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Huskers gain momentum against Badgers for the win
It's safe to say that last year's 48 to 17 loss to the Badgers in Madison is a distant memory for the Huskers after Saturday night's triumph. However, redeeming themselves against Wisconsin took some Memorial Magic.
Nebraska was coming into this one averaging well over 300 yards rushing through their first four contests while the Badgers were allowing only 80 yards a game on the ground so something had to give.
First quarter: all Wisconsin. Mixing in play action while utilizing their tremendous back field as Monte Ball puts in a pair of first quarter touchdowns to give the Badgers and early 14-0 lead.
Second quarter: Jared Abbrederis hauled in the 29-yard touchdown pass putting the Badgers up 20-3, but the Huskers would respond as Taylor Martinez finds Rex Burkhead for a 3-yard touchdown. Nebraska was down 20-10 at the half.
The Badgers started the second half like the first with another Monte Ball touchdown run putting the Huskers in a 17 point hole.
"We've been in tougher positions than that before," said Husker Coach Bo Pelini. "A lot of the situation we were in was self-imposed."
"We've been in this type of situation before against Ohio State on the comeback. I think our team handled it great," Husker quarterback Taylor Martinez said.
And bounce back they did in historic fashion, no less. The 17 point deficit was the second largest overcome in school history. It started with Taylor Martinez leading Nebraska on a four play 77 yard drive to pull within 10. Then, after Wisconsin 3 and out, Martinez orchestrated a 10 play 75 yard drive capped off by finding tight end Kyler Reed to pull the Huskers within a field goal.
"Early on, the reason we got stopped, we just kind of established rhythm. I think once we establish that we'll be really hard to stop," Martinez said.
"I thought they did some really good things. I thought they started slow and got better as the game went on. I thought he settled in and I thought he played a pretty good football game," said Pelini.
And after getting a field goal to tie it in the third, Brett Maher nailed a 41 yarder to give the Husker a 30 to 27 lead in the fourth. But the real story in the second half was the Husker defense clamping down and holding Wisconsin to only 90 total yards on offense. It was highlighted by Alonzo Whaley's huge stop on fourth and one stripping Monte Ball and putting the game on ice for the Huskers.
"Once we got adjusted to what they were trying to show us we'd be fine. But all the guys, we knew what we had to do. We couldn't let that snowball effect take its course on us. We had to stay with each other, stay the process and we came out with a W," said Husker linebacker Will Compton.
"We're going to have a heck of a challenge for ourselves next week. We need to stay the course and keep concentrating on what we need to do to keep getting better as a football team," said Pelini.
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