June 19, 2018

Nebraska offense stalls at home in loss to Northern Illinois

17 September 2017, 02:24 | Anna Jefferson

Northern Illinois vs. Nebraska football: Time, TV schedule, game preview, score

Nebraska's Mikale Wilbon

We were down 17-14.

Nebraska got two more chances with the ball, advancing to the NIU 33 on the first drive before the Huskie defense - as it had nearly all day - stood strong with Mycial Allen defending the fourth and seven attempt and linebacker Kyle Pugh providing pressure.

In the third quarter, Nebraska produced 81 yards on 22 plays, compared to just 28 yards on 11 plays by the Huskies to take a 282-116 edge in total yardage to the fourth quarter.

Lee then capped off a six-play, 63-yard drive on Nebraska's next possession with a one-yard touchdown run to put Nebraska up 17-14. Lee was 25 of 47 passing for 299 yards and three interceptions. It's a great win, even though Nebraska looks bad. Nebraska's quarterback was hit from behind as he threw, and Huskies linebacker Jawuan Johnson picked off an angle route and took it 25 yards the other way for a score. For only the third time in their previous 52 seasons, the Huskers have opened 1-2. The senior recorded his second career interception return for a touchdown. However, Nebraska had never lost to a team from the Mid-American Conference and falling to a mid-major school that went 5-7 last season won't sit well with Huskers fans - especially those upset with the performance of head coach Mike Riley in his first two years at the helm.

Tulane transfer Tanner Lee has shown glimpses of his National Football League arm talent in his first two games with the Cornhuskers, but he was intercepted four times against the Ducks and has completed only 52.1 percent of his passes thus far. In addition to being without their starting quarterback this weekend, Northern Illinois lost leading receiver Chad Beebe - son of former National Football League player Don Beebe and a fifth-year senior who missed all of last season with multiple leg injuries - for 3-4 weeks with a concussion he suffered on a helmet-to-helmet hit versus Eastern Illinois.

The Cornhuskers have now lost two of their first three games in two out of the first three years of Riley's tenure.

Two of those three seasons are under Riley's watch.

NIU kicker Christian Hagan's 39-yard field goal attempt at the start of the second quarter missed wide right, and on the last play of the half, NIU's William Lee blocked Nebraska's field goal attempt from 37 yards. NIU finished the game with 263 yards.

Nebraska came back with 10 points in the third quarter.

On Nebraska's next drive, Lee led Nebraska down the field on a 14-play drive which ended in a 36-yard field goal from kicker Drew Brown. They allowed a combined 1,063 yards to Arkansas State and OR and this week rank 119th in scoring defense, 123rd in total defense and 129th against the pass.

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