Rapid Reaction: Dedrick Mills, Adrian Martinez lead Nebraska to season-ending win over Rutgers
Final score: Nebraska 28 Rutgers 21
Quick recap: The first game of the B1G “Champions Week” did not disappoint. The matchup between a pair of pretty evenly-matched teams resulted in a one-score contest, with the Huskers coming out on top thanks to a strong rushing attack. It didn’t start off well for Nebraska, which had 4 turnovers and allowed Rutgers to lead for a good portion of the contest. But a 191-yard performance from Dedrick Mills followed by a 157-yard day on the ground from Adrian Martinez was too much for the Scarlet Knights defense. And after trailing 21-14 in the 3rd quarter, Nebraska was able to score touchdowns on back-to-back possessions to get a 28-21 lead in the 4th quarter, which ended up being the final score of the contest. It was a big win for Nebraska, which found a way to overcome those 4 turnovers and 9 penalties to get a win.
Key moment: Trailing 21-14, Martinez threw an interception in Nebraska’s own territory. Rutgers had an opportunity to make it a two-score game and could’ve put the contest somewhat out of reach midway through the 3rd quarter. But the Nebraska defense stood tall, forced a 3-and-out and the Huskers were able to tie the game on the ensuing possession. The Blackshirts got the job done in a big way.
Key player: It’s hard to ignore the performance Mills had in this one. Even though he didn’t score a touchdown, he was able to seriously wear down Rutgers’ defense, especially late in the game. He ended the day with 191 yards on the ground on 25 carries and caught 6 passes for an additional 45 yards. Not a bad way to close out the season for the RB.
Key stat: How about this for a yardage difference: Nebraska had 620 yards of total offense while Rutgers finished with just 252. It’s a miracle that the Scarlet Knights were able to keep within striking distance. Those turnovers were costly, but the Huskers were able to move the ball pretty much all game long.
What it means for Rutgers (3-6): It was a hell of a season for Rutgers. After failing to win any B1G games the past two seasons, Greg Schiano was able to lead the Scarlet Knights to 3 league wins in his first season since returning to Piscataway. Rutgers lost 3 of those games by one possession, so there was a legitimate chance that this team could’ve finished 6-3. Give Schiano and the Scarlet Knights a ton of credit, because this was, by far, the most improved team in the B1G.
What it means for Nebraska (3-5): For the first time in awhile, Nebraska ends the season on a winning note. And while the final record isn’t what the Huskers had hoped for, finishing with a victory over Rutgers and carrying some momentum into the offseason may be exactly what the doctor ordered for this program. It wasn’t pretty, but typically Nebraska has found ways to lose these close-call games. This time, the Huskers were able to get a win.