- Scott Powers, ESPN Staff Writer
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Northwestern (3-5) at No. 10 Nebraska (7-1)
When, where: 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Neb.
TV: Big Ten Network
Radio: WGN-720 AM
What you need to know: Northwestern found the win column again last week with a 59-38 win over Indiana after losing its previous five games. The Wildcats’ offense was clicking in every way, but the defense continued to have its troubles. Northwestern should benefit from the return of defensive lineman Tyler Scott and linebacker Bryce McNaul this week, but Nebraska is a different animal, too. The Cornhuskers are among the nation’s top 10 teams in rushing offense and are averaging 35.9 points per game. Northwestern will be the heavy underdog with Nebraska favored by as many as 18 points.
Powers’ prediction: Nebraska 41, Northwestern 27
Notre Dame (5-3) at Wake Forest (5-3)
When, where: 7 p.m. Saturday at BB&T Field in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Radio: WLS-890 AM
What you need to know: Notre Dame took care of Navy without any problems last week after falling to USC the week before. The Irish’s running game was especially dominant in the victory. Wake Forest has been up and down all season. The Demon Deacons are coming off a loss to North Carolina. They allowed 562 yards last week. Notre Dame’s offense could have a similar day.
Powers’ prediction: Notre Dame 41, Wake Forest 24
Northern Illinois (6-3) at Bowling Green (4-5)
When, where: 7 p.m. Tuesday at Doyt L. Perry Stadium in Bowling Green, Ohio
Radio: WSCR-670 AM
What you need to know: Northern Illinois took the driver’s seat in the MAC West after its dramatic 63-60 win over Toledo on Tuesday. The Huskies rank sixth in the country in total offense and have been averaging 41.2 points. Chandler Harnish is among the nation’s top quarterbacks in passing and rushing. Bowling Green’s defense has been consistently solid for much of the season, but did allow 45 points to Western Michigan earlier in the year.
Powers’ prediction: Northern Illinois 41, Bowling Green 28
Tennessee State (3-5) at Eastern Illinois (2-7)
When, where: 1:30 p.m. Saturday at O’Brien Field in Charleston, Ill.
What you need to know: Eastern Illinois snapped its seven-game losing streak with a 19-10 win over Austin Peay last week. Jake Walker rushed for 124 yards and a touchdown in the win. The Panthers will be looking to send coach Bob Spoo out with a victory in his final home game. Spoo will be honored for his 25 years at Eastern Illinois after the game.
Powers’ prediction: Eastern Illinois 34, Tennessee State 31
Western Illinois (2-6) at Illinois State (6-3)
When, where: 1 p.m. Saturday at Hancock Stadium in Normal, Ill.
Web: GoLeathernecks.com, GoRedbirds.com
What you need to know: Illinois State will attempt to knock off its second in-state opponent in as many weeks. The Redbirds topped Southern Illinois 38-30 last Saturday and have been on a roll with four consecutive wins. Illinois State’s running game has been slowed down the past few weeks and will be looking for a boost against Western Illinois. The Leathernecks are on a three-games losing streak. They allowed nearly 500 yards of offense in last week’s 56-14 loss to Youngstown State.
Powers’ prediction: Illinois State 38, Western Illinois 20
Southern Illinois (2-6) at South Dakota State (3-6)
When, where: 2 p.m. Saturday at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium in Brookings, S.D.
What you need to know: There hasn’t been much between Southern Illinois winning and losing the last five weeks. If a play here or there goes the Salukis’ way, they would have likely won all five games. That didn’t happen, though. Southern Illinois is riding a five-game losing streak after last week’s loss to Illinois State. South Dakota State has endured its own struggles this season. South Dakota State leads the conference in passing offense, and Southern Illinois leads it in passing defense.
Powers’ prediction: South Dakota State 34, Southern Illinois 24