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Nebraska stunned by Northern Illinois in Lincoln

17 September, 2017, 02:24 | Author: Joan Malone
  • Nebraska's Mikale Wilbon

A home game against the Mid-American Conference's Northern Illinois Huskies was supposed to be the ideal chance for a rebound, but the Huskies did not show up to be pushed around by a Big Ten team looking to regroup before heading into conference play.

It was Northern Illinois' eighth win against a Big 10 school, and fourth since 2013. I think they got exhausted because the [Nebraska] offense stayed on the field there for a minute, but then as soon as the offense came back and took the lead, I think the defense fed off of that again. Northern Illinois' defense came up with big plays all day, perhaps none more so than stopping Nebraska on 4th-and-7 at the Huskies' 33-yard line with 5:31 remaining. Those made it a 14-0 Huskies lead, and Nebraska had to claw back in front of its home crowd. That scenario played out often Saturday. His first interception came on the game's opening drive. The drive went nowhere.

Northern Illinois' defense had a once-in-a-lifetime first quarter, returning two interceptions for touchdowns. Two Jordan Huff runs netted another first down and a Santacaterina to Blake connection over the middle went to the two-yard line. Nebraska was backed up after a punt when Lee was almost sacked by defensive end Drequan Brown. Lee was picked off by NIU's Shawun Lurry, who sniffed out a bubble screen and returned the interception 87 yards for a touchdown.

Nebraska running back Mikale Wilbon will make his first career start in place of Tre Bryant (knee), and Antonio Reed will start at safety in place of Joshua Kalu (hamstring). The Huskies were able to generate a pass rush from every angle. The Cornhuskers attempt to put together a more complete game and pick up some steam heading into Big Ten play Saturday when they host Northern Illinois.

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When Nebraska comes out of the tunnel ready to play - regardless of the competition - it avoids dumbfounding losses to teams the likes of Northern Illinois. Punt returner Jalen Embry touched a bouncing punt, and Nebraska recovered after a prolonged scramble at the Huskies' 2-yard line.

Huskies defensive tackle William Lee blocked a 37-yard field goal attempt by Drew Brown on the final play of the second quarter as the Cornhuskers were shut out in the first half for the first time at home since it trailed 38-0 in a 45-15 loss to Oklahoma State in 2007.

Huff finished the game with 16 carries for 145 yards and a touchdown. The Huskers are 11-2 under Riley when they have the lead or are tied after two quarters.

Northern Illinois had 20-yards in the second half prior to a 75-yard scoring drive midway through the fourth quarter.

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