Posted by Adam Jacobi
NORTHWESTERN WON. Northwestern stunned the Big Ten today by upsetting 10th-ranked Nebraska at Memorial Stadium, 28-25. Kain Colter was a dynamo for the Wildcats, scoring three TDs, leading the team in passing with 115 yards, leading the team in rushing with 17 carries for 58 yards and two scores, and finishing second in receiving with three catches for 57 yards.
WHY NORTHWESTERN WON: There was one team that was able to move the ball on the ground effectively in this game, and that was Northwestern. The Wildcats held Nebraska to just 103 yards rushing on 30 attempts, and that inability to wear down the Wildcat defense meant Nebraska couldn't control the pace of the game. Meanwhile, the Wildcats notched 207 yards and three scores on the ground, most of which came after Dan Persa left the game with a left shoulder injury.
WHEN NORTHWESTERN WON: When Nebraska's onside kick went about 25 yards and was recovered without incident by Northwestern with 18 seconds left. With Nebraska out of timeouts, all it took was one kneel to finish the win off for the Wildcats.
WHAT NORTHWESTERN WON: This won't just be Northwestern's biggest win of the season, it might be on the short list of best wins for any Big Ten team this year. The Wildcats went to a Top 10 team, (at storied Memorial Stadium, no less), lost their starting quarterback in the first half, and still not only won, but did so while holding the lead for over 47 minutes of gameplay. For a team perilously close to losing bowl eligibility (Northwestern was 3-5 coming into the game), pulling off a win like that could be enough to turn around a season.
WHAT NEBRASKA LOST: The Huskers had been the highest-ranked team in the conference coming into today's game -- and the early leaders in the Legends Division race. That, obviously, is out the window now. Nebraska's one Michigan State loss away from controlling its own destiny in the race again, but there aren't many potential losses left on the Spartans' schedule. This loss probably eliminates Nebraska from BCS at-large contention, though, if the Huskers were to lose in the Big Ten Championship. Make no mistake: this is a bad loss for Nebraska, and one that'll probably cost it when it comes to bowl selection.
THAT WAS CRAZY: Nebraska had trouble stopping Northwestern in the fourth quarter, but one thing the Huskers could stop was the clock; Nebraska didn't use a single timeout until there was under a minute left in the game. What that meant, then, was that the Wildcats burned over two full minutes off the clock between the time it got inside the 5-yard line and when Colter finally scored a touchdown. At that point, Bo Pelini had let the clock run down to 1:34, and Nebraska just plain didn't have the time necessary to mount two scoring drives. When you're losing by two scores, you need to maximize the length of the game, and Pelini failed miserably at that.