Iowa State Cyclones (4-3)(4-2ATS) v. Nebraska Cornhuskers (4-2)(5-1ATS) Saturday, Oct. 24, 12:30pm ET, Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, NE
by Evergreen of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Iowa State +18/Nebraska -18
A Big 12 North battle is on tap this weekend in Lincoln when the Nebraska Cornhuskers host the Iowa State Cyclones. This is a crossroads game for both squads in terms of their potential bowl profiles and Nebraska cannot afford another letdown loss if they want to stay in the conference championship game hunt. The Huskers are also licking their wounds after getting bumped from the top-25 rankings this week. The game kicks at 12:30pm ET and you may have to head down to your favorite watering hole to check this one out if you dont have a dish at home as the game is off the national telecast schedule.
The Vegas line opened with the Huskers as 19.5 point favorites, but the online bookies have the number at -17.5 or -18 by midweek. Iowa State is on the money line at +650 to +750 with Nebraska in the -900 to -1100 range. The over/under total varies quite a bit depending on the book, with totals ranging from 47.5 to 52.5 all available.
Iowa State righted the ship last week, winning at home against Baylor after dropping consecutive games against Kansas and Kansas State to open the conference season. They sit in 5th in the Big 12 North at 1-2 but every team in the division has at least one loss so pulling the upset on Saturday will put them right back in the mix. The Cyclones have played well on the road this year, going 4-0 against the spread as visitors, but havent fared as well in this series, sporting a 3-9 ATS mark in the last 12 against the Huskers.
Nebraska was looking good after a 27-12 win at Missouri, but took a big step backwards with last weeks 31-10 loss to Texas Tech and now sit behind Kansas State in the conference and Kansas in the overall standings. The Huskers will look to make it five in a row against the Cyclones and have owned the ATS edge in those meetings as well, going 5-2 in the last seven games. The 2008 edition of this matchup had Nebraska taking a 35-7 decision on the road. The Huskers have been a good bet of late, going 6-1 against the spread in the last seven and 4-1 in the last five games in Lincoln.
State will bring the nations 14th best rush offense to the game with tailbacks and quarterbacks contributing to the 213 yards per game average. The Cyclones add 195 yards through the air as a complement and average 26.4 points per contest. The Iowa State defense is pretty pedestrian, allowing nearly 250 yards per game to the pass and almost 400 total yards overall, but do a decent job of keeping points off the board, giving up a respectable 21.6 on average.
Austen Arnaud leads the Iowa State offense and needs to be accounted for in all phases. On the year, he has thrown for 1,248 yards and rushed for 434, with 16 combined touchdowns. Arnaud came out of last weeks game with a hand injury, but is probable for Saturday, but backup Jerome Tiller is a near identical replacement in terms of air and ground potential. Tiller hit on seven of eight passes in relief last week and rushed for 74 yards and a score. Alexander Robinson leads the Cyclones with 735 rushing yards and is a big play threat as a receiver, adding 139 yards and two scores on just eight receptions. Marquis Hamilton leads the receivers with 31 catches and 479 yards and TE Derrick Catlett is coming off his best game of the year with 5 catches and 1 touchdown against Baylor.
In addition to Arnaud, Alexander Robinson is listed as probable with a groin injury and WR Houston Jones is questionable with an ankle.
Nebraska was frustrated on offense last week, but still possesses one of the most balanced units in the NCAA, averaging 233 pass yards and 151 rushing yards per game while putting up 32.3 points per contest. The Husker defense slipped against Texas Tech as well, but still rank in the top-25 in nearly every category including a 12th best total yards allowed mark and allow only 11.8 points per game.
Zac Lee is a talented signal caller for the Huskers, but gave way to Cody Green last week when the offense couldnt get anything going. Lee will be looking for a return to form that has seen him throw for 1,214 yards and ten touchdowns against only three interceptions. Roy Helu is the bellcow in the Nebraska backfield, leading the team with 625 rushing yards and six scores. Helu will be listed as probable for the second week after injuring his shoulder, but is expected to put in a full game on Saturday. Niles Paul and Curenski Gilleylen were noticeably absent last week, but the duo paces the receiving corps with a combined 497 yards and four touchdowns.
Backup RB Rex Burkhead is OUT for Saturday with an ankle injury and S Rickey Thenarse will miss the game due to a knee injury.
Evergreens Pick: Given States run first gameplan and Nebraskas recent struggles on offense, Im taking the under here. The Huskers have the talent to rout the Cyclones but have only averaged 17.3 points per game in the last month when you discount the 55 they hung on Louisiana-Lafayette. Taking Iowa State and the points is not bad either with this one looking like a 24-10 Nebraska win.