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The Morning After: Minnesota

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What are folks saying after the Huskers claim the chair & move to 8-2 on the season?

Gallery: Huskers Grate for Eight David McGee

Tom Shatel, Omaha World-Herald: Stats aside, we’ll remember Tommy Armstrong for his toughness

With apologies to Tough Tony Davis, the 1970s bronco from Tecumseh, Nebraska, there’s a new tough guy in town.

We saw him at his best Saturday night, perhaps at his pinnacle, the image and legacy he will leave behind.

Definitely, this is how I will remember Armstrong.

He won’t say it, but I bet the images of Saturday night are just how Armstrong would like to be remembered.

Giving it all for his teammates and school. Taking the start one week after being knocked unconscious at Ohio State and carted off the Ohio Stadium field.

Injuring an ankle, then coming back to lead the winning touchdown drive.

“Tommy is the toughest dude I’ve ever been around,” said NU safety Kieron Williams.

Steven Sipple: Lincoln Journal-Star: Huskers win wasn’t a swish, but it was definitely progress

I don't think I'll call this win a swish. It was a rim-rattler from the start. But let's also acknowledge that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And in Mike Riley's eyes, Nebraska's triumph was supremely gorgeous, particularly in the context of the 62-3 calamity last week at Ohio State.

"I think it's very important to state that," Riley said.

The coach was right. His team had a mental hurdle to clear, and the Huskers soared over it even with senior quarterback Tommy Armstrong unable to finish because of ankle and hamstring injuries.

Let's be clear, though. Armstrong is a finisher. He made clutch plays, as usual, and enhanced his legacy with the toughness and calm he showed throughout the evening and especially during the game-winning drive. He ended up 19-for-27 passing for 217 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing nine times for 61 yards, including 13 for the final touchdown.

Chip Scoggins, Minneapolis Star-Tribune: First place was just an illusion for Gophers Football

No moral victories allowed this time. Nothing about playing hard and keeping it close and never giving up.

The only emotion the Gophers should have felt Saturday night in departing Nebraska’s Memorial Stadium was bitter disappointment over their inability to finish a job that was there for the taking.

With the game up for grabs, one team played like a contender, one team didn’t.

Simple as that.

A 24-17 loss to the Cornhuskers reaffirmed a narrative of their season. The Gophers can beat bad teams, but they stub their toe against competent competition.

Ustreet, The Daily Gopher: Nebraska beats Minnesota 24-17

I’m not sure what happened to the Gophers’ tackling ability in the second half. Basic fundamentals deserted them on every Nebraska scoring drive. The Gophers needed to play a mistake free game to beat the Huskers, and on defense did anything but. Credit to Nebraska’s offensive play calling, which made the necessary adjustments to Sawvel’s game plan. The Cornhuskers were creative on offense and exploited the edges of Minnesota’s defense. Still, it was depressing to see the defense regress so much in the second half.

Dirk Chatelain, Omaha World-Herald: Blackshirt brashness is a welcome site

You gotta hand it to Aaron Williams. The kid has moxie.

On the most important play in a knee-knocking, teeth-chattering, white-knuckle night at Memorial Stadium, the sophomore nickel turned in coverage, deflected a pass with his left hand and watched teammate Kieron Williams grab the interception.

That wasn’t the boldest part, though. As the play was still going, Aaron instantly took off in the other direction, his right index finger raised to the sky, kinda like Steph Curry celebrating a 3-pointer in midair.

“I didn’t even look to see what else he did with the ball,” Aaron said.

Kieron slid to the ground, clinching victory. As the speakers erupted with DJ Kool’s “Let Me Clear My Throat,” Aaron stood in the end zone like a mannequin, flexing his bicep, then saluting the crowd. It was the perfect picture of a night when the Blackshirts restored a little pride and brashness.

Nobody on the national scene will take notice. Nobody on the local scene will forget about 62-3 anytime soon. But Williams and the defense had zero margin for error in the second half Saturday. They stepped up, holding the Gophers to 93 second-half yards and — more important — zero points.