LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - David Bell scored the go-ahead touchdown from nine yards out with 1:08 to play, and Purdue beat Nebraska 31-27 on Saturday.
The Boilermakers (3-6, 2-4 Big Ten) took the lead for good after starting quarterback Jack Plummer left the game with a right ankle injury -- the latest player to be sidelined on a team plagued by injuries.
Plummer was 25-of-34 passing with 242 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions before needing help off the field following a run-play injury with 7:55 remaining. He rushed 61 yards on 12 carries.
King Doerue rushed 71 yards on 15 carries, including a 7-yard touchdown run to give Purdue a 24-20 lead with 6:50 to go in back-and-forth fourth quarter.
Adrian Martinez was 22 of 39 for 247 yards passing and an interception for the Cornhuskers (4-5, 2-4), who have lost four of their last five games and two straight to the Boilermakers. Martinez rushed for 58 yards on 12 carries and scored twice.
Nebraska: Martinez returned after missing the last two games following a left knee injury against Northwestern on Oct. 5. The Cornhuskers are trying to get on track down the stretch in the regular season. They need two wins to be eligible for a bowl game.
Purdue: The Boilermakers hope the win will be enough to get them on a roll in the final games. They must win their last three games to be bowl-eligible for the second straight year.
Nebraska: Off next week and will host Wisconsin on Nov. 16.
Purdue: At Northwestern next week for the first of two straight road games.
-What happened? Nebraska lost.
-What went wrong? Nebraska gave up a game-winning touchdown with 1:08 left. And a bunch of other stuff.
-What does it mean? Nebraska is in a massive slump.
-When will Nebraska snap out of its slump? Any time. The Huskers, like the Indiana game, were a few plays away from winning.
-Should Nebraska make coaching changes? No. Give this staff time.
-Will Nebraska win again this season? Maybe. If they play like that again, they might beat Maryland. But not Wisconsin or Iowa.
-Scott Frost said afterward play-callers typically have some level of regret after a game. I think the bigger regret might not be a play call. But rather not using a timeout to get organized before the Huskers' final offensive play.
-Okay, maybe there are some play call regrets. Like not running between the tackles on 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-and-goal from the 2.
-Dan Corey visited one of my favorite restaurants, Monical's Pizza, while on the trip. That makes me extremely happy. And he better bring me back a few pieces of pizza.
-Big Man Almost-Touchdown. It would've been great to see Darrion Daniels score on the interception. That man can move for a 325-pounder!
-Lamar Jackson made some great plays. He'll be an NFL Draft pick. Good to see him bounce back after a rough game against Indiana. Jackson was critical of his play last Saturday and said he'd get better. He did.
-Jeff Brohm called the perfect play on the game-winning touchdown. Wide receiver reverse. Straight out of the kindergarten flag football playbook. In all seriousness, the Huskers fell for the run fake up the middle. Jojo Domann crashed hard on the running back. Braxton Clark went with the pre-snap motion and was pulled to the opposite side of the field. Will Honas took five hard steps to his left. Ben Stille got sealed off. All you can do it tip your cap.
-The November colors in West Lafayette always look great.
-The biggest stretch of the game came in the first half. After the Daniels interception, the Huskers got 3 points (not 7). On the following drive, Nebraska reached the 21-yard line but threw an interception. There was potential for the score to be 21-0. Instead, it was 10-0. A 3-score difference likely would've resulted in a different outcome.
-Credit to the numerous Nebraska players who spoke to the media after the game. Braxton Clark, Dicaprio Bootle, Ben Stille, Kade Warner, Eric Lee and the list goes on. After losses, players generally don't willingly want to dissect the game with reporters. But several of them did at Purdue and we're thankful for that.
-Three games are left on the schedule and two wins are needed for bowl eligibility. I'd suggest forget that talk. Don't build in any pressure. Just let the guys go out and play and see what happens. Take a 'house money' approach and try to change the team's psyche. After all, Nebraska will be the underdog against Wisconsin and Iowa.
-JD Spielman extended his streak to 30 games with at least one reception. I hope fans aren't taking Spielman for granted. He consistently comes up with great plays (See his 1-handed catch at the beginning of the game). Spielman finished with six catches for a game-high 123 yards.
-Pretty tough image near the end of the game where it looked like Wan'Dale Robinson was begging to be play on the Huskers' final drive. The trainer held him out, according to Scott Frost. Robinson's frustration added to the pain of the game's finish.
-Right or wrong, there's plenty of big-picture talk regarding Nebraska football right now. I'll have more on the N-Report podcast next week. There's too much to process right now. I'll go on the record in maintaining my stance that Scott Frost is the right head coach for Nebraska.
-Enjoy the upcoming bye week. The slate of games next Saturday is great. LSU-Alabama. Penn State-Minnesota. Iowa-Wisconsin. And Husker fans don't have to worry about another heartbreak.
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