A pair of interim coaches will battle for one of college football’s newest rivalry trophies when Wisconsin visits Nebraska in a Big Ten Conference game on Saturday in Lincoln.
Established in 2014, the Freedom Trophy is up for grabs, and Nebraska (3-7, 2-5) will attempt to win it for the first time while snapping an eight-game losing streak to Wisconsin (5-5, 3-4).
The Cornhuskers clinched a sixth consecutive losing season, the longest stretch since finishing below .500 from 1956-61, with 34-3 loss at No. 3 Michigan last week. The ‘Huskers gained 146 yards, their fewest since netting 132 in a 2018 loss at Michigan.
Nebraska has dropped four games in a row after starting 2-1 under interim coach Mickey Joseph, scoring only 25 points in the past three games.
“I think overall the kids are playing hard under the circumstances they’re playing under,” Joseph said. “They’re not quitting.”
Wisconsin lost 24-10 at Iowa in its most recent game, dropping to 3-2 under interim coach Jim Leonhard. The loss kept the Badgers from joining what is currently a four-way tie for first place in the Big Ten’s West Division at 4-3.
“We’ve got to find a way to punch our way out of it,” Leonhard said after Wisconsin managed just 227 yards and turned the ball over three times. “You have to get comfortable in uncomfortable situations. We’ve got to learn from adversity with a loss.”
Sophomore running back Braelon Allen, who has six 100-yard rushing games this season, gave Wisconsin a 1,000-yard rusher for the sixth year in a row (not counting the COVID-shortened 2020 season). He’ll face a Nebraska defense that allows an average of 191 yards per game on the ground.
Nebraska enters another game with uncertainty surrounding the starting quarterback spot.
Chubba Purdy started his second straight game against Michigan but was pulled for Logan Smothers, while Casey Thompson — who started the first eight games — entered this week listed first on the depth chart.
–Field Level Media