Nebraska broke out to a 17-0 first quarter lead at Indiana and held on to win 27-22, as the Hoosiers proved worthy opponents in the first meeting since Nebraska joined the Big Ten Conference, and indeed, the first meeting since 1978. Nebraska lost Offensive Tackle Knevel on the first drive, and that would prove costly down the road.
With receivers Cethan Carter and Jordan Westerkamp injured and unavailable, Tommy Armstrong would need to rely on other targets and Brandon Reilly came to play with an amazing circus catch on Nebraska's second drive. Already up 3-0 on a 40-yard Drew Brown field goal, Tommy heaved the ball downfield. Reilly was well covered, but the defender tipped it once, twice, and three times before it fell into the hands of Reilly, who by this time was lying flat on his back. A SportsCenter highlight for sure. A few players later, Terrell Newby would carry for the TD and it was 10-0 Huskers. On Indiana's next play from scrimmage, Chris Jones picked off IU QB Lagow and returned the ball 33 yards for a defensive touchdown. With Nebraska up 17-0 in the first quarter, this game appeared to be on auto-pilot.
The tide began to turn in the Hoosiers' favor after an IU punt to the Husker 4. Nebraska could barely move the ball and Lightbourn's punt was blocked and rolled out of the end zone for an Indiana safety. The Hoosiers would connect on a 36-yard field goal on their next drive and after a few drive exchanges and a Tommy Armstrong interception, Indiana made a field goal to shorten the Huskers lead to 17-8.
Halftime adjustments didn't seem to help as both teams traded punts in the third quarter. One of Lightbourn's punts was returned by Mitchell Paige for 39 yards giving IU the ball at the Husker 33. After an incomplete pass, IU's Devine Redding carried the ball untouched into the end zone. At the end of three quarters, it was 17-15 Huskers, with Nebraska 'losing' both the second and third quarters.
The fourth quarter is where Nebraska has shined all season, coming into the game outscoring the opponents 78-6, but Nebraska made a bum move as Tommy Armstrong tossed a #YoloBomb and was intercepted by Tony Fields. Nebraska would force an IU punt and the on the next drive Tommy rolled left on a 3rd and 9, and found Stanley Morgan, Jr. near midfield. Morgan made the Hoosier defender look like Keystone Kops, as three defenders converged at one point while Morgan sprinted for a huge touchdown. The 24-15 Husker lead wouldn't last long as Indiana would need just 90 seconds to move 75 yards for a touchdown, squeezing the NU lead to 2 at 24-22. Nebraska then went to work, with 14 straight rushing plays, culminating with a 39-yard Drew Brown field goal with 45 seconds remaining. Lagow was then intercepted by Aaron Williams who smartly went to ground to seal the Husker victory on the road.
Takeaways from the game: The loss of Knevel seemed to hurt the offensive line, and Indiana's defense hurried Tommy Armstrong all day. He had a bad passing rating, but that's because his protection broke down all day. Nebraska was 5 of 15 on converting third downs for this game, which is awful. Indiana's offense, for their part, did very good in the running a two-minute speed offense and at times. Also, IU QB Diamont seemed to perform better than starter Lagow. Nebraska's Blackshirts did well, also holding the Hoosiers to 5 of 15 on third, and of course, some key interceptions including one for a TD. Nebraska was penalized nine times compared to Indiana's lone penalty, so there's work to do in that department.
With the victory in Bloomington, the Cornhuskers move to 6-0 (for the first time since 2001!) and rose to number 8 in the AP Writer's Poll while remaining at number 9 in the USA Today Amway Coaches' Poll. Next for for the Huskers is a visit from the Purdue Boilermakers and their newly interim head coach, Gerad Parker, since their head man was fired Darrell Hazell after the Boilers' loss to Iowa. Game time is 2:30 Central on ESPN2 or ABC (check local listings), with Huskers play-by-play call on TuneIn.com, or the college kids at KRNU.
Yahoo/AP story: No. 10 Nebraska hangs on for 27-22 victory at Indiana
HuskerMax game notes versus the Illinois Fighting Illini.
HuskerMax play by play and stats