OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME:
The senior back didn’t have the flashiest game of his career, but he put the team on his back when they needed him the most for the second consecutive game. Newby finished the game with 102 yards on the ground in 22 attempts (4.6 average) and one touchdown. The California native shined the most in the Huskers’ final drive on offense when they went 60 yards in 7:41 to have Drew Brown kick an insurance field goal.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME:
The junior corner did not jump out in the stat book today, but he sure proved that he is the Blackshirts’ best weapon on defense. Jones had a big pick-six late in the first quarter for 33 yards that put the Huskers up 17-0. The 6-foot, 185-pound Florida native also contributed for two tackles and two pass breakups on the day, and clearly improved his draft stock. Jones rarely gets thrown at because he is Nebraska’s best corner, but when he does he is all over his defender, which he displayed today.
The Moment It Was Over:
Sophomore DB Aaron Williams’ interception in the 4th quarter with just 30 seconds left in the game sealed the deal for the Huskers. Nebraska knelt on the following play to watch the seconds tick off the clock.
Quote To Note:
“There is so much football we need to do better, but at the same time I would not trade this group for anything because of the way they fight. They hung in there together. It was a good team win.” – Nebraska head coach Mike Riley
What A Nebraska Win Means:
The Huskers have now improved their undefeated record to 6-0 and will maintain a top 10 ranking. This win marks the Huskers’ first 6-0 start since 2001. Nebraska is also 3-0 in the Big Ten and still leads the West. A win today also guaranteed the Huskers a bowl game.
* Injuries. The Huskers were bombarded with injuries a few weeks ago in their game against Illinois. Tommy Armstrong Jr. was banged up heading into this game, and it showed as he had his worst outing this season. It was evident that Jordan Westerkamp and Cethan Carter were missed in the passing game today. David Knevel went down after the first play of the game and did not return. Dylan Utter and Nick Gates were also banged up in this one, and the Huskers are now digging deep into their rotation for their offensive line.
* As noted above, Tommy Armstrong Jr. did not play like an experienced senior quarterback. The Texas native finished the game going 10-26 through the air for 208 yards and one touchdown. What Husker fans will remember most from his performance was his two interceptions on the day, especially his second which looked like a hopeless, throw-it-up-for-grabs type of pass off of his back foot. The 72-yard touchdown to Stanley Morgan Jr. could also be debated as luck as the senior threw into triple coverage and relied on the sophmore Louisiana native to make a play. Armstrong Jr. deviated away from his strong season thus far, and looked like the quarterback he was a year ago.
* The Huskers’ special teams looked atrocious. Caleb Lightbourn’s punt in the Huskers’ end zone was blocked in the 2nd quarter for a Hoosiers’ safety. This play gave Indiana it’s first points of the game and also gave them life for the rest of the game. The Hoosiers also had a 39-yard punt return at the end of the 3rd quarter to set up a touchdown.
* Nebraska continues to struggle with penalties. The Huskers finished with nine on the day for a total of 53 yards. The majority of these penalties came from the defensive side of the ball, where they had multiple offside calls. Despite giving up free yards, the Huskers managed to survive this week, but these penalties need to be cleaned up for the future.
* Drew Brown continues to have an impressive season. The junior kicker recorded two field goals on the day, one of which was a season-high for him at 40-yards. Brown now has 16 career field goals of 40 yards or more as a Husker.
* Senior Brandon Reilly made a no-doubt ESPN Top Ten catch early in the first quarter that set up a Terrell Newby touchdown. That catch aided the senior in passing 1,000 career receiving yards. Reilly is now just the 24th player in school history to surpass 1,000 career receiving yards.
* Nebraska’s defense stepped up and was hands-down the difference maker in their win. Collectively, the team recorded three sacks, seven tackles for loss and two interceptions. The Blackshirts also held Indiana to just 88 yards on the ground. Head coach Mike Riley went to say that the defense was “overall outstanding.” Senior linebacker Josh Banderas recorded a season-high 11 tackles. Chris Jones, Joshua Kalu, Nate Gerry, Aaron Williams, and Kieron Willaims all played extremely well in both the run and pass game. The secondary played great coverage and held up to their slogan as “Lockdown U.”
* Mike Riley has some big…guts. After going for it on 4th and short in the 4th quarter against Illinois, the head coach made the same call today against Indiana. In a 4th and short near the 50-yardline late in the 4th quarter, the Huskers converted and later went on to connect on a 39-yard field goal. This aggressive play call has worked out thus far for the Huskers, and Huskers fans have got to love the faith he has in his offense.