Purdue defeats Nebraska
Nebraska elected to receive the opening kick off to get the game started. Two quick drives ensued, with both teams having to punt the ball early in their drives. When Purude stopped Nebraska once again, it looked like they might get the ball back again. However, Nebraska went for the first on fourth down, and ultimately converted, taking them from the Purdue 36 yard line to just being a yard away from the endzone. That play set up a one yard rushing touchdown for Dedrick Mills.
After the touchdown the offense still continued to sputter, especially for Purdue. An interception on their own 20 yard line resulted in an 18 yard return by Nebraska’s Darrion Daniels. The interception brought a seemingly guaranteed touchdown for Nebraska, however, Purdue’s defense stood strong, holding Nebraska to a field goal. Purdue’s offense could not reach past the 50 yard line the entire first quarter. A tipped punt on their last drive of the quarter led Nebraska to have great field position to start the second quarter.
Even with great field position, Purdue’s defense put their foot down again, this time it was Cory Trice getting an interception in his own redzone. From there, Purdue had four 15 yard plus plays that propelled them into a first and goal situation. A three yard pass from Jake Plummer to King Doerue made for the first score for Purdue on the day. The drive had 10 plays which resulted in 89 yards.
After forcing a Nebraska punt, Purdue got the football back, and they again, were able to capitalize with a touchdown. This time it was a Plummer pass to Payne Durham, who was able to spin into the endzone. The last two Purdue drives of the first half combined for 185 yards, and brought a Purdue team in front, after an otherwise very shaky first half. The score at halftime was 14-10 Purdue. A notable stat for the first half is that both quarterbacks were the leading rusher for their respective teams before halftime.
Purdue received the second half and they couldn’t regain their groove, punting less than two minutes into the half. Nebraska then marched down the field before being stopped on the Purdue four yard line. They were forced to settle for a field goal. After Purdue and Nebraska both had failed drives, Purdue got the ball back again. This time, they were able to put some points on the board with a 44 yard field goal from J.D. Dellinger. With the drive ending with just over a minute left in the third quarter, the time period ended without any notable storylines.
Nebraska came into the fourth quarter firing on all cylinders, looking very strong, ultimately scoring a touchdown. A two yard run by Adrian Martinez brought the Corn Huskers ahead 20-17. On the ensuing Purdue drive, they were trudging their way downfield. On a quarterback scramble, Jack Plummer got rocked, resulting in him leaving the game. The next play Adrian O’Connell checked in at quarterback for the boilermakers. The quarterback change didn’t affect Purdue’s momentum, however, as King Doerue capped off the drive with a seven yard rushing touchdown.
Nebraska started their next drive on their own 29 yard line. Halfway through their drive, Adrian Martinez threw a bomb to JD Spielman for a 42 yard completion. Three plays later, Martinez ran four yards into the endzone to reclaim the lead for Nebraska. With five minutes left in the game, Purdue entered their drive with their backup quarterback at the helm. Backup or not, O’Connell was ready to play, as he completed his first six passes of the drive. David Bell jogged his way into the endzone after a reverse for nine yards. With a 1:08 left in the fourth quarter, the score was 31-27.
Nebraska had to go 80 yards on their last drive of the game and ultimately were only able to pick up eight, before turning the ball over on downs. Left with only one timeout and 26 seconds, Nebraska didn’t even try to stop Purdue from running the clock out. The final score was 31-17, in the Boilermaker’s favor.
Adrian Martinez headlined Nebraska’s offense, throwing for 257 yards, and rushing for 58 yards and two touchdowns. Jack Plummer had 242 yards passing with two touchdowns and two interceptions, before leaving the game with an ankle injury. Aiden O’Connell finished the game for the Boilermakers in spectacular fashion, going 6-7 passing for 62 yards, helping Purdue score two touchdowns. After not scoring their first five drives, Purdue proceeded to then score in five out of their last seven drives. With this, both teams are not 2-4 in conference matchups with Nebraska still having a slightly better overall record (4-5) than Purdue (3-6). In Nebraska’s remaining three games, they are scheduled to play two top-25 teams, which makes it look like today’s loss to Purdue very well have derailed their chances to make a bowl game.