Nebraska didn’t get the shutout Saturday, but it also didn’t leave Ross-Ade Stadium empty-handed, either.
Take away the 55-yard touchdown pass by Purdue with 39 seconds left and NU held the Boilermakers to 161 total yards and 10 first downs on the previous 60 plays.
“That last one was unfortunate, but that’s what happens,” NU head coach Bo Pelini said. “That was unfortunate, but I don’t think that takes away from our guys. They played well.”
Nebraska forced two turnovers, sacked freshman quarterback Danny Etling five times and repeatedly took advantage of Purdue getting stuck with poor field position. The Huskers held the Boilermakers to a combined 3 of 17 on third- and fourth-down conversions.
It added to some of the progress Nebraska has made since its struggles in September. It also is riding a confidence boost heading into another bye week.
“I think it’s skyrocketed,” NU defensive end Avery Moss said. “You got DBs getting picks, linemen getting sacks, linebackers making plays on the ball, stuff like that. Every area is making plays, and it gives everybody confidence in each other.”
Some other final notes before we leave the Ross-Ade Stadium press box:
>> Nebraska was 5 for 5 on red-zone chances, and scored touchdowns on all five. The Huskers also were 11 of 21 on third-down conversions.
>> Junior I-back Ameer Abdullah ran for 126 yards on 20 carries, pushing his season rushing total to 816 yards at the midway point.
>> NU opponents were completing 60.8 percent of their passes before Purdue hit just 14 of 36 throws.
>> Nebraska was looking for its first shutout since beating Arizona 33-0 in the 2009 Holiday Bowl. Its last shutout against a conference opponent came with a 28-0 win over Iowa State in 2003, when Pelini was the Huskers’ defensive coordinator.
>> Redshirt freshman Jordan Westerkamp caught a career-high three passes for 53 yards, including receptions on plays where it was third-and-13 (23-yard pass from Ron Kellogg) and third-and-15 (21 yards from Tommy Armstrong).
>> Armstrong had made two consecutive turnover-free starts before throwing three interceptions Saturday.