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2017 Week 3 Preview: NIU Huskies vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers

It’s a homecoming for NIU kicker Christian Hagan and a whale of a matchup for the two squads.

Boston College v Northern Illinois Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Northern Illinois Huskies are 0-3 against Power Five schools since 2015. Their next attempt at breaking that streak will come in Lincoln, Nebraska, on Saturday when they battle with the Cornhuskers of Nebraska.

NIU (1-1, 0-0 MAC) will come into this matchup with a win in hand after a game against Eastern Illinois that was closer than anticpated at first before the Huskies ultimately dominated the second half under new leadership at QB.

Nebraska (1-1, 0-0 B1G), meanwhile, comes into this home game after a chaotic loss to the Oregon Ducks, where the Huskers faded down the stretch during a road upset bid. They’ll look to show some form of dominance after two questionable performances to start the season.

If the Nebraska defense continues to be as mediocre as it has been, NIU has a chance. Nebraska has given up 1,063 total yards of offense, and 497 of those came in week one against Arkansas State. The Huskies have earned a total of 866 yards in their first two matchups and will look to add a significant amount to that total against a Husker defense that has been leaving their fans with questions.

Players to Watch

Daniel Santacaterina, NIU

After Ryan Graham went down with an elbow injury in the opener, Santacaterina stepped into the spotlight and started last week against Eastern Illinois. He threw for 252 yards and three touchdowns on 23 completions. He rushed five times in 14 attempts, so he can get out if needed. Topping this Nebraska defense that’s coming off a week that they gave up 365 yards against a team that historically goes with a run first offense should not be too difficult for this Husky offense.

Christian Hagan, NIU

Yes, he’s a kicker. Yes, he missed the tying field goal at Boston College in week one. He’s not on this list because he’s the best player on the team or a key part to the team. He’s on this list because he hails from nearby Omaha. Last time Hagan played in Lincoln’s Memorial Stadium, he was leading his high school offense in the state championship game. They ultimately lost 23-21, and Hagan will look to help his team get his revenge against Memorial Stadium on Saturday.

JD Spielman, Nebraska

After a year of redshirting, Spielman hit the field for the first time in Nebraska’s opener against Arkansas State. In the matchup with the Red Wolves, he returned a kickoff for a 99 yard touchdown. Although he has just 73 yards to his name on the season, he’s on the verge of having a breakout game. Keep an eye on him.

Game Information

Where: Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, Nebraska.

When: 12 p.m. EST on Saturday, September 16, 2017.

How to View: Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports Go with Tim Brando, Spencer Tillman and Les Miles in the booth and Holly Sonders on the sideline.