Huskers stun 7th Ranked Spartans
By: Reid Hunsaker, NewsNetNebraska
The Nebraska Cornhuskers limped into Saturday’s contest with Michigan State University coming off one of the worst losses in school history against Purdue. That didn’t stop Husker players from believing they could beat one of the best teams in the country.
“Our emphasis this whole week was opportunity,” junior Huskers safety Nate Gerry said. “Not really looking at a record or anything but just getting the opportunity to play a national ranked team in the top 10.” For the first time in 38 years, an unranked Nebraska team did just that; It beat a top 10 opponent in Memorial Stadium. That hadn’t happened since 1978 against number 2 Alabama.
With just four and a half minutes left and 12 points down,the situation looked bleak for Nebraska, especially for a team that’s lost five of six games this season by a combined 13 points. After the Husker defense held MSU to three downs and out, the table was set for junior quarterback Tommy Armstrong to execute a 91 yard game-winning drive.
“We saw some guys leaving the stands but we weren’t really worried about it,” Tommy Armstrong Jr. said. “That’s what we had to do, keep believing and working hard.” Armstrong would start the drive with back-to-back strikes to Husker receiver Jordan Westerkamp for 28 and 33 yards. After battling injuries which sidelined him for the majority of the game, Westerkamp was collected nine catches for 143 yards including a touchdown catch late in the first quarter.
With just 23 seconds left, Armstrong would find Brandon Reilly for a controversial 30-yard touchdown. Since Reilly stepped out of bounds as he ran his route he could have been ruled an ineligible receiver on his touchdown catch. After an official review, the referees determined that Reilly was pushed out of bounds by Michigan State corner Jermaine Edmondson, allowing Reilly to reestablish himself after stepping out of bounds and catching the game-winning touchdown catch.
Controversial or not, the 3-6 Huskers found a way to beat the highly ranked Spartans and sparked a celebration of 90,000-plus Husker fans in Memorial Stadium.