Published Saturday, November 2, 2013 AT 5:28 PM / Updated at 5:29 PM
Third quarter: Nebraska 21, Northwestern 21
Jon Nyatawa Omaha World-Herald

Redshirt freshman Avery Moss returned an interception for a touchdown, the highlight so far from a defense that’s managed to turn it around after a shaky start.

Moss jumped into the passing lane on the play and picked off Trevor Siemian’s second-down throw. His 25-yard return tied the game at 21-21 with 7:10 left in the third quarter.

That was one of eight straight stops for the Huskers’ defense, a streak still standing as the two teams begin the fourth quarter.

Nebraska’s offense hasn’t been quite as effective, though. The Huskers couldn’t get their ground game going after halftime — Ameer Abdullah had four carries total zero yards on their first three drives. Tommy Armstrong ran for 17 yards on his two first tries of the half, but it wasn’t enough.

Running lanes appeared to be opening up as the third quarter ended, though.

We’ll see if Nebraska can capitalize in the final period. More observations are below…

>> Armstrong and Quincy Enunwa are still struggling to get on the same page. They had issues against Purdue, and again Saturday. The way Nebraska’s passing game is designed, quarterbacks and receivers both have to read coverages on the fly and react accordingly. They’ll need to get it figured out quickly against Northwestern.

>> Nebraska’s back to blitzing heavily on defense. The strategy has worked well most of the time to start the second half, swallowing up most interior running plays and generating pressure on passing plays. The key: Making the one-on-one tackles. The Huskers have been better at that after a disastrous start to the game.

>> Freshman Josh Banderas took over for redshirt freshman Michael Rose at middle linebacker after Northwestern’s first two scoring drives. He’s played every snap since. …

>> Nebraska’s allowed 94 total yards on 31 plays during Northwestern’s last nine possessions.

>> More injuries for Nebraska’s offense. Starting left guard Jake Cotton was helped off the field after the Huskers’ first play of the second half. He has not returned. Right guard Spencer Long is already lost for the season. … Here’s the lineup now: Junior Mark Pelini came in to play center. Starting right guard Mike Moudy moved over to the left side (where he split reps with Cotton until Long’s injury). And first-team center Cole Pensick took the right guard spot (where he rotated regularly last year).

>> Junior receiver Kenny Bell is out for the second half.

About Jon Nyatawa

Jon Nyatawa has covered local sports, primarily Nebraska football, for The Omaha World-Herald since 2008. He and his laptop, cell phone, tape recorder, pen and notebook all live in Lincoln. Follow him on Twitter: @JonNyatawa. Email him here: He welcomes feedback.