Note: The 2017 football season is fast approaching. Over 25 days, Husker Extra is taking a look at the top 25 opposing players Nebraska will see on the gridiron this fall. The Big Ten's leading rusher last season is up next.

No. 5: Justin Jackson

Northwestern running back

* Senior, 5-11, 200 pounds

Last year vs. Nebraska: 20 carries for 79 yards as the Blackshirts turned in one of their best performances of the season.

Last season's totals: 298 carries for 1,524 yards and 15 touchdowns with an average of 117.2 yards per game. Jackson's total yards and yards per game led the league, while his 298 carries were second behind Wisconsin's Corey Clement. 

Preseason buzz: Named to the Maxwell Award watch list, Doak Walker Award watch list and Walter Camp Player of the Year watch list.

Why he could give Nebraska fits: While Saquon Barkley gets the majority of the preseason buzz, it's Jackson who led the Big Ten in rushing last season as one of the nation's most durable running backs.

The senior had 76 percent of Northwestern's rushing yards and nearly 60 percent of the Wildcats' total carries last season, and his 298 carries were 95 more than the rest of the team combined.

He is the second-leading rusher in Northwestern history, and is No. 2 among active FBS running backs in career rushing yards.

Nebraska did a good job controlling him last season in Evanston. The Huskers will need to do it one last time this year in Lincoln before Jackson moves on to a pro career. Northwestern is picked to finish ahead of Nebraska in many preseason publications, and Jackson is a big reason why.

He'll see the Huskers: Nov. 4 (Lincoln).

— Chris Basnett

Behind Enemy Lines so far:

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7436 or cbasnett@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraCB.


Husker basketball reporter

A Ravenna native, Chris covers the University of Nebraska men's basketball team and assists with football coverage. He spent nearly 10 years covering sports at the Kearney Hub and nearly four years at the Springfield News-Leader in Springfield, Mo.

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