By Tommy Rezac
The Nebraska Cornhuskers (1-1) trail the Northern Illinois Huskies (1-1) 14-0 at halftime.
This game marks the first time since Oct. 13, 2007 that Nebraska got shut out in the first half.
Oklahoma State led that game at halftime 38-0 and won 45-14.
The Huskies got off to a blazing hot start defensively, when senior cornerback Shawun Lurry picked off Nebraska quarterback Tanner Lee on a bubble screen and took it back 87 yards for a pick six, giving Northern Illinois a 7-0 lead with 11:24 to go in the first quarter.
Lee finished the first half 15-of-26 for 147 yards and two interceptions. Lee now has five touchdowns and six interceptions on the season.
Lee threw a second interception returned for a touchdown later on in the quarter. Nebraska’s quarterback was hit from behind as he threw, and Huskies linebacker Jawuan Johnson picked off an angle route and took it 25 yards the other way for a score.
The Huskies led 14-0 at the end of the first quarter, despite only 32 yards of offense.
Northern Illinois began the second quarter with the ball and drove all the way to the Nebraska 22-yard-line. Senior placekicker and Omaha Westside native Christian Hagan missed a 39-yard field goal, giving Nebraska the ball back with 11:16 left in the first half.
The Huskers assembled a decent drive after the missed field goal, getting all the way to the NIU 43-yard line. On a 3rd and 7 play, Lee got sacked and the ball came loose at the end of the play. It was initially ruled a fumble, but a video review ruled that Lee was down before the ball came out.
After the review, Nebraska was faced with a 4th down and 15 at the NIU 49, so Caleb Lightbourn punted the ball back to the Huskies.
A fumbled snap and a sack by Nebraska defensive lineman Khalil Davis killed the drive, forcing Northern Illinois into a 4th and 29. Nebraska got the ball back on its own 21 with 3:39 to go in the first half after a near-muffed punt by De’Mornay Pierson-El.
The Huskers assembled another solid drive, achieving a first down and goal at the 9, but a Tanner Lee sack pushed Nebraska back to the 17-yard line.
Senior placekicker Drew Brown came on to try a 37-yard field goal in the final play of the half, but William Lee got a hand on the ball and the attempt was well short of the uprights.
Brown was a perfect 4/4 inside 40 yards in 2016.
Junior running back Mikale Wilbon has been sound in his first career start, posting career highs in both carries in yards. Wilbon had 13 carries for 62 yards.
Pierson-El had seven catches for 83 yards.
Northern Illinois will get the ball to start the second half.