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Nebraska Football: Huskers Boil Purdue 35-14

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Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska barely beat the Purdue Boilermakers by 21 points in an offensively sloppy game after Ameer Abdullah left the game after the Huskers second offensive possession. Nebraska started their first three offensive possessions deep in Purdue territory but only came away with seven points. Nebraska scored a touchdown on one possession, turned it over on downs after a mishandled snap on another, and missed a field goal on the third.

Purdue outgained Nebraska in total offense 340 to 297, but the Husker defense forced the Boilermakers into a three-and-out on it's first four possessions. They held Purdue to 2-of-16 third-down conversions and 1-of-6 on fourth down conversions. Purdue quarterback Austin Appleby completed 18-of-46 passes for 216 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions, while running back Akeem Hunt added 73 yards on 21 carries.

Nebraska's offense stumbled throughout the game despite the decent performance from the defense. The Huskers scored quickly, with Tommy Armstrong Jr hitting De'Mourney Pierson El for a 17-yard touchdown reception after Kieron Williams blocked a Purdue punt giving Nebraska the ball at the Purdue 17 yard line.

Nebraska held Purdue to a three-and-out, then Pierson El returned the ensuing punt 42 yards to the Purdue 16. The Huskers moved the ball to the Purdue one, but turned it over on downs as Armstrong mishandled a snap on fourth down.

Purdue went three-and-out again and Nebraska got the ball at the Purdue 31 after a four-yard punt return by Pierson El. Nebraska would gain only three yards in the next three plays, then Drew Brown missed a field goal from the 28.

Purdue would even the score at 7-7 in the second quarter when Appleby scrambled for a 25-yard run on a quarterback draw. Nebraska would score twice more before the half, as Imani Cross punched it in two-yards out after an eight-play 65 drive that featured all runs and Armstrong kept the ball on an option for a beautiful 29-yard run.

Nebraska stretched the lead to 28-7 in the third quarter when Cross scored his second touchdown from one yard out. The Huskers started the possession in Purdue territory, the big play of the dive coming when Armstrong connected with receiver Jordan Westerkamp for a 24-yard gain to the Purdue 11.

Purdue would cut the lead 28-14 in the fourth quarter when Appleby connected with Cameron Posey for a 23-yard touchdown reception. The Boiler drive started at the Nebraska 32 after Danny Anthrop returned a Sam Foltz punt 28 yards.

Nebraska's final score came after Purdue turned the ball over on downs on their own seven yard line. Terrell Newby finished the drive powering over Purdue tacklers to make it 35-14.

Armstrong completed 8-of-21 passes for 118 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He finished as the top Nebraska rusher with 70 yards on 13 carries, adding a touchdown. Cross rushed 20 times for 68 yards and two touchdowns, while Newby had nine carries for 42 yards and a touchdown.

Nebraska was out-gained by Purdue largely because of field position. The Huskers average starting field position was their own 49, while Purdue's average start was their 28. Nebraska's offense had several miscues including bad snaps which disrupted the timing of plays, and three fumbles, although they lost only one. Nebraska committed only three penalties on the day, including an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the Nebraska bench.

The Husker defense was lead by linebacker Zaire Anderson, who had 11 tackles, including one tackle for loss. Safety Corey Cooper added eight more, including a couple pass break ups to stop Purdue on third down. Safety Nate Gerry intercepted a pass, his fourth consecutive game with such a feat. Defensive tackle Maliek Colins had five tackles, a sack, and nine quarterback hurries, while defensive end Randy Gregory had four tackles, a pass breakup, and three quarterback hurries.

With the loss, Purdue falls to The win moves Nebraska to 8-1 and 4-1 in the Big Ten Conference. The Huskers will face Wisconsin in a showdown in Madison after a bye week.