EVANSTON, Ill. (AP)Peyton Ramsey shook off two interceptions to throw for two touchdowns in the second half, and Northwestern hung on to beat Nebraska 21-13 Saturday after Luke McCaffrey’s last-second pass to Wan’Dale Robinson in the end zone fell incomplete.
Seven of the previous nine meetings since Nebraska joined the Big Ten in 2011 were decided by seven points or fewer. Six were within a field goal. This was the fourth in a row to come down to the final play of regulation or go to overtime.
Nebraska took over at its 8 with 2:14 remaining after Northwestern punted and had a fourth down at the 14 when McCaffrey was unable to connect with Robinson. The Wildcats (3-0, 3-0 Big Ten) got the ball back with a second left and took a knee to cap yet another tight game with the Cornhuskers (0-2, 0-2).
Ramsey threw a 2-yard touchdown to John Raine in the third and a 10-yarder to Riley Lees early in the fourth, making it 21-13. Chris Bergin intercepted Luke McCaffrey near the goal line with about six minutes remaining to preserve the lead.
The Wildcats remained unbeaten in their best start since they won their first five games in 2015. They also improved to 3-0 in Big Ten play for the first time since 2000.
Ramsey, a graduate transfer from Indiana, settled down after getting intercepted twice by redshirt freshman Myles Farmer in the second quarter. He completed 16 of 27 passes for 169 yards.
Drake Anderson ran for 89, including a 41-yard touchdown on Northwestern’s first possession. And the Wildcats continued to roll along after blowing out Maryland and then rallying to win at Iowa last week.
The Cornhuskers came up short in their first game since they opened with a blowout loss at Ohio State two weeks ago. They had an unexpected bye after Wisconsin canceled a game in Lincoln because of a COVID-19 outbreak within the Badgers’ program.
Farmer had his first two interceptions for Nebraska.
Adrian Martinez threw for just 125 yards and ran for 102. McCaffrey came in near the end of the third quarter and was 12 of 16 for 93 yards. And Dedrick Mills ran for a touchdown.
Ramsey gave Northwestern a 14-13 lead on the opening drive of the second half when he threw a 2-yard touchdown to John Raine.
Nebraska threatened late in the quarter, driving to the 25 before Brandon Joseph intercepted Martinez in the end zone.
Lees put Northwestern in good position early in the fourth when he returned a punt 36 yards to the Nebraska 44. And he spun across the goal line for a 10-yard touchdown catch to make it 21-13 with just under 10 minutes remaining.
Nebraska then drove all the way to the 3. But with the ball on the 4, McCaffrey’s pass got deflected at the line and Bergin came away with the interception with about six minutes remaining.
Nebraska: The Cornhuskers had their chances in this one. But they simply missed on a few too many chances near the goal line.
Northwestern: The Wildcats continue to bounce back after going from playing in the Big Ten championship game to finishing last in the West last season.
Nebraska: Hosts Penn State on Nov. 14.
Northwestern: Visits Purdue on Nov. 14.
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