World-Herald correspondent Steve Beideck takes a look at some of the key moments that helped shape NU’s 41-21 loss to UCLA.
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Trying to regain lost momentum, Nebraska tried a fake punt after UCLA had rattled off 28 unanswered points and taken a 31-21 lead late in the third quarter. On fourth-and-3 from the NU 42, third-team defensive tackle Brodrick Nickens got the ball and rumbled to his left. The Bruins sniffed out the play and stopped Nickens less than a yard short of the first down.
What was that?
Fans in sections 35 to 37 in North Stadium knew that UCLA kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn had missed his 46-yard second-quarter field-goal attempt wide right. That’s why their chorus of complaints steadily grew when officials signaled the kick good, and the replay boards in the stadium showed that the fans weren’t lying. Notice came from the replay booth that the call was being reviewed, and moments later referee Michael Batlan told the crowd what most already knew — the kick was no good and the score would remain 21-3.
Don’t let some terrific plays by Nebraska wide receiver Quincy Enunwa get lost in the rubble of the second-half implosion. Enunwa had three catches, two for touchdowns.
UCLA head coach Jim Mora was the textbook definition of cool and collected even as the Bruins fell behind 21-3. Coaches and players alike credited Mora with being the calming influence that helped turn the tide for UCLA’s 38-point tsunami. No panic and no yelling, they said. Just relax and go play. After a long week following the tragic death Sept. 8 of receiver Nick Pasquale, most Bruins admitted they were tight and tense. Once Mora got them settled, Nebraska’s hopes for a 3-0 start disappeared.