LINCOLN, Neb. – Down 24-20 midway through the third quarter against No. 7 Michigan State, Nebraska was driving on Sparty’s 7-yard line after a 35-yard pass from Tommy Armstrong to Brandon Reilly.
The ultimate drive killer.
Armstrong walked back to the sidelines and motioned up. A poor pass. Maybe caused by poor mechanics, but ultimately the junior knew he had missed an opportunity. An opportunity he hoped to get again.
It is the major difference with Armstrong this season compared to his sophomore year. After a mistake, the third-year starter is able to reflect and move on. There is no lingering effects.
“I think it’s just more in the trust my team has for me,” said Armstrong, when asked about shaking off mistakes. “My guys tell me, ‘We go off of you.’ My coaches always are telling me, ‘These guys are going to feed off of your energy. They’re going to feed off how you react to certain things and how you respond certain ways.’ Yeah I made mistakes at certain times, but just letting it go and showing those guys, ‘Yeah I made a mistake, but when I get out there next time I’ll make up for it.’”
Make up for it he did.
The Huskers had three more offensive possessions in the game. All three were touchdowns – including a 91-yard drive that took just :38 to win the game.
“I thought he responded well and came back and had a beautiful drive to win it,” said Langsdorf. “He just kept playing."
Back to the team feeding off the resiliency of Armstrong.
“Tommy is a battler, he never stops fighting,” said Riley on ESPN.
“”It’s actually a good representation of our team and about how he played and how competitive he was, and the plays he made at the end I think were just outstanding. The poise that he showed and how competitive he is to play, I think that is awesome.”
The Huskers are battling. A loss to Purdue in week nine didn’t look pretty. But even in that contest Nebraska battled back to try to make it a game. They didn’t lay down.
A 4-6 record isn’t what most expected. It could easily be 6-4 or 7-3. But it also could be 3-7.
Down double-digits to a top ten ranked team in the second half. Nebraska could have easily just done enough to stick around and claimed a moral victory against Michigan State.
Lucky for Nebraska fans, Tommy Armstrong is the quarterback.