As Harvey sees it: Nebraska - Northwestern

Come inside to read BRR's Josh Harvey's observations from Nebraska's win over Northwestern.

No. 19 Nebraska: 38 at Northwestern: 17

Big Red Report scoring recap/setup: CLICK HERE

AP game recap: CLICK HERE

Player of the Game: Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah took a little time to get going, but ended the game with four touchdowns and 146 yards rushing.

The moment it was over: Early in the fourth quarter when Abdullah rushed 50-yards to the Northwestern 1-yard line to set up a touchdown the very next play. It made the score 28-17 Nebraska, with the Huskers having all the momentum.

What a Nebraska win means: The Huskers should move up the polls and continue to control their destiny in the Big Ten western division. With just one loss, it also means Nebraska has a shot of making the college football playoff if they were to win out.

Nebraska offensive coordinator Tim Beck:

Video by’s Beth Long

After a somewhat slow start offensively in the first half, Nebraska came alive in the second, scoring 24 unanswered points to beat Northwestern on Saturday night. Nebraska (6-1, 2-1) became bowl eligible for the seventh time in the last seven seasons.

“I thought we played pretty inconsistent in the first half,” said Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini. “I thought the second was a really good team effort. We played how we are capable of playing. We did a lot of good things in that second half.”

While admitting there was definitely things at halftime he was not happy with his, Pelini gave credit to his team for not panicking when they headed to the locker room down 17-14 at the break.

“Certainly we have a long way to go, but I see us getting better,” said Pelini, who received a $150,000 bonus for becoming bowl eligible. “I see some areas that continue to need work. It’s obvious to me. But I’m happy for the win and it’s a good program. We have a lot of respect for Northwestern.”

* After struggling for nearly seven quarters, Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah really got going in second half. Award voters will just look at the box score and see some big numbers. They won’t be able to tell that he struggled on the natural grass. Abdullah passed Ahman Green for No. 2 all-time on the Nebraska career rushing chart and is the first player in program history to rush for 1,000 yards in three straight seasons.

* I have been waiting all year to see wide receiver De’Mornay Pierson-El throw a touchdown pass and we finally got to see it tonight. The kid was a high school quarterback, so the throw he had to make wasn’t that difficult. It really looks the coaching staff used the bye week to try to find ways and coach Pierson-El up on offense. I really feel like DPE is turning into the player so many Husker fans wanted to see Jamal Turner be over the years. He’s the first person to throw a touchdown, record a receiving touchdown, and a have a punt return touchdown in the same year since 2000.

* Credit Nebraska’s defense for the second straight year stepping up and stopping Northwestern’s offense in the second half. The Wildcats had less than 30 total yards in the second. Last season the Huskers held Northwestern to just three points in the second half.

* A hell of a performance by junior defensive tackle Kevin Williams, who’s been so hampered in his career by injury. Williams practiced well according to Pelini this entire week. He got likely extra reps because starter Vincent Valentine banged up his elbow. More coming on that Monday.

* Against Michigan State Nebraska didn’t really rotate on the offensive line, but this week they decided three reserves should play big time snaps: tackle Givens Price, center Ryne Reeves, and guard Chongo Kondolo. Some would argue the offense played better when they were in the game. They definitely were fresh. I think it’s a strategy that Nebraska should continue to explore going forward.

* Say what you want about Tommy Armstrong, but the sophomore played well on Saturday night and possibly grew up a little bit. He was a different quarterback in the second half connecting on the third down plays he needed to. He’s still got plenty of areas to improve on, but it looks like the bye week was good to him. If his receivers hadn’t of dropped some key balls, his numbers would have been even better.

* Northwestern freshman running back Justin Jackson is going to be a special player down the road. You can see how talented he is when he touches the football.

* Nebraska fans need to be thankful grass will no longer have an impact on the Huskers this season. I couldn't tell you if the o-lineman like it or not, but I think it's pretty easy to see that Ameer's ability to cutback (which he does so effectively) is definitely hampered by the wet grass. His cuts are one of the best things he does in his game.

* Former Creighton hoops standout and now Chicago Bull Doug McDermott was assigned the job of pumping up the Northwestern crowd in second half. Wearing a Wildcat polo, McDermott saw Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah rush for 50-yards on a play just moments after McDermott’s mug was on the video board.

* Nebraska senior receiver Kenny Bell, who inched really close to becoming Nebraska’s all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards, did have a few drops on Saturday night. His groin is obviously continuing to bother him as well after being hobbled a few times on the field. Bell took to Twitter on Saturday to call out some of his haters on social media after the game.

* All of Sam Foltz’s five punts were inside the Northwestern 20-yard line. Credit Foltz or complain about the offense’s inability to sometimes capitalize around the 50-yard line, but Foltz is doing a great job.

* Last but not least, I thought Tim Beck called a great game. A lot of people won’t necessarily agree with me, but he kept Northwestern guessing and continued to still run the ball when it wasn’t always working.

Credit to Nebraska media relations

Big Red Report will have more from Evanston on Sunday afternoon, including words from Nebraska defensive coordinator John Papuchis and post game from various players. Plus, how high do the Huskers rise in the top 25?

Big Red Report Top Stories