Kain Colter's one-yard touchdown run with 1:34 25 upset win over the ninth-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers.
Kenny Bell hauled in a 14-yard TD catch with 18 seconds left, but the ensuing onside kick was recovered by Northwestern.
With Dan Persa unable to go in the second half due to a shoulder injury suffered in the second quarter, the versatile Colter came on and shined in the second half.
Colter completed 4-of-6 passes for 115 yards and a touchdown for Northwestern (4-5, 2-4 Big Ten), which has won two straight after a five-game losing skid. Colter also carried the ball 17 times for 58 yards and two scores and added three receptions for 57 yards.
Third-string quarterback Trevor Siemian also saw time in the second half and completed 3-of-4 passes for 67 yards and an interception.
Persa had 79 yards and an interception on 9-of-14 passing before leaving.
Jeremy Ebert had six receptions for 147 yards, including an 81-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter for the victors.
Taylor Martinez threw for 289 yards and two touchdowns on 28-of-37 passing for the Cornhuskers (7-2, 3-2), who moved a game behind Michigan State for first place in the Legends Division.
Nebraska, which came in averaging 252.1 yards per game on the ground, rushed for just 122 yards on 35 carries.
Rex Burkhead was limited to 69 yards and a TD on 22 carries, while Martinez added 53 yards on the ground.