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Northwestern 34 Nebraska 31 Recap and Reaction Thread

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Grasping defeat from the jaws of victory

NCAA Football: Nebraska at Northwestern Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

The “Husker” “Power” chant was clearly audible in the radio and TV broadcasts. Husker fans were out in full force at Ryan Field. Northwestern won the toss and deferred. Maurice Washington fielded the touchback.

First Quarter

Of course, the Huskers couldn’t even get the first play off without some yellow laundry. But thanks to Devine Ozigbo and a nice connection between Adrian Martinez and JD Spielman the huskers struck pay dirt only 1:28 into the game. WE CAN HAZ FIRST QUARTER POINTS!!

Nebraska 7 Northwestern 0

The kickoff by Caleb Lightbourn went out of bounds (Nebraska’s second penalty- sigh) and the Wildcats took over at their 35 yard line. The Blackshirts decided they wanted in on the flag fest and the Wildcats were at midfield in short order. Three flags in less than two minutes. IF WE ARE GOING TO BE THE WORST AT SOMETHING - BE THE BEST WORST POSSIBLE!!

The Wildcats could go no further and he underthrew an open receiver (tipped by Lamar Jackson). The touchback gave the Huskers the ball at the 20.

Jack Stoll and Maurice Washington made appearances on this drive. Washington asked to come off the field and was holding his hand or wrist. Devine Ozigbo stepped in and kept the chains moving. We had a Stanley Morgan Jr sighting as Martinez overthrew him on third and six. Barret Pickering doinked the midrange field goal and the drive came up empty.

Nebraska 7 Northwestern 0

Antonio Reed laid a lick to stop a Northwestern receiver short of the sticks and the Huskers forced a three and out. JD Spielman fair caught the punt at the Husker 22 yard line.

The Wildcats forced a three and out of their own. The punt by Isaac Armstrong was short but rolled out of bounds at the Wildcat 30. Clayton Thorson had all day to throw on some plays and connected with a variety of receivers, mostly on shorter passes. The Blackshirts are trying pretty hard to limit the big play, which is opening up the short stuff. The Wildcats dinked their way across midfield where they remembered, the Huskers have a hard time stopping the run too and took to the ground for three straight plays.

Nebraska 7 Northwestern 0

Second Quarter

Mohamed Barry earned a tackle for loss on the fourth straight running play. The Blackshirts did a great job diagnosing a screen play which lost a bunch of yards and removed any chance for a Wildcat field goal. The punt was downed at the Husker eight yard line.

Devine Ozigbo moved the Huskers out of the shadow of the end zone with Kade Warner making his presence known. A great zone read keep by Martinez netted another first down. Last week vs Wisconsin Martinez seemed to be underthrowing a lot of passes, this week he’s overthrowing them. Given that there were some scary near-interceptions vs the Badgers, I’d rather see this.

Bingo cards out? Holding penalty on Nebraska (Jerald Foster). The Huskers were unable to move further. The punt was caught at the 20 yard line. Aaaaand flag #5 on Nebraska (defensive holding).

Flynn Nagel and JJ Jefferson caught everything thrown their way as the Wildcats marched down the field. Freshman cornerback Cam Taylor got in the game action by nearly picking off a pass. I hope to see more of him based on what we heard about him in fall camp. Corner is a difficult position to put a freshman in at, but he’s clearly earning the trust of the coaches.

Somehow, the Blackshirts lost track of Flynn Nagel on a third and eight for the easy Wildcat touchdown.

Nebraska 7 Northwestern 7

Mo Washington brought the kickoff out near the 40 yard line, giving Nebraska good field position. But it was wasted with a three-and-out. Armstrong’s punt went into the end zone for the touchback. The Wildcats mustered one first down but punted back to Nebraska with four minutes left in the half.

Bingo card ready? Martinez fumbled the ball and it was scooped by the Wildcats for the touchdown. The Huskers are now -7 in turnover margin for the season (at or near the bottom of FBS.)

Northwestern 14 Nebraska 7

Nebraska got the ball back with three minutes left in the half. Mike Williams came alive as he caught several passes - two of which moved the chains. With one minute left, the Huskers were at the Wildcat 30 yard line. Devine Ozigbo took it from there as the Husker tempo caught the Wildcats unprepared for the touchdown with 42 seconds left in the half. Pickering shanked the extra point.

Nebraska 13 Northwestern 14

Northwestern originally looked like they were trying to get into field goal range, but ended up running out the half to boos from their fans.

Halftime

Third Quarter

The Wildcats were slinging it all over the field as the Husker pass rush was a day late and dollar short. Just as the Wildcats were knocking on the door, Antonio Reed intercepted the ball on the three yard line.

A plethora of Huskers powered the ball down the field. Stanley Morgan Jr showed his athleticism in grabbing a ball in traffic. Inside the red zone, Devine Ozigbo was a workhorse. He found paydirt on second and goal from the 12 hard line. Touchdown Huskers!! This was the kind of drive that makes defenses hesitate. They don’t know who is going to get the ball and when they do, they can’t stop them anyway (shoutout to Ziggy).

Nebraska 20 Northwestern 14

The Blackshirts sacked Clayton Thorson on their way to forcing a three-and-out. Spielman brought the punt well across midfield, but you knew the flag wasn’t on Northwestern. The Husker drive started on the 38 yard line. During the drive, we were treated to a play where Spielman blocked for Stoll on the perimeter. Gotta love that.

What wasn’t lovable was the interception Martinez threw in the end zone. Throwing into triple coverage tends to end that way. He’s the spark that makes this offense go and I’m glad we have him. When he cleans up some plays like this, he’s going to be damn near unstoppable.

Watching Thorson escape from the clutches of the pass rush to complete the pass is getting old. A pass interference call on the normally-reliable DiCaprio Bootle moved the Wildcats near the red zone. They would go no further and brought out Drew Luckenbaugh to kick his first ever field goal in a college game. He missed.

Nebraska 20 Northwestern 14

No biggy, just Devine Ozigbo juking and jiving and carrying Wildcats around the field to move the Huskers to the NW 40 yard line. End of third quarter.

Nebraska 20 Northwestern 14

Fourth Quarter

My stream cut out, but i think Stanley did something awesome to get Nebraska into the red zone. Correct me in the comments if I’m wrong. A couple plays later Mo Washington found the edge and the end zone. Touchdown Nebraska!! The two-point conversion was taken by Adrian Martinez over the top of linebacker Paddy Fisher. Not something you want to see your QB do often, but the try was good.

Nebraska 28 Northwestern 14

The blitz didn’t get home but Nagel did. Touchdown Wildcats. 12:31 left in the game. Mark off Husker defenders running into each other on your bingo card.

Nebraska 28 Northwestern 21

Wyatt Mazour fielded the short kickoff and brought it up to the Husker 34 yard line. After punishing the Wildcats with Ozigbo throughout the third quarter, the plan was apparently to run around them with Washington in the fourth.

The Huskers were faced with a fourth and very very short one, but given that they haven’t converted one yet all year and they were still in their own territory, Frost did the right thing (IMO) and punted. Armstrong’s punt took a fortuitous bounce and pinned Northwestern inside the 10 yard line.

Bennett Skowronek moved the Wildcats away from their own end zone. Antonio Reed was injured on the play. As the Wildcats approached midfield, Flynn Nagel and Dedrick Youn II bobbled the ball around and it was picked off by Tre Neal.

Bryan Reimers made his presence known as he caught a ball inside the red zone. A fumbled handoff on third and one was fortunately recovered by Washington, who not only prevented the turnover but gained the first down.

The drive stalled inside the 20 and Barret Pickering came out for the 34 yard field goal try. The kick was good with 5:41 left in the game.

Nebraska 31 Northwestern 21

The Blackshirts gave up a very untimely fourth and ten with the wildcats deep in Husker territory. Sigh.

A bullshit PI call on Bootle moved the Wildcats past midfield where they dinked their way toward field goal range. A bullshit non-call for intentional grounding followed. Thorson grounded it again a play later, but he appeared to be out of the tackle box on that one. Khalil Davis was injured on the play.

On their second fourth and 10 play of the drive, the Wildcats again converted. First and ten at the ten yard line. Another bullshit (probably not, but I thought it was great coverage anyway) PI call, this time on Aaron Williams set the Wildcats up with a first and goal at the three yard line. Thorson took a sack out at the 12 yard line and the clock moved under three minutes. Northwestern’s kicker hit the 31 yard field goal. 2:27 left in the game.

Nebraska 31 Northwestern 24

The Huskers lined up to field the onside kick. It was recovered by Luke Gifford near midfield.

As expected, Ozigbo received the handoff. Northwestern has three timeouts and they started to use them as soon as the carry gained nothing.

The second down carry also went for naught and Fitzgerald stopped the clock with 2:16 left in the game. The Spielman carry only gained there and the Wildcats used their final timeout.

Isaac Armstrong nailed the punt which absolutely died at the one yard line.

OF COURSE THERE IS A FLAG ON NEBRASKA - roughing the passer on Carlos Davis. Luke Gifford appeared to have leg cramps and received attention from the trainers. The penalty moved the Wildcats out to the 16 yard line.

The Wildcats drew their first flag of the day. A false start.

The clock moved under a minute.

Le sigh. Holding on Aaron Williams which gave the Wildcats a first and 10 at the 32. Then a big strike set up first and goal at the five yard line with 17 seconds.

After a spiked ball, the Wildcats found the end zone. Touchdown Northwestern. 12 second left.

Nebraska 31 Northwestern 31

Martinez kneeled the ball with 9 seconds left to go to overtime.

Overtime

Northwestern won the toss and elected to go on defense. Good grief. On third and a very short one, a false start on Nebraska (Boe Wilson) moved them back five yards. Spielman got the penalty yardage back, but was short of the first down.

Fourth and one. The snap was fumbled and after scrambling around Martinez threw an interception in the end zone.

The Wildcats get their shot knowing that they only need a field goal to win the game. And that is exactly what they did.

The field goal was good.

Final. Northwestern 34 Nebraska 31

Shit.