The Huskers have been handed a crushing blow in Lincoln, losing 33-28 after Colorado quarterback Steven Montez threw a 40 yard touchdown pass with just over a minute remaining to complete their comeback victory.
After allowing 14 points in the first quarter off of two fumbles in their first two drives, Nebraska eventually settled into the game. The breathless pace to their no huddle offense had Colorado on the back foot for much of the game.
As the 1st quarter was winding down with just under four minutes remaining, Adrian Martinez busted off a 41 yard touchdown run to cut the lead in half.
The Husker’s momentum would continue as the game continued, scoring two more rushing touchdowns in the second quarter. Colorado would respond with a field goal in the dying moments of the first half, to narrow Nebraska’s lead down to 21-17.
Colorado received the ball after the halftime kickoff, where Buffalos placekicker James Stefanou would make another field goal – this time from 35 yards out.
Responding in dramatic fashion, Martinez hooked up with wide receiver J.D. Spielman for a 57 yard touchdown pass midway through the third quarter, to make things 28-20 Huskers.
Colorado QB Steven Montez rallied his team back, narrowing the lead down to 28-27 off of his eight yard touchdown toss to Jay MacIntyre.
The fourth quarter would be disastrous for Nebraska. As the game was winding down, Martinez threw an interception to set up Colorado for an easy field goal.
Fortunately for the Huskers, Stefanou sliced it left of the uprights. That would be the end of Nebraska’s luck, however. The Huskers took over the next play, but Martinez went down with an injury after he was brought down awkwardly a few snaps later.
Backup QB Andrew Bunch came in to replace him, but after failing to convert on a long third down, Colorado took over. With not much time left on the clock, the Buffaloes got to work.
On third and 25, Antonio Reed was flagged for a personal foul that gave Colorado a first down. The very next play, Montez delivered the dagger. With just over a minute left in the game, Montez found Laviska Shenault in the endzone in a forty yard strike that ended up being the game winning touchdown.
Andrew Bunch led the next Husker drive, but Nebraska would come up just short. Bunch marched the team all the way down to the twenty yard line. With three seconds left on the clock, Bunch’s pass made it to the endzone, but it winded up incomplete.
After the game, Scott Frost took to the podium, and shared his thoughts on the performance. “I told the team I’m proud of them. I’m broken hearted for them, but I’m proud of them,” Frost said.
With Nebraska’s home opener being cancelled, Frost acknowledged that it put the Huskers in a difficult situation. “Having a game last week certainly would’ve helped, coming out, playing the way that we did,” Frost said.
Even with the game ending in the frustrating fashion for Frost and Nebraska, there were a lot of positives to take out of the game.
The defense finished with seven total sacks. One doesn’t have to take a look at last year’s stat sheet to know that’s a significant boost from last season.
Martinez, before he went down with an injury, looked bright. He showed an explosive play making capability that Nebraska has been lacking at the position for years. He finished the day with 117 yards rushing, and two rushing touchdowns.
Through the air, Martinez was 15-20, throwing one interception. He also threw for 187 yards and a touchdown.
The rushing attack was strong. Besides Martinez’s contributions, Greg Bell and Devine Ozigbo combined for 165 yards and a touchdown. Freshman Maurice Washington rushed for 34 yards on eight attempts.
The pain of the loss though for Nebraska, is palpable. “This is no moral victory by any means,” Senior linebacker Luke Gifford said. “This is our house. We can’t lose here. It’s unacceptable.”
“I’m a competitor like all of these guys in the locker room, and for three quarters I was having about as much fun coaching as I had in my life, doing it back home…” Frost said.
Nebraska will be back in action next Saturday, facing Troy. Kickoff is set for 11 A.M. Pregame coverage will begin at six in the morning, which you can hear on 1400, KLIN.