PISCATAWAY, NJ–(NU Athletics Oct. 7)–Nebraska overcame a 13-point deficit with a pair of second-half touchdowns, as the Huskers captured a 14-13 road win at Rutgers on Friday night in Piscataway, N.J.
The win was Nebraska’s first victory when trailing after three quarters since the Huskers erased a 14-point deficit in a 42-38 win at Illinois on Sept. 21, 2019. Friday night’s comeback was the 24th comeback of 13 or more points in school history and the seventh in a Big Ten Conference game.
Playing in their first road game the of the season, the Huskers totaled 304 yards compared to Rutgers’ 348. The Huskers had 72 yards on the ground and 232 yards through the air. Casey Thompson completed 24-of-36 passes for 232 yards, a pair of touchdowns and two interceptions. Anthony Grant had 19 carries for 47 yards, while Trey Palmer led the Husker receiving corps with four receptions for 64 yards and a touchdown. Travis Vokolek pulled in six grabs for 46 yards and a score, followed by Grant with six receptions and 34 yards.
The Husker defense put together a dominant second-half performance for the second consecutive game after allowing 263 total yards and 13 points in the first half. Nebraska forced three turnovers and limited Rutgers to just 85 yards in a scoreless second half.
Garrett Nelson led Nebraska with a career-high 11 tackles, two tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. Nick Henrich tallied nine tackles and a tackle for loss, followed by Marques Buford Jr.’s six tackles and five tackles and an interception from Myles Farmer. Malcolm Hartzog and Brandon Moore each had an interception, while Ochaun Mathis posted four tackles, one tackle for loss and a sack.
Rutgers jumped ahead 7-0 with a six-play, 75-yard drive on the opening possession, capped by a 21-yard touchdown run by Noah Vedral on a scamper down the left sideline.
With just over two minutes left in the first quarter, the Scarlet Knights tacked onto the lead with a 25-yard field goal by Jude McAtamney on a drive that began on the Nebraska nine-yard line after Parker Day’s 11-yard return on the blocked punt.
The Huskers threatened midway through the second quarter with a trio of pass plays. Starting on their own 25, Thompson found Marcus Washington and Palmer for gains of 15 and 20 yards, before a pass to Grant for 13 yards had Nebraska on the Rutgers 27-yard line. Nebraska’s momentum was short-lived, as the Scarlet Knights picked off Thompson’s pass attempt to Oliver Martin to keep the Huskers off the board.
A 58-yard field goal attempt by McAtamney as time expired in the first half fell short to keep it a 13-0 game at the break.
Nebraska took the momentum instantly in the third quarter with a nine-play, 70-yard drive that culminated with Thompson’s seven-yard pass to Vokolek. It was Vokolek’s first touchdown as a Husker and his first since he played for Rutgers in 2018.
The two teams exchanged drives ending in punts, before Moore picked off Evan Simon’s third-down pass intended for Johnny Langan on the Nebraska 31-yard line to keep it a one-score game with 3:46 left in the third.
On the ensuing drive, Nebraska’s offense stalled on the RU 27-yard line for the second time after Thompson’s pass to Washington on fourth-and-one fell incomplete to keep the Rutgers lead at 13-7 with 31 seconds left in the third.
The fourth quarter began with a punt from each team, before Nebraska’s defense manufactured its second interception of the night when Farmer picked off Simon’s pass and returned it 17 yards to the Rutgers 27-yard line with nine minutes left in the game.
The Huskers capitalized on the RU turnover with a 27-yard strike from Thompson to Palmer on the first play to give Nebraska a 14-13 lead with 8:54 remaining.
The Scarlet Knights had one last chance at the go-ahead score, taking over at their own 20-yard line with 1:03 left without any timeouts. Rutgers appeared to have a first down on a defensive passing interference penalty against the Huskers, but the penalty was called off after a second look at the play on the official review ruled that Mathis had tipped the ball at the line of scrimmage.
On the next play, Hartzog intercepted Simons’ pass with 48 seconds left on third-and-10 to clinch the road victory for the Huskers.