INT returns help Northern Illinois stun Nebraska
Running back Jordan Huff scored the go-ahead touchdown with 8:52 left and Northern Illinois used a pair of interceptions returns for touchdowns in the first half to stun Nebraska 21-17 on Saturday in Lincoln, Neb.
The Huskies (2-1) preserved the victory when defensive end Josh Corcoran intercepted Cornhuskers junior quarterback Tanner Lee on fourth-and-14 at the Nebraska 34 with 1:36 remaining. Northern Illinois improved to 5-5 in its last 10 games versus the Big Ten Conference and 8-36-1 overall.
Huff rushed for 145 yards on 15 carries while cornerback Shawun Lurry and linebacker Jawuan Johnson provided the defensive touchdowns for the Huskies. Northern Illinois sophomore quarterback Daniel Santacaterina was 15 of 22 for 128 yards.
Running back Mikale Wilbon, starting in place of the injured Tre Bryant, rushed for 90 yards on 24 carries for the Cornhuskers (1-2). Lee was 25 of 47 passing for 299 yards and three interceptions. He rushed for two touchdowns as Nebraska lost to a Mid-American Conference team for the first time in six games.
Lurry stunned the Memorial Stadium crowd when he jumped the route, intercepted Lee’s pass intended for wide receiver De’Mornay Pierson-El (eight catches, 101 yards) and returned it 87 yards for a touchdown on the Cornhuskers’ first possession.
Disaster struck again for Nebraska when defensive end Drequan Brown hit Lee as he threw and Johnson picked off the diminished pass, returning it 25 yards for a score to make it 14-0 late in the first quarter.
Huskies defensive tackle William Lee blocked a 37-yard field goal attempt by Drew Brown on the final play of the second quarter as the Cornhuskers were shut out in the first half for the first time at home since it trailed 38-0 in a 45-15 loss to Oklahoma State in 2007.
Nebraska got a break when freshman Marquel Dismuke recovered a fumble at the Northern Illinois 2-yard line after Jalen Embry muffed a punt at the 25. Lee scored two plays later from the 4 with 8:05 left in the third quarter.
Brown’s 36-yard field goal trimmed the deficit to 14-10 with 15 seconds remaining in the third.
Lee capped a 63-yard drive when he called his own number from the 1 to give the Cornhuskers their first lead 17-14 with 11:14 remaining before the Huskies retook the lead 21-17 on Huff’s 2-yard run six plays later.
Bryant (team-leading 299 rushing yards this season) did not play after injuring his knee against Oregon last week.