(Saturday, November 5th)
Final Score: Northwestern 28, (9) Nebraska 25
Lincoln, NE (Sports Network) - Kain Colter's one-yard touchdown run with 1:34 remaining sealed the win for the Northwestern Wildcats as they escaped hostile Memorial Stadium with a stunning 28-25 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.
"The sky is the limit for him and for his future," Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald said of Colter. "But more importantly he just stayed in the framework of the offense. To take advantage of the clock, to do things that winning quarterbacks do. The first guy that goes up to him is Dan Persa. So that's what we've got; we've got a football family."
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.
"I think in the beginning they were in a different front than what our offensive linemen expected, and maybe it threw them off a little bit. I think in the second half we still couldn't really figure out how to block, and I think that's what killed everything in our running game," Martinez said.
Rex Burkhead was limited to 69 yards and a TD on 22 carries, while Martinez added 53 yards on the ground.
Burkhead got in from a yard out to pull Nebraska within 21-18 with 8:55 remaining in regulation.
But the Wildcats took 7:21 off the clock on their ensuing drive.
Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald opted to go for it on 4th-and-1 at the 18 instead of attempting a 35-yard field goal. Colter converted the 4th-and-1 with a four-yard run off the right side and then ran for two yards to move the sticks again on 3rd-and-1 from the five.
Colter's sneak on 3rd-and-goal concluded the 13-play, 66-yard drive.
The Wildcats finished off a six-play, 59-yard opening second-half drive with a Colter three-yard TD scramble to give Northwestern a 14-3 lead.
Northwestern moved the ball 48 yards to Nebraska's 15 on its next possession, but Simien's pass in the end zone was intercepted by Austin Cassidy, who returned the pick 50 yards to midfield.
Nebraska marched 50 yards in eight plays for its first touchdown of the game late in the third quarter. Martinez found Tim Marlowe streaking over the middle for a 15-yard score to make it a 14-10 game.
Colter's 17-yard run helped set up a 45-yard field goal attempt by Jeff Budzien, but his kick sailed wide left as the Cornhuskers regained possession at the 28-yard line with 14:45 to go in the fourth quarter.
After a Cornhuskers three-and-out, Ebert broke open deep down the middle and Colter found him for an 81-yard score to give Northwestern a 21-10 lead with 12:16 remaining in regulation.
It was a mistake-riddled first half as each team turned the ball over twice in the opening 30 minutes.
Northwestern made the first miscue of the game on its first possession as Colter made a bad pitch on an option play. Will Compton recovered the ball for Nebraska at the 41-yard line.
But the Cornhuskers went three-and-out and the Wildcats responded with a long 13-play, 80-yard march that resulted in a Jacob Schmidt two-yard TD run to give Northwestern a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter.
After racking up just one first down on their first two possessions, the Cornhuskers' offense maneuvered the ball 73 yards in 13 plays, but David Nwabusi stripped Burkhead inside the red zone and Tyler Scott recovered at the six-yard line.
The Cornhuskers were unable to hold onto the ball again on their next possession. Quincy Enunwa was stripped by Jeravin Matthews after hauling in a 15-yard reception on the second play of the drive and Jimmy Hall recovered at the 19-yard line.
With 4:04 to go in the second quarter, Persa's pass was tipped by Baker Steinkuhler at the line of scrimmage and Lavonte David came down with the interception at the Northwestern 37-yard line. Brett Maher's 36-yard attempt split the uprights to make it a 7-3 game at halftime.
These combatants last met on December 30, 2000 in the Alamo Bowl. The Huskers manhandled the Wildcats, 66-17...Nebraska owns the tiebreaker over Michigan State due to its 24-3 win over the Spartans last Saturday...It's Northwestern's first win in Lincoln in its program's history.
11/05 21:26:02 ET