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The Morning After: Rutgers

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Nebraska needed some second-half gusto to hold off Rutgers. What do folks have to say about it today?

Rutgers v Nebraska Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images

Tom Shatel, Omaha World-Herald: Huskers win ugly, but surviving is their goal

Nebraska won on Saturday, beat Rutgers 27-17. It wasn’t pretty. It was pretty functional. There’s your headline and summary. Drive home safely.

Many in the crowd of 89,775 might have thought about hitting the exits when, just 53 seconds into the second half, Tanner Lee threw his ninth interception of the season and third pick-six to give the Scarlet Knights a 17-14 lead.

Many, however, stuck around to boo as the junior quarterback jogged back on the field with the offense.

In a week of change, they wanted more. A different quarterback.

They got something different, all right. A victory. The first since the Arkansas State opener went down to the last play.

Take it. Advance and Survive.

Steven Sipple, Lincoln Journal Star: Stone Cold Lee shrugs off boo birds while teammates have his back

But the win against moribund Rutgers (1-3) — which last defeated a Power Five team in October of 2015 — represented a return to a semblance of normalcy for Nebraska (2-2). That had to feel good for essentially everyone involved.

Yeah, even Lee.

"I remember talking to him on the sideline (after the boos), and he said all that white noise doesn't faze him," Spielman said.

It couldn't have been easy, though. Lee is flat-out struggling. He finished 13-for-26 for 109 yards and two touchdowns. He also threw a second-quarter pick that the Scarlet Knights turned into a field goal.

Lee's third-quarter interception, though, elicited memories of his two pick-six throws last week.

"I made a dumb play there," he said. "That's for sure."

Steve Politi, NJ.com: Poor Rutgers play-calling contributes in failed upset bid

This was a potential victory that would have changed the trajectory of the program, ended that 14-game Big Ten losing streak and given head coach Chris Ash the type of tangible progress that he could use on the recruiting trail. The Scarlet Knights can blame themselves for not stealing this one, and that includes the coaches for their questionable (at best) play calling during one critical stretch.

Aaron Breitman, OnTheBanks: Rutgers falters after second-half lead, loses to Nebraska 27-17

Overall, there were some encouraging moments, but Rutgers simply wasn’t good enough to take advantage of a Nebraska team that was on the cusp of breaking after the pick six to start the second half. A lack of execution and mental mistakes led to the loss. The absence of Janarion Grant, the team’s top playmaker, was certainly a factor. Inexperience certainly impacted their performance as well, as over 30 players on the Rutgers side had never been in a road game before today. It was a disappointing loss and now Rutgers prepares to host Ohio State next Saturday night.

Dirk Chatelain, Omaha WH: In the stands of Memorial Stadium, Husker fans grapple with doubt, cling to hope

At the end of a hectic week in Nebraska football — following a stunning loss to Northern Illinois and the firing of Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst — 89,775 fans gathered for Saturday afternoon church, praying for a sense of normalcy. I was there with them.

One hour before kickoff, I bought three tickets off the street for a total of $30. I spent roughly one quarter in each spot, saving an eagle’s perch for the ending. What better place to check the pulse of Husker fans.

Over the course of 3½ sweaty hours, the most devoted fans in college football expressed nerves, hope, fury, joy, defiance and — ultimately — relief.

2-2 isn’t good, but it beats the alternative.