Just like last week, the Nebraska Cornhuskers let their opponent hang with them til the fourth quarter. But, just like last week, the Huskers delivered the knockout punch in the final 15 minutes.
Behind a record-setting day by Tommy Armstrong and 4 takeaways by the Blackshirt defense, the Huskers pulled away later in a close game by scoring 28 unanswered points. That, and the efficiency on offense late helped the Huskers defeat the Wyoming Cowboys 52-17 Saturday afternoon in front of just under 90,000 at Memorial Stadium.
The Huskers (2-0) had struggles with running the ball, but used 412 yards of passing to defeat the Cowboys (1-1), who seemed to self-destruct late in the Lincoln sun.
Senior quarterback Tommy Armstrong, even throwing one of the most ugliest interceptions you’ll ever see him throw, set the school’s all-time TD pass record today, passing the man he followed, Taylor Martinez. Two Huskers had 100+ yards in receiving, and the Husker offense did amass 520 yards in total offense, in comparison to only 320 to Wyoming.
We started the afternoon with Wyoming winning the toss and deferring to the second half, giving Nebraska the football heading south to north into the wind. Devine Ozigbo got the start for Nebraska at running back ahead of Terrell Newby. On the second play of the game, Tommy Armstrong chucked one down the field for Brandon Reilly, which brought about a pass interference. A rush and dropped snap brought up the first third down of the game, which was converted with a TA to Cethan Carter catch.
However, a botched rush, sack and screen brought up the first punt of the game for Nebraska, which was downed at the Wyoming 33.
The Cowboys started the game with one throw, a jet and a counter, nothing giving them a first down. However, with the wind, the Cowboys did punt and pin the Huskers at their 3 yard line.
Nebraska got out of their shadow with a carry and out to Terrell Newby for a first down. Then, a 39 yard screen to Ozigbo and a 38 yard crossing pattern to Brandon Reilly flipped the field and got the ball down on the Cowboy 7. Armstrong went around right end and avoided the blitz to take the ball into the end zone on the very next play. 7 plays and 97 yards on the drive, and the Huskers led 7-0.
Tommy takes it in - RELEASE THE BALLOONS!— Nebraska On BTN (@NebraskaOnBTN) September 10, 2016
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After the touchback on the kickoff, Wyoming got their first 1st down of the game with Josh Allen finding Tanner Gentry, with that being repeated a couple times for Wyoming to get down into Nebraska territory. However, a couple short gains and a incomplete on 3rd down brought on Cooper Rothe, who #collegekicker’d one off to the right from 42 yards, giving the Huskers the ball on their own 25 yard line.
The first play of the third drive was Armstrong to Jordan Westerkamp, who withstood a safety tackle and took the ball 55 yards to the Wyoming 19 yard line. A counter to Carter took the ball to the 11. A holding call on Sam Cotton negated a swell run around the right end for Armstrong for a touchdown. A failed fade route to Reilly brought the end of the first quarter with Nebraska leading 7-0 and knocking on the door.
The second quarter gave us Armstrong hitting Stanley Morgan inside the Wyoming 5 yard line for a first and goal. However, Armstrong couldn’t throw the ball away, forcing a throw to the end zone and getting intercepted by Andrew Wingard of Wyoming. The Cowboys took the ball out to the 13 yard line. Wyoming did nothing with it, however, as they went three and out and punted back to the Huskers, who got the ball back at their own 36 yard line.
Nebraska came out with a QB keeper by Armstrong, then a laser to Alonzo Moore for 18 yards, a play that review confirmed. A biffed exchange on a zone read and a throwaway brought up third down, where TA hit Moore again on a cross to get in the red zone. But, the drive stalled once again on 2 rushes and a almost pick-6. Josh Brown came in and snuck one inside the left upright to make it 10-0 Nebraska with 9:03 to go in the first half.
Wyoming got it back on the touchback, but another 3 and out by the Nebraska defense comes around and the Cowboys punt, giving the ball back to Big Red on the 35 yard line.
Huskers started the drive with a Newby rush up the middle, then a jet to Reilly right to get the first down, but the play was negated with a Nick Gates personal foul. But, that just gave TA another reason to throw & he hit Alonzo Moore on a slant for a 63 yard touchdown catch and run. 3 plays and 65 yards, and Nebraska found themselves up 17-0.
Click for the 63-yard @Huskers TD, stay for the post-TD hug.— Nebraska On BTN (@NebraskaOnBTN) September 10, 2016
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The Cowboys started the next drive with a good Allen to Gentry throw to get to midfield. A first down got Wyoming some room, but the first down play was a miss from Allen to Harshman. After a rush, third down brought a incomplete pass, with Nate Gerry hitting someone and not getting a flag. #Collegekickers strikes again as well, with Cooper Rothe missing left from 46 yards. That gave Nebraska the ball at their own 29 yard line.
Nebraska started out with a rush and missed throw to Carter. However, Carter got the 3rd down strike from TA to keep the sticks moving. But, that’s was it for the drive from a couple carries and a Carter miss. The punt and return gave the Cowboys back the ball near midfield.
Wyoming got it right across midfield with an Allen scramble down the field, then a gang sack took him back to the Nebraska 40 yard line with 34 seconds in the half. A sack and pass breakup got it to 3rd down, where Wyoming’s got rushed and got a break by Allen recovering his own fumble. Fourth down brought out Allen rolling right, hitting Gentry with a pretty 35 yard TD pass in the back right corner of the end zone. Five plays and 52 yards got Wyoming on the board, making it 17-7 Huskers right before the half. The kickoff & a kneel brought it to the half.
After juice and orange slices, the Cowboys got the ball to start the second half with a touchback. The Cowboys moved into Husker territory with a pass and a jet sweep where Nebraska didn’t shift at all. An Allen to Gentry toss took the Cowboys inside the 30. A loss on a HB tossback & a rollout with a QB late hit put the Cowboys inside the 10 yard line. A rush and a missed throw brought up 3rd down where Allen overthrew his wideout. Cooper Rothe hit his first FG of the game from 27 yards to make it 17-10 Nebraska with 11:08 to go in the 3rd.
The Nebraska drive started well with a good return by Jordan Nelson to the Nebraska 45 yard line. But Nebraska had nothing better to do with it, going 3 & out. Furthermore, Caleb Lightbourn seemed to go rogue and run the rugby punt fake, getting nothing. Wyoming took advantage of it with a run & late hit out of bounds, getting deep in Nebraska territory. A bad run, false start and bad incompletion got it to third down where Nebraska shut the door & should have gotten a grounding. On fourth down and 14 from the 34 yard line, Aaron Williams got the interception to not allow the first down.
Armstrong came out firing with the ball, hitting Reilly to get a initial first down on the drive to get some room. The drive got to midfield on a Wyoming pass interference call. A touchdown screen was wiped off the board by a block in the back from Cethan Carter, and that killed the drive with field position, but the Huskers did punt this time! Lightbourn pinned the Cowboys inside the 10 yard line. After an incompletion, Kieron Williams got the interception and the score.
TIP DRILL! And a @Huskers pick-6 alert in 3, 2, 1 ...— Nebraska On BTN (@NebraskaOnBTN) September 10, 2016
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With the Brown kick, that made the score 24-10 Nebraska.
Wyoming, not to be deterred, got the ball quickly into Nebraska territory with a fly sweep to Austin Conway. A PI to Josh Kalu put it near the 20 yard line and a Allen to Jordan Ellis throw put the ball inside the 5 yard line. Brian Hill put it in the end zone 2 plays later to finish off the 6 play, 76 yard drive and make it 24-17 Nebraska.
The Huskers started the next drive with a first down after a Ozigbo run and a De’Mornay Pierson-El quick hitter. A 46 yard pass from TA to Reilly was overturned by replay. A ladder screen to Westerkamp brought us to the end of the third quarter.
Starting the final 15 minutes, Armstrong hit Newby for the first down on the left edge. A run and screen got the ball inside the 35. Then.... ROOMMATES ACTIVATE. Armstrong to Westerkamp for 34 yards and the TD.
This touchdown pass to @JordanWesty1 had a little extra touch.— Nebraska On BTN (@NebraskaOnBTN) September 10, 2016
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Eight plays and 76 yards for the Touchdown, and it’s all of a sudden 31-17 Nebraska.
Wyoming kept it for the touchback to start the drive on their own 25. A Josh Allen pass was considered backwards, with Ross Dzuris scooping the ball and going inside the Wyoming 2 yard line. The next play, Ozigbo made em pay with the TD. 1 play, 1 yard. 37-17 Nebraska.
Wyoming tried again after another Drew Brown touchback. However, two plays later Nate Gerry intercepted Josh Allen on a overthrown ball. However, nothing happens easy for Nebraska as Gerry got hailed for a unsportsmanlike conduct call. The Huskers got the ball back eventually on their 47 yard line.
A outside carry by Armstrong started off the drive, then Ozigbo got good stuff on a 3rd down to keep the drive alive. A stupid unsportsmanlike by Wyoming helped Nebraska get it into the 10 of Wyoming. Two plays later, Tommy Armstrong set the record for most TD passes by a Nebraska QB hitting Westerkamp again for the score.
There's a new No. ☝ atop the @HuskerFBNation passing TD list.— Nebraska On BTN (@NebraskaOnBTN) September 10, 2016
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Ten plays and 53 yards on the scoring drive made it 45-17 Nebraska with 7:28 to go in the game.
Brian Hill got Wyoming out of the hole with some rushes, but Josh Allen ruined all that with his fourth interception of the game, this time to Chris Jones. Jones returned his second pick of the year to the Wyoming 35 yard line.
Ryker Fyfe came into the game, and wasted no time with the bomb to Gabe Rahn for another TD for Nebraska. 1 play, 35 yards, and all of a sudden it’s a woodshed game at 52-17 Huskers.
Wyoming got the ball back on the touchback. They gave it right back again though, as Josh Allen found Nathan Gerry for Nebraska again. Tre Bryant was inserted into the game to battering ram some Cowboys, gaining yards in fair chunks. When it got to 4th and 4, Nebraska didn’t run the FG crew out there, but did run Bryant again, failing to get the first down.
Wyoming got the ball back with just over a minute in the game, but two runs cleaned the clock and called it a day.
Stat wise, if you take away the 70 yards that Austin Conway had ushered with jet sweeps, the Wyoming offense only had 61 yards on the ground. The top pass catcher of the game was Tanner Gentry for Wyoming, who had 7 catches on 10 targets for 124 yards and 1 TD.
Nebraska wise, Jordan Westerkamp and Alonzo Moore both got over the 100 yard barrier, with Moore leading the way with 109 yards. On a mucky day for rushing for Nebraska, Devine Ozigbo did lead the way with 44 of the team’s 138 yards of rushing for the day.
Nebraska goes to 2-0 on the season and will host the Oregon Ducks next week in Lincoln. The Cowboys will host UC Davis next week in Laramie.