HuskerOnline - Huskers hold on for 31-14 win over Rutgers
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Huskers hold on for 31-14 win over Rutgers

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. - For the first time all season, Nebraska finally has a winning streak.
While the Huskers saw a 21-point first-half lead dwindle down to one score at one point, they were able to make enough plays down the stretch to hold on for a 31-14 win over Rutgers on Saturday night, marking their first back-to-back victories of the year. More importantly, the win improved their season record to 5-7, putting them one major step closer toward clinching bowl eligibility.
Nebraska was clicking on all cylinders from the opening drive of the game, getting things started with a 32-yard reverse touchdown run by tight end Cethan Carter to take a quick 7-0 lead. The Huskers would strike again a couple drives later, this time with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Tommy Armstrong to Jordan Westerkamp with 2:39 to go in the first quarter.
Later in the second, Armstrong heaved a 45-yard bomb to Alonzo Moore, who was all alone in the end zone for another touchdown to put the lead to a commanding 21-0. Armstrong completed his first eight passes of the game, and after his scoring toss to Moore he was 9-of-11 for for 153 yards and two touchdowns.
Nebraska's hot start would cool off from there, though. Things especially took a turn for the worst in the final minutes of the half, as Armstrong threw two very questionable passes that were essentially jump balls down field that resulted in interceptions. The first of which was picked off by safety Anthony Cioffi, who ran it back 50 yards down to the NU 6 and set up a one-yard touchdown run by Robert Martin with 1:17 remaining before halftime.
The second interception nearly led to another Scarlet Knights' score, but a last-second Hail Mary heave bounced off the hands of a Rutgers receiver in the end zone after Nebraska's secondary once again failed to properly cover the desperation play.
The offense continued to sputter on into the third quarter, as Armstrong was picked off for a third time after defensive tackle Kevin Wilkins sniffed out screen pass over the middle to Carter at the NU 45. A 30-yard pass to Leonte Carroo on the very next play moved the ball down tot he five, and Rutgers used a little trickery with a reverse pass from receiver Janarion Grant to quarterback Chris Laviano for the touchdown, cutting the lead to 21-14 with 6:03 left in the third.
Needing to find someway to shift the momentum back in their favor, running back Imani Cross broke off a 38-yard run deep into Rutgers territory and then Armstrong was able to sneak a pass through the hands of a Rutgers defender for an 11-yard touchdown pass to Carter that extended the Huskers' lead to 28-14.
Nebraska then got great field position after the Scarlet Knights tried a fake punt on their ensuing possession and were stuffed at their own 31. The Huskers turned that into a 44-yard field goal by Drew Brown - his eighth consecutive make - to make it and a three-score game at 31-14 with 14:50 remaining.
Rutgers responded by marching down to the NU 30, but came up empty once again after an incomplete pass on a fourth-and-two gave the Huskers the ball back at 11 minutes on the clock. Freshman Devine Ozigbo reeled off a 30-yard two plays later, but NU couldn't capitalize after a false start moved it out of field goal range and forced a punt.
Even though Rutgers again drove into Nebraska territory, kicker Kyle Federico's field goal attempt from 49 yards out didn't come close, leaving it a 17-point margin.
An interception by Nate Gerry with just over a minute left officially sealed the deal. Nebraska will look to get back to .500 on the year when Iowa comes to town in two weeks for their annual Black Friday showdown.
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