Huskers fall to Northwestern in overtime

By  | 

EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) -- Clayton Thorson threw for 455 yards and three touchdowns, and Drew Luckenbaugh kicked a 37-yard field goal in overtime to give Northwestern a 34-31 victory over winless Nebraska on Saturday afternoon.

Nebraska (0-6, 0-4 Big Ten) blew a 10-point lead in the final 5:41 in regulation and fell to 0-6 for the first time ever. They also extended the longest losing streak in the storied program's history to 10 games. It's not the start coach Scott Frost envisioned when he decided to take over at his alma mater after orchestrating a drastic turnaround in two seasons coaching Central Florida.

Flynn Nagel set career highs with 220 yards receiving and two touchdowns, and the Wildcats (3-3, 2-2) won for the first time at home after an 0-3 start at Ryan Field.

Things weren't looking good for them trailing 31-21 with 5:41 left in the fourth quarter. But Northwestern kicked a field goal, then drove 99 yards after getting pinned at the 1 with 2:02 left.

The Wildcats were aided by a roughing-the-passer penalty against Carlos Davis that moved the ball out to the 16, and Thorson finished the drive with a 5-yard TD to JJ Jefferson with 12 seconds left in regulation.

Nebraska got the first shot in overtime after Northwestern deferred and a low snap in a shotgun formation on fourth-and-1 at the 16 did in the Cornhuskers. Martinez scooped up the loose ball around the 30, heaved it to the end zone from the 37 and got intercepted by JR Pace.

Northwestern moved six yards before Drew Luckenbaugh nailed a 37-yarder on fourth down to give the Wildcats their second straight victory.

Nebraska's Devine Ozigbo ran for 159 yards and two touchdowns. Adrian Martinez threw for 251 yards and a TD.

JD Spielman caught eight passes for 76 yards receiving and a TD. But Nebraska remained winless since a victory at Purdue last Oct. 28.

THE TAKEAWAY
Nebraska: This one has to sting for the Cornhuskers, who thought they were on the verge of breaking through prior to this game. They were in control, only to let the lead slip away down the stretch.

Northwestern: The Wildcats showed resolve by rallying late. But they continue to struggle in the run game since leading rusher Jeremy Larkin was forced to stop playing because of a spinal issue. They finished with 32 yards rushing, after being held to a combined 36 over the previous two games.

UP NEXT
Nebraska: Hosts Minnesota on Oct. 20.
Northwestern: Visits Rutgers on Oct. 20.

Postgame Notes:
· Nebraska lost to Northwestern in overtime for the second consecutive season. The Huskers fell to 8-5 all-time in overtime games and have lost four straight overtime contests dating back to a win at Iowa in 2014.
· Nebraska fell to 8-5 all-time against Northwestern and dropped to 4-2 all-time in Evanston. The loss snapped the Huskers’ four-game win streak at Ryan Field.
· Senior running back Devine Ozigbo rushed 22 times for 159 yards and two touchdowns. Ozigbo topped 100 rushing yards for the second time this season, also including a career-high 170 yards against Purdue. It marked Ozigbo’s second two-touchdown game of the 2018 season (Purdue) and his third career game with two rushing touchdowns.
· Sophomore receiver JD Spielman caught eight passes for 76 yards, including a 42-yard touchdown on the game’s opening drive. Spielman’s touchdown was his sixth receiving touchdown of the 2018 season.
· Spielman’s 42-yard touchdown catch was his eighth reception of at least 20 yards in 2018, with five of those going for touchdowns. He has eight career plays of 40 yards or more.
· Freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez completed 25-of-35 passes for 251 yards and one touchdown. Martinez surpassed 1,000 passing yards in 2018, making him just the second freshman in Nebraska history to pass for 1,000 yards, joining Taylor Martinez (2010).
· Martinez also rushed 13 times for 37 yards, and accounted for 286 yards of total offense in the game.
· Senior linebacker Luke Gifford had a career-high four tackles for loss, increasing his team-leading season total to 10 TFLs.
· Nebraska senior receiver Stanley Morgan Jr. caught two passes for 31 yards. Today marked Morgan’s 32nd consecutive game with at least one reception.
· Freshman running back Maurice Washington scored his first career touchdown with a three-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.
· Junior receiver Mike Williams tied his career high with three receptions and had a career-high 41 receiving yards.
· Senior safety Antonio Reed recorded his second career interception in the third quarter. His other interception came against Rutgers in 2017.
· Senior safety Aaron Williams had a 12 tackles in today’s game, tying his career high (also had 12 tackles vs. Oregon in 2017). It was the third double-figure tackle game of Williams’ career.
· Nebraska’s 15-play, 97-yard drive that consumed 5:43 in the third quarter was its longest drive of the season in terms of yards, plays and times.
· Nebraska recorded two sacks in the game, pushing its season total to 15. Nebraska has surpassed last year’s team total of 14 sacks in 12 games.

Read the original version of this article at www.1011now.com.