Nebraska Football: Huskers implode in 28-17 loss to Purdue
{{ timeAgo('2021-10-30 18:02:13 -0500') }} football Edit

Huskers implode in 28-23 loss to Purdue

Nebraska once again found itself in a must-win situation to keep its bowl eligibility hopes alive when it hosted Purdue on Saturday.

Just like the previous times, the Huskers failed to capitalize when it mattered the most.

After leading by three at halftime, NU’s offense went into a shell, and its defense eventually wore down in a 28-23 loss to the Boilermakers.

Purdue scored 14 straight points to take control of the second half while holding the ball for 21 minutes of time of possession. The Huskers tried to rally with a late touchown and a nearly-successful onside kick, but it wasn't enough.

As a result, the Huskers fell to 3-6 overall and 1-5 in Big Ten play, all but solidifying their fifth straight losing season and fourth in four years under head coach Scott Frost. Nebraska is now 5-18 in one-score games under Frost.

Nebraska's offense managed just six points with three turnovers in the second half on Saturday.
Nebraska's offense managed just six points with three turnovers in the second half on Saturday. (Associated Press)

After a bend-but-don’t break defensive stop to open the game, Nebraska’s offense marched down the field for a 12-play, 82-yard scoring march that ended with a 16-yard touchdown pass from Adrian Martinez to Omar Manning. The Huskers converted three third downs on the drive.

Mitchell Fineran missed a 36-yard field goal try to lead another promising Boilermaker drive empty. But Purdue got that right back and then some when Jalen Graham - who dropped a potential pick-six on the first series - jumped a Martinez pass and took it 45 yards for a touchdown to tie it up at 7-7 with 12:37 left in the second quarter.

Two runs for 51 yards by Jaquez Yant on the ensuing series sparked Nebraska to answer right back, though. After an 18-yard rush by Yant got NU down to the 1-yard line, Martinez finished the drive off with a touchdown keeper to reclaim the lead.

Purdue slowly and methodically came back with a 14-play, 75-yard drive that ate up nearly seven minutes of clock and ended with a one-yard touchdown run by Zander Horvath.

Nebraska wasted no time hitting Levi Falck on a 43-yard pass into Boilermaker territory with a chance to take the lead into halftime. Former Iowa Western transfer Chase Contreraz, who replaced Connor Culp as the starter, drilled a 33-yard field goal to send NU into the break leading 17-14.

Offense came at a premium in the third quarter until Purdue started at the Husker 48 and used eight plays to score on a three-yard touchdown pass from Aidan O’Connell to Milton Wright and take a 21-17 with 2:47 left in the third.

Meanwhile, Nebraska’s offense mustered three punts and an interception in its four third-quarter drives, gaining just 34 yards in 12 total plays.

Purdue added to its lead with a nine-yard touchdown pass to Jackson Anthrop, which capped a 14-play drive and made it 28-17 with 10:05 left.

The Huskers continued to flounder the rest of the game offensively and were shut out entirely in the second half. Martinez added his third interception of the day midway through the third quarter, and boos rang out from the remaining fans in Memorial Stadium.

Purdue missed another field goal after the pick, but that was mainly just semantics at that point. Martinez was intercepted for a fourth time on the ensuing drive, but did manage a later touchdown pass to Rahmir Johnson to make it a one-score game.

The two-point conversion attempt failed, leaving the score 28-23 with 1:44 remaining.

Nebraska will return to action next week when it hosts No. 5 Ohio State. Kickoff time for that game had not been announced yet before this story being posted.