October 5, 2019 / 11:58 PM / 2 months ago

Nebraska loses Martinez, beats Northwestern on last play

Lane McCallum’s 25-yard field goal as time expired lifted the injury-riddled Nebraska Cornhuskers to a 13-10 win over the visiting Northwestern Wildcats on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

Oct 5, 2019; Lincoln, NE, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers quarterback Adrian Martinez (2) looks to throw against the Northwestern Wildcats in the first half at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

In front of the 372nd consecutive sellout in Lincoln, Neb., UCF transfer quarterback Noah Vedral came off the bench for an injured Adrian Martinez and led the Cornhuskers to the game-winning drive after Lamar Jackson’s interception at midfield with little more than a minute left in the game.

Vedral connected with Wan’Dale Robinson for a 32-yard gain to put Nebraska at the Northwestern 16-yard line. Three straight runs got the ball to the 7-yard line, giving McCallum, a former safety and walk-on from the Air Force Academy, a chance at redemption. Midway through the third period, McCallum’s 29-yard attempt hit the right upright.

Northwestern kicker Charlie Kuhbander missed a 34-yard field-goal attempt earlier in the fourth quarter.

Nebraska (4-2, 2-1 Big Ten) snapped a three-game losing streak to Northwestern (1-4, 0-3) and bounced back from 48-7 blowout to Ohio State last Saturday.

Martinez, Nebraska’s starting quarterback, came up limping after a 49-yard pass completion to Robinson midway through the third period. Then on the final play of the quarter, Martinez appeared to hyperextend his left knee on a third-down run, and his day was over.

The Cornhuskers also played the entire second half without wide receiver J.D. Spielman, one of their top playmakers, who also injured his knee.

But the Blackshirts defense stiffened and came up with game’s lone turnover when Jackson intercepted an Aidan Smith pass and returned the ball to the Northwestern 49.

Smith got the start in place of Hunter Johnson, who injured his knee in last week’s loss to Wisconsin.

Nebraska opened the scoring when Robinson scampered 42 yards to the end zone with 4:25 to play in the first quarter. McCallum extended the advantage to 10-0 with a 35-yard field goal midway through the second quarter.

Northwestern finally got on the scoreboard thanks to Riley Lees’ 50-yard of the subsequent kickoff return that ultimately set up Kuhbander’s 40-yard field goal at the 5:15 mark of the second period.

On their first possession in the second half, the Wildcats tied the game on a six-play, 58-yard drive with Smith diving in from the 2-yard line for his first rushing touchdown.

—Field Level Media

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