It just wasn’t quite enough.
On the road against No. 11 Wisconsin, No. 7 Nebraska scored 10 unanswered points to force overtime but couldn’t quite put away the Badgers.
In overtime, a touchdown run by Dare Ogunbowale put Wisconsin up 23-17 but the Huskers couldn’t score when they got the ball.
Nebraska is now 7-1 and still looking for that signature win.
Here are five things we learned.
- There’s just something about the fourth quarter
Like clockwork, Nebraska scored early in the fourth quarter to pull within three of Wisconsin.
The Huskers capped off a 14 play, 75-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown run from Tommy Armstrong and made it 17-14 with 13 minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Nebraska converted on a third-and-7 and third-and-8 on the drive.
When Wisconsin got the ball back, Nate Gerry picked off Alex Hornibrook. The Huskers couldn’t do anything with it, but when Wisconsin took over, and Gerry again picked off Hornibrook.
Nebraska drove down the field and tied the game on a Drew Brown field goal.
The Huskers couldn’t drive down the field to score in the remaining seconds, but they did score 10 unanswered to bring the game into overtime.
There’s just something about this team and something about the fourth quarter that works. It’s either confidence, or trust in the process, but either way, Nebraska continues to thrive in the fourth quarter eight weeks into the season.
- Tommy’s Turnovers hurt early
Tommy Armstrong threw two picks in the first half. Wisconsin didn’t turn either interception into points so it didn’t hurt Nebraska too much, but in a game where each possession is incredibly important, those turnovers hurt no matter what.
Two turnovers mean two possessions Nebraska couldn’t score, which meant Nebraska went into the half down three instead of potentially up four with a touchdown.
Nebraska’s turnover ratio is why it has been so successful this season, and when Nebraska turns the ball over, things go poorly.
- Nebraska finds a way to run
With Devine Ozigbo back from his ankle injury and Tommy Armstrong healthy, the Huskers are back to their three-pronged rushing attack.
Nebraska put up more than 150 rushing yards on Wisconsin.
Senior RB Terrell Newby had 75 yards, Armstrong pitched in 39 yards and Ozigbo had 33 yards and one touchdown.
Offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf and coach Mike Riley are determined to run every week, and even though the Huskers weren’t able to really run against Indiana or Purdue, Riley and Lagnsdorf found a way to break through the Wisconsin offensive line and find a groove on the ground.
- Nebraska was alright against the run, but not good enough
Against a very good rushing attack, Nebraska stifled the Badgers in the first half and for most of the second. The Huskers kept Corey Clement to 15 yards on eight rushes and Wisconsin to just 3.3 yards per carry in the first half.
Wisconsin’s backup running back Dare Ogunbowale found holes in the Nebraska defense. He ran for 120 yards. And in the second half, Cement was able to find his way around the Nebraska defense. He finished with 82 yards.
- Nate Gerry is an All-American
Twice, two times, Nate Gerry picked off Alex Hornirbook in the fourth quarter. After Nebraska couldn’t do anything with his first interception, Gerry again picked off Hornibrook which led to Nebraska .
Gerry has played nearly perfect all year, sniffing out jet-sweeps, leading the team in interceptions and being the leader of this improved Nebraska defense.
If there’s a better safety in the Big Ten, I haven’t seen him.
Nebraska can *play* in a big game.
Seems obvious, but Nebraska showed it isn’t as big of a fluke team as some might think. The Huskers played Wisconsin close for four quarters on the road in one of the toughest environments in college football.
Turnover ratio: 0
Nate Gerrys’ two interceptions levels the playing field, which made up for Armstrong’s early interceptions.
What does it mean?
Nebraska’s dream season is no longer.
Yes, Nebraska still has a chance to win the Big Ten West, but the Huskers will need Iowa to beat Wisconsin and will need to win out and beat Iowa.
And the critics will now come even heavier, as the Huskers couldn’t win in their first true test.
Nebraska will have a shot at redemption last week, when they travel to Columbus, Ohio, to play No. 6 Ohio State.