Evanston, IL (Sports Network) - Taylor Martinez came up clutch in the fourth quarter as the Nebraska Cornhuskers rallied to defeat the Northwestern Wildcats in a Big Ten thriller at Ryan Field.
Martinez completed 27-of-39 passes for 342 yards and three touchdowns while adding 65 yards and a score on the ground for Nebraska (5-2, 2-1 Big Ten). Ameer Abdullah gained a team-high 101 yards on 19 carries. Quincy Enunwa caught six passes for 110 yards while Kenny Bell also made six grabs for 77 yards and a score.
Trevor Siemian paced the Wildcats (6-2, 2-2) by throwing for 116 yards and two scores on 15-of-35 passing. Venric Mark gained a game-high 118 yards on 16 attempts. Damien Proby made 12 total stops and 1.5 tackles for loss to anchor Northwestern's defense. The loss was the second in a row for the Wildcats.
The Cornhuskers took an early lead as Brett Maher made a 27-yard field goal less than four minutes after kickoff.
The Wildcats struck back and took a 7-3 advantage with 1:35 left in the opening period when Siemian completed a 10-yard touchdown pass to Dan Vitale.
Northwestern's defense played tough early, but Nebraska finally found the end zone with 8:25 left before the half as Martinez completed a 37-yard touchdown strike to Bell.
Siemian continued to move Northwestern's offense and completed his second touchdown pass of the day, this one to Tony Jones for 27 yards, to put the Wildcats ahead, 14-10, as the game progressed into halftime.
The Wildcats added onto their advantage in the third quarter with a big play as Mark dashed 80 yards for a touchdown.
Nebraska scored its first points of the second half with 1:09 left in the third frame as Martinez rushed three yards to the right for a touchdown. Braylon Heard was stopped on the ensuing two-point conversion attempt. which kept Northwestern in front by five points.
Northwestern responded with an 11-play, 52-yard drive which ended with a three- yard touchdown rush up the middle by Mike Trumpy.
Martinez displayed fourth quarter heroics to lead the comeback. First he completed an eight-yard touchdown pass to Taariq Allen to narrow the deficit to five points. Then with 2:08 remaining, Nebraska took the lead as Martinez completed a seven-yard touchdown pass to Ben Cotton. The Cornhuskers were stopped on their two-point conversion try, which made their lead 29-28.
Northwestern missed a potential go-ahead field goal from 53 yards out with 1:10 left. The Wildcats did not get the ball back until there were only eight seconds remaining which was not enough time to produce points.
Although it was only a slight victory, Nebraska gained 543 yards of total offense and limited the Wildcats to only 301 yards.
10/20 20:20:56 ET
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