Nebraska football struggles in victory against Purdue

Story and photos by Becca Mann and Carissa Soukup

The No. 8 Nebraska football team found success Saturday afternoon in a late 27-14 victory against unranked Purdue. However while it was another win added to the team’s so far undefeated season record, the game was a continuous struggle with just a 13-point win margin against 3-3 Purdue, a team currently playing under an interim head coach.

The Huskers were plagued with a lack of consistency and an offense that simply didn’t click. Lineman Nick Gates didn’t play at 100 percent while right tackle David Knevel was pulled halfway through the game.

“We struggled in a lot of ways, and we just had to stay with it,” said coach Mike Riley. “I thought we did settle down after the first quarter.”

Nebraska started the game with a touchdown off two plays, finding a place on the board just 16 seconds in. After Purdue received the opening kick, Purdue running back Markell Jones was picked off by NU scrimmage Kieron Williams. The play allowed quarterback Tommy Armstrong to take over for Nebraska at the 22-yard line. Armstrong made a break, scoring a touch down and putting the Huskers up 7-0 early in the first.

The Boilermakers kept up early on. It took just nine plays over 75 yards for Purdue to match the score at 7-7 with 10:30 left in the first.

Nebraska found a groove in the second half after keeping Purdue quarterback David Blough to just nine of 25 passes. The Huskers were also able to secure an interception after Blough was unable to connect deep near the sideline.

The Huskers were again forced to take to the field without tight end Cethan Carter or wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp. Both are still injured after injuries sustained during a home game against Illinois two weeks ago.

“In that whole area of catching passes and making plays, it is our deepest area on the team,” Riley said of his receivers. “It would not normally be very easy to fill in for Jordan Westerkamp, Cethan Carter and make it look like football.”

While Saturday’s game was a win it wasn’t enough to show the Huskers are ready to take on No. 2 Ohio State or No. 10 Wisconsin. NU faces both teams back-to-back in the next two weeks, facing both opponents on the road. If Nebraska hopes to stay undefeated and within the top-10 it’ll take more than just a touch-and-go offense that struggles on the ground and a still hurting defense.

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