of course, the Huskers will still be dealing with quarterback mania, with starting QB Casey Thompson currently questionable for Saturday.

And with Chubba Purdy out, Logan Smothers could be the starter against the Badgers.

SEE ALSO: Huskers’ QB chaos: Thompson questionable, Purdy out for Wisconsin game

Busch said the focus right now, despite the challenge ahead, is just to keep doing what the team has been doing.

“We didn’t watch ‘Rocky IV’ before it or any of those things like that,” Busch said. “We just tried to stay steady and do our stuff.”

The Huskers are set to face the Wisconsin Badgers on Saturday at 11 a.m. It will be broadcast on ESPN.

Categories: Husker Sports, Sports