It was fourth quarter dominance, but a different kind.
Instead of piling on the points, Nebraska methodically marched down the field late in the fourth quarter to close out Indiana for the Huskers sixth win on the season.
With senior quarterback Tommy Armstrong battling through an ankle injury and senior RB Terrell Newby carrying the load alone, Nebraska closed out Indiana’s upset bid on the road on Saturday thanks to a 39-yard field goal from kicker Drew Brown and a final-minute defensive stop.
Nebraska (6-0, 3-0) is now 6-0 for the first time since 2001.
Here are four things we learned about the Huskers in the win
- Nebraska can start fast
Maybe the fastest start Nebraska has had under Mike Riley.
After an opening drive field goal, Nebraska was saved by a crazy catch from Brandon Reilly to extend a drive that led to a six-yard touchdown run from Newby.
One play later, corner Chris Jones took a pick to the house and put the Huskers up 17-0 in the first half.
Nebraska now leads teams 45-8 in the first quarter through six games. The Huskers defense has kept five of their six opponents scoreless in the first quarter, which really just shows Nebraska’s offense is the issue in terms of starting the game well.
On Saturday, they both started on fire.
- Holy cow, Brandon Reilly
Reilly hauled in the the best catch of the season on Saturday. It’ll be pretty tough to top this one.
On his back, laying near the sideline, Reilly hauled in this catch in the second half.
Reilly went over 1,000 receiving yards on his career on this reception and showed why coach Mike Riley and Danny Langsdorf trusted the senior to take over for the injured Jordan Westerkamp on Saturday.
- Lockdown U is for real
Chris Jones’ pick-six was brilliantly read and is a product of a Nebraska secondary that continues to impress.
Not only did Jones have a pick-six, but also finished the game with two other pass deflections.
The other corner, Josh Kalu, also had a great game, twice saving a touchdown run near the redone in the second quarter.
Safety Nate Gerry also had a touchdown saving run in the second quarter. Plus, the game was finished with an interception from Aaron Williams
The secondary, which was a giant liability last season, is officially the strong-suit of the Blackshirts.
- The inexplicability of Tommy Armstrong
You would have had to saw Tommy Armstrong’s ankle off for him to come out of the game on Saturday.
With a bad ankle that would have sat him out of last week’s game, Armstrong struggled most of the game to find a rhythm.
All day the senior quarterback was constantly throwing off his back foot and which led to two bad interceptions. The offense sputtered as well.
And yet, Armstrong, on the run, threw a beautiful 72-yard touchdown to Stanley Morgan Jr. that put Nebraska up 24-15.
And then, when Indiana scored, Armstrong led the team down the field for that final field goal.
With Armstrong, you always, always get the good and the bad, no matter how good, or no matter how bad.
Will this win be enough for national media?
Despite at top 10 ranking, the Huskers have struggled to garner respect among national analysis.
Will this close win help or hurt?
Devine Ozigbo is extremely valuable.
Ozigbo traveled to Indiana but only played a handful of snaps. Nebraska struggled to run effectively consistently on Saturday. As much as Nebraska wants to run, it was tough on third and short without Ozigbo.
We’ll see if he’ll be ready for Purdue next week.
The most important thing about this team is turnovers, and two picks from Armstrong killed any and all offensive momentum in the second and third quarter.
No fumbles, which is an improvement since Tre Bryant had quite a few touches, those two interceptions are indicative of how Nebraska played on Saturday
What it means
Starting 6-0 means a lot.
Bo Pelini started 6-0 zero times during his time at Nebraska. Bill Callahan started 6-0 zero times as well.
Riley, in his second season, has Nebraska rolling now.