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Huskers stumble to 0-4 with 42-28 loss to Purdue

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USA Today

Last week’s 46-point debacle at Michigan may still end up being Nebraska’s rock bottom, but things certainly didn’t get any better against Purdue on Saturday.

After jumping out to a quick 7-0 lead, all of the same issues that had been plaguing the Huskers all season showed up once again in a 42-28 homecoming loss to Purdue.

Nebraska ended committing a season-high 11 penalties for 136 yards and gave up more than 500 total yards to Purdue in the process, pushing NU to an unfathomable 0-4 start to the Scott Frost era.

Dating back to last season, Nebraska has now lost its past eight games, the longest losing streak in program history. It also pushes NU's home losing streak to a school-record seven in a row.

After a reported strong full week of practices, Nebraska’s offense looked to finally carry it into game day by marching 75 yards on 10 plays and striking first on an 18-yard touchdown run by senior Devine Ozigbo, who posted a career day with 17 carries for 170 yards and two touchdowns.

That score marked the first time all season that the Huskers had taken the first lead, and it was the first time since the final minutes of the Colorado game that NU has been ahead.

Nebraska’s defense couldn’t quite say the same, however. Despite facing a second-and-19 on its opening possession, Purdue answered right back with a 42-yard touchdown run by D.J. Knox to make 7-7 out of the gates.

The Huskers were then stuffed on a fourth-and-1 run to give the Boilermakers the ball back at their own 41. That dropped NU to just 1-of-5 on fourth down attempts this season.

Purdue struck immediately with a 49-yard flea-flicker pass from David Blough to Isaac Zico down to the Nebraska 11. The Blackshirts were able to stiffen up and force a 31-yard field goal by Spencer Evans, but it still left the Huskers trailing at the end of the first quarter for the fourth straight game.

Blough extended that lead to 17-7 with a one-yard run with 12:51 left in the second, capping a 10-play, 71-yard drive. Following the touchdown, PU had already racked up 197 total yards on a whopping 9.8 yards per play to open the game.

Nebraska’s offense was unable to get anything going after the first drive, and Purdue tacked on a 25-yard field goal with 30 seconds left to go into halftime up 20-7. The Huskers had a chance to add some points, but Barret Pickering badly missed a 54-yard field goal as time expired.

With that 13-point halftime deficit, the Huskers have now been outscored 76-28 in first halves this season, including a 37-7 disadvantage in first quarters.

Purdue eventually padded its lead to 27-7 on a 12-yard touchdown pass to tight end Brycen Hopkins with 8:25 left in the third.

Finally, after seven straight empty drives, Nebraska got back on the board on the ensuing possession with a 21-yard touchdown pass from Adrian Martinez to J.D. Spielman to get it back to 27-14. Spielman ended up with 10 catches for 135 yards and two scores on the day.

As quickly as NU seemed to gain some momentum, though, Purdue took it right back with a 51-yard pass to Hopkins down to the NU 25.

Knox finished it off with his second rushing score from six yards out, and Blough hit Knox on a shovel pass for the two-point conversion to put the Boilermakers back up 34-14 with 3:24 to go in the third quarter.

Nebraska answered right back with a 26-yard pass to Stanley Morgan Jr. and then a 21-yard touchdown toss to Spielman for a 47-second scoring drive that got it back to a two-score game.

But yet again, Purdue ended the rally before it could begin with a 40-yard pass to Rondale Moore on the first play of the drive. A roughing the passer penalty on what would have been a third-down stop led to Markell Jones barreling in for a four-yard touchdown.

The Huskers were able to answer one more time on a 23-yard touchdown run by Ozigbo that made it 42-28 with 13:04 to play.

Nebraska got a break on defense with a third-down drop to get the ball back, but Martinez followed up with a costly interception at the Purdue 39 with 8:50 remaining.

The defense came up with two more needed stops and the offense twice moved into PU, but the drives ended with back-to-back turnovers on downs.

The Huskers will return to action next week when they travel to take on Wisconsin for a 6:30 p.m. kick on Big Ten Network.