Northwestern lets potential win over Nebraska slip away

Northwestern lets potential win over Nebraska slip away

The last time Nebraska visited Northwestern (1931) Al Capone was in attendance at Ryan Field. In fact, his presence was announced over the PA and he arrived at the game with a VIP style motorcade.

He witnessed a 31-7 NU victory. Which NU? Northwestern. This game was a lot closer as a 53 yard field goal try by Jeff Budzien missed in the final minute, giving Nebraska a 29-28 victory. Northwestern blew a 12 point fourth quarter lead.



Northwestern got off to a really slow start offensively, going three and out on their first four possessions, and punting 8 times in the first half. They accrued only 107 yards in the first 30 minutes. But Nebraska made so many mistakes (losing three fumbles) that the Wildcats held a 14-10 advantage at intermission.

Venric Mark had another big day, following up his 182 yard effort versus the Gophers. Mark had 116 yards on 16 carries, including a 80 yard touchdown run. However, he left early with an undisclosed injury.

“I thought our defense played real well. I thought our DBs did well, and front to back I saw a lot of good things. Cuz that’s a tough offense to prepare for,” Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said.

The Ryan Field crowd was overwhelmingly partisan for Nebraska. There was so much red in the stadium it looked like a Communist party rally.

“Our crowd was big time here. Our fans are different, they travel well. It felt like a home game here today, and our guys fed off that,” Pelini said.

One reason the Cats struggled on offense is they didn’t play Kain Colter at quarterback near enough and Trevor Siemian was just plain awful going 15 of 35 passing for just 116 yards. He did throw two touchdowns, but was lucky on numerous occasions that his off-the-mark passes weren’t picked off. He’s holding the Wildcats offense back.

His counterpart, on the other hand, had a career day.

For Nebraska, Taylor Martinez, the Big Ten’s leading passer, was 27 of 39 for 342 yards, 3 TDs, no picks. He also rushed 18 times for 65 yards. Martinez is really developing into a special QB.

Ameer Abdullah ran 19 times for 101 yards.

Nebraska was missing their biggest weapon for nearly the entire day as tailback Rex Burkhead left early with an injury; he had just four carries.

Northwestern truly had this game in hand, but let it slip away. They snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. But then again, the Huskers did outgain the Cats by a whopping margin 543-301 on the day. So they really deserved to win.

“Trust me, there’s a lot of things to fix from this football game. The second half of the year we talked about starting a new season, and we got one here on the road,” Bo Pelini said.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Chicago, Walter, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports

A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too

Leave a comment