This article was originally published in October of 2018. It has been updated ahead of the 2019 Northwestern-Nebraska game.
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Nebraska and Northwestern have played four nonconference games — the first in 1902 on Antelope Field — but none carry the same weight as a statement game in the 2000 Alamo Bowl.
Northwestern, the co-Big Ten champions, had been vocal about the opportunity to play Nebraska.
The Huskers quickly quieted such talk.
No. 9 Nebraska pulverized the No. 18 Wildcats 66-17 before 66,028 at the Alamodome. The 66 points were the most ever scored by a team in a postseason bowl game, and the scoring total was one of a number of records the Huskers set in finishing off a 10-2 season.
The Wildcats, 14½ point underdogs, weren't lacking confidence.
"We don't pay attention to papers," Northwestern defensive lineman Dwayne Missouri said in the weeks leading up to the game. "Most of the season we've been underdogs. We just look at it and say that's funny."
Nebraska was seemingly the underestimated team.
"All week, to add to the spice, the Wildcats were yapping," Tom Shatel wrote in the Dec. 31, 2000, edition of The World-Herald. "They talked about how they were going to rough up Eric Crouch. They talked about their no-huddle offense like it was a computer chip only they could read. They smirked all week as if they knew something.
"Yawn. What a letdown. Nebraska was bigger, stronger, faster and better than Northwestern. Thanks for coming. And drive home safely."
While that was the biggest win in the series, the most exciting probably ended in the hands of former Nebraska receiver Jordan Westerkamp.
Setting the stage: The year is 2013. Nebraska is coming off a 34-23 loss to Minnesota, putting a major damper on NU's Big Ten title chances. The Blackshirts allowed three Northwestern touchdowns in the first 20 minutes, digging itself into a 21-7 hole.
But then the light turned on. The Huskers held the Wildcats to three points the rest of the way, using a Quincy Enunwa touchdown reception and an Avery Moss pick-six to tie the score before Northwestern hit a go-ahead field goal with 1:20 left.
So the Huskers, behind fifth-year, former walk-on quarterback Ron Kellogg, went to work.
Kellogg fielded the shotgun snap at his own 45, scrambled back to the 39, took three steps up and launched a Hail Mary that was tipped by the Wildcat defense into the waiting hands of Westerkamp for the game-winning score.
» Nine of 12 matchups between the Huskers and Wildcats have been decided by 12 points or fewer. Nebraska won the three that weren't.
» Nebraska is 7-5 against Northwestern, including 4-4 since joining the Big Ten.
» After Saturday, Northwestern will be tied for the 19th most common opponent in Nebraska football history with 13 games played.
» Nebraska is 12-2-1 all time on Oct. 5. The first three were shutout victories, and the last eight have been Husker wins, too.
» Nebraska has one player from Illinois — walk-on kicker Matt Waldoch, who the Huskers added from the club soccer team for kicking depth. All time, Nebraska has 99 players from Illinois, including 82 scholarship athletes.
» Northwestern has one player from Nebraska, sophomore punter Cody Gronewold, a Lincoln Northeast graduate.
» The average score between the two teams is Nebraska 30, Northwestern 20.7.
» In 2017, Northwestern beat Nebraska 31-24 in overtime. It led to this infamous quote from then-defensive coordinator Bob Diaco: "There’s no reasonable reason — considering where the defensive program was at — to believe that they should be able to do everything that needs to be done in the game, to win the game. The strain was spectacular, right So we could just go back and look at the game. Do you see the strain? Do you see it, or no?”
You can see every Nebraska football game, from 1890 to today, in The World-Herald’s extensive Husker History database. Also included? When NU last appeared at every spot in the AP Top 25, an overview of every coach, data on the sellout streak and so much more.
Husker History: Nebraska football's 25 most common opponents
Who are the Huskers' biggest gridiron rivals? Check out a photo collection featuring Nebraska's 25 most-faced opponents, and be sure to follow Husker History on Twitter for more tidbits about NU's storied football history.