Yeah it wasn’t pretty, but in this day and age of spread offense, hurry up offense, quick score type of game we’re used to seeing, special teams and good old defense can still make for a good football game, a good football team. Nothing wrong with having just a serviceable offense if you have a defense like Nebraska’s.
The Blackshirts held Purdue quarterback Austin Appleby to just 18-of-46 passing for 216 yards with a pair of interceptions. The Husker defense made life tough for Appleby at both ends, recording 11 pass breakups, nine hurries and three sacks. The Blackshirts held Purdue to just 2-for-16 success on third downs and 1-for-6 on fourth downs in the game.
The Huskers had outstanding play from each layer of the defense. Defensive tackle Maliek Collins added five tackles, including a sack and three hurries. Senior linebacker Zaire Anderson led the Blackshirts with 11 tackles, including a TFL and a hurry, while cornerback Josh Mitchell also provided big plays with four tackles, including the second and third sacks of his career.
Now you throw in special teams, the Big Red blocked two Purdue punts and converted both into touchdowns in the first half. Punter Sam Foltz helped the Huskers dominate field position, punting six times for a 43.2-yard average including two punts of 60 or more yards. He also pinned the Boilermakers inside the 20 three times, including two times inside the 10.
Those aren’t the sexy stats, but those are the stats or the plays that help determine outcomes of games.
Now, can Ameer Abduallah get healthy in time for Wisconsin. Bo Pelini said the news was encouraging.
Nebraska is 4-1 in the conference. Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin are all 3-1. All three are left on the Huskers schedule. Iowa is at Minnesota this Saturday and Wisconsin is at Purdue. Assuming the Badgers win, that could very well set up a first place showdown with the Huskers on the 15th, and could be an elimination game for either team, because basically, whoever wins that game has the head to head tie breaker and a two game advantage with two to play.