On a day where the Nebraska offense would be labeled inconsistent, the defense played their best game of the year to beat Rutgers, 31-14.
Nebraska only allowed a total of 259 yards, forcing Rutgers quarterback Chris Laviano to go 13-of-26 for 165 yards and an interception.
Nebraska safety Nate Gerry led all defenders in tackles with eight and an interception, while linebacker Josh Banderas recorded six, including 1.5 for loss.
The Huskers were up 21-0 late in the second quarter, but the offense fell out of sync, taking a 21-7 lead into the break.
“I think last week’s game fueled a little fire in our team and even though we made it hard, I was really proud of how we played,” said Nebraska head coach Mike Riley on the telecast.
Husker quarterback Tommy Armstrong finished the contest 14-of-21 for 188 yards and three touchdowns, but threw three interceptions.
"I stepped up in the pocket a lot. It bit me in the foot a little bit," said Armstrong. "I need to put my teammates in the right situations."
The Husker running game ran the ball 38 times for 174-yards, led by senior running back Imani Cross’ 20-carry, 90-yard performance. In all, nine Nebraska players registered a carry.
“We have enough weapons, the more you use, the more people are in the game plan, the more engaged they are I think the harder it is for the defense,” said Riley. “It’s nice when guys can contribute like that.”
At 5-6 on the year, Saturday's win was the first time Nebraska has won back-to-back games in the Mike RIley era.
"Knowing that it maybe be coming an an end here shortly, we need to play for each other and have fun," said Nerbaska quarterback Tommy Armstrong. "We want to win out. We had some tough ball games. We need that boost."
Nebraska junior tight end Cethan Carter had the best game of his career, catching a touchdown pass in the second half. The former Louisiana prep also had a TE end-around run in the first quarter for 32-yards finding the end zone.
"We've actually been practicing that play for a while," said Riley. "I like that idea of contribution from all the different spots – wide receivers, tight ends, slot backs, running backs. The more we get of that going forward the better I think our picture will be offensively.”
Going into their only bye week of the season, Nebraska will use the days off to put some major hours into recruiting. But, Nebraska will practice twice with Iowa, who could be their best opponent all season, coming in on Black Friday.
"It feels good," said Riley. "I know the players feel good about that. It certainly sets up this game with Iowa. It’s a big game for a lot of reasons, but for us they are really obviously. It’s a bowl opportunity. It’s playing another top ranked team. Just lots of stuff out there for us. Now with this win it sets the table for that.”
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Sunny skies with temps in the lower 50s, but a wind chill making it feel like it's 45 degrees. Winds are coming out of the Northwest at 17-20 miles per hour. The winds will definitely affect the passing and kicking game today.
8-plays, 78-yards, 4:04
32-yard touchdown run by tight end Cethan Carter
Key Play: With a personnel package that looked like a simple run up the middle on 3rd and 3, Nebraska offensive Danny Langsdorf decided to roll with a TE end around. With a offensive tackle Alex Lewis and fullback Andy Janovich as his lead blockers, Carter was hardly touched.
5-plays, 45-yards, 2:08
Quarterback Tommy Armstrong finds wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp for a 15-yard touchdown
Key Play: On 3rd and 1, Armstrong got out of the pocket and found Lane Hovey on a 19-yard catch. Similar to Carter's touchdown run, it appeared Nebraska would be going up the middle. Hovey fumbled the reception, but did recover.
2-plays, 50-yards, :45
Armstrong 45-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Alonzo Moore
Key Play: Flushed out of the pocket, Armstrong ran to his right side. The Rutgers secondary had busted coverage and allowed Moore behind them. Standing in the end zone, Armstrong bombed it 50 plus yards in the air and Moore pulled down the catch.
3-plays, 6-yards, 1:23
Rutgers running back Robert Martin 1-yard touchdown run
Key Play: On 2nd and ten, Armstrong sailed a throw to Lane Hovey and it was intercepted by Rutgers safety Anonthy Cioffi for 51-yards down to the Scarlet Knight 6-yard line.
2-plays, 35-yards, :39
Rutgers wide receiver Janarion Grant in a wildcat formation, took the snap and threw a five-yard touchdown pass to quarterback Chris Laviano.
Key Play: Once again, a short-field was set up by an Armstrong interception. This time, the quarterback was looking to make a screen pass to tight end Cethan Carter. Rutgers defensive tackle Kevin Wilkins stepped in front of the throw and returned the interception for 10-yards.
8-plays, 75-yards, 4:05
Armstrong being rushed by a Rutgers blitz, connected with tight end Cethan Carter for 11-yards.
Key Play: Nebraska running back Imani Cross took a run to the outside 38-yards, putting the Huskers inside Rutgers 20-yard line.
4-plays, 4-yards, :39
44-yard field goal by Nebraska kicker Drew Brown
Key Play: The short-field drive was set-up by a Rutgers fake punt, that was sniffed out by the Nebraska defense.