The Huskers (3-6, 1-4) lost 55-45 to Purdue, handing Purdue just their second conference win in the last three years.
“You’d be naive not to know that this is not a good thing,” said Coach Mike Riley following the game.
Purdue controlled the game from their second possession on, taking a 7-3 lead and never looking back. At one point in the second half, the Boilermakers held a 42-16 lead over Nebraska.
“They were hitting on all cylinders today and we were just a step behind on a lot of plays,” said linebacker Josh Banderas.
Purdue’s offense was aided by short fields on several occasions. Five Purdue touchdown drives spanned fewer than 50 yards, three of them fewer than 20 yards.
Husker quarterback Ryker Fyfe was intercepted four times and had another fumble on a botched shotgun snap. But Riley said Fyfe played well at times.
“We went through that rough spot in the middle there that really set us back, but for the most part I was really proud of him,” said Riley. “I think everybody could see glimpses of what he is very good at and capable of.”
Fyfe threw for 407 yards and four touchdowns. But that was the by far the biggest piece of the Husker offense. Nebraska only rushed for 77 yards against Purdue, which has been among the worst in the country against the run.
“I’m telling you we do want to run,” said Riley. “We need to do better and we will.”
But time for improvement is running out on the 2015 season. Nebraska’s three remaining games including two against current top-10 opponents.
“(In) situations like this, you can never give up,” said wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp. “You’ve got to represent that ‘N’ on your jersey and helmet and do what you can do.”
Nebraska hosts Michigan State (8-0) Saturday at Memorial Stadium at 6pm.