Home » College football: Cornhuskers pull away from Bulldogs in second half

College football: Cornhuskers pull away from Bulldogs in second half

by Russell Hedges

Louisiana Tech Athletic Communications

LINCOLN, Neb. — Louisiana Tech was knotted up with the Big Ten’s Nebraska at halftime, but the Cornhuskers used the ground game to pull away from the Bulldogs in what was a 28-14 final score in front of 87,115 fans on Saturday inside Memorial Stadium.

LA Tech (2-3) and Nebraska (2-2) went scoreless in the first quarter and then traded touchdowns in the second quarter to make it 7-all at the midway point. However, the Cornhuskers scored 21 unanswered points in the second half to stave off the upset-minded Bulldogs.

It was all defense for both squads early on, especially when LA Tech got a stop with Nebraska threatening in the red zone. The Cornhuskers had a 2nd-and-2, but the ‘Dogs stopped them on back-to-back possessions to force a field goal attempt. 

Nebraska proceeded to execute a fake field goal to pick up a first down. Twi plays later, a jet sweep went nine yards for the first touchdown of the game with 11:31 to go in the second quarter.

LA Tech countered on its next offensive possession though and it was a big third down version from midfield that made it happen.  Jack Turner, making his first career start at quarterback, dropped in a dime to Cyrus Allen up the left sideline for 28 yards. The pass completion would set up a 14-yard touchdown run by Jacob Fields off the left tackle, making it 7-7 with 6:07 remaining in the half.

The Bulldog defense stood tall again late in the second quarter, forcing three straight incompletions by Heinrich Haarberg which led to a 41-yard field goal attempt missing wide left at the clock struck zero at halftime.

LA Tech had a golden opportunity to get the ball back immediately when Nebraska fumbled the kickoff to start the third quarter, but the Cornhuskers managed to recover. They ended up driving 85 yards on nine rushing plays to retake the lead, 14-7, with 9:57 left in the stanza.

A questionable spot on a potential first down catch by DeColdest Crawford made it 4th-and-1 from the Nebraska 28-yard line. The Bulldogs attempted a quarterback sneak but did not pick up the first down in their effort to try to tie the game up again.

The Cornhuskers took advantage of great field position after forcing the Bulldogs to force out of their own end zone. It resulted in a 29-yard touchdown pass from Haarberg to Thomas Fidone II early in the fourth quarter.

LA Tech was in business to slice into the deficit, getting a 35-yard catch and run by Smoke Harris, one of his game-high 10 receptions. Harris then drew a pass interference on a 3rd-and-long, but the flag was picked up and the Bulldogs were forced to punt.

Three plays later, Haarberg broke one tackle at the line of scrimmage on a QB keeper and took it 72 yards to put Nebraska up, 28-7.

The Bulldogs would find the end zone for a second time after a 55-minute weather delay due to lightning. It was the Turner-to-Allen connection as Cyrus Allen caught three balls on the drive, including a 20-yard grab in the corner of the end zone with 5:17 remaining.

Trying to make a late rally, the first turnover of the game sealed the game with 47 ticks left as Turner’s pass to Crawford bounced up in the air and was intercepted.

Nebraska outgained LA Tech, 419-338, with 312 of those yards coming on the ground. Turner finished with 292 passing yards with his two favorite targets being Harris – 10 receptions for 73 yards – and Allen – six catches for 102 yards. 

While the Bulldog offensive line allowed zero sacks, the Bulldog defense racked up nine tackles-for-loss, including three sacks.

NOTABLES

  • With the 28-14 loss, Nebraska now leads the all-time series, 3-0.
  • Making his first career start at quarterback, Jack Turner threw for 292 passing yards (second most by a Bulldog QB in a single game this season).
  • Smoke Harris became just the fifth Bulldog in program history to eclipse 250 career receptions. He had a game-high 10 receptions, the third time in his career he has had 10+ catches in a single game. He now has 259 for his career.
  • Cyrus Allen registered his third career 100-yard receiving game with the 102 being the most this season.
  • The Bulldog offensive line did not allow a single sack, a first since Sept. 10, 2022 versus Stephen F. Austin.
  • The Bulldog defense had three sacks and nine TFLs, both the second most in a single game this season.
  • Zach Zimos led the way defensively for the Bulldogs with a game-high and career-high nine tackles, including one sack and two TFLs.
  • Nebraska came into the game tied for the third most sacks in the country, but LA Tech did not allow a single sack all game.

UP NEXT
LA Tech makes the trip to El Paso, Texas on Friday, Sept. 29 to take on the UTEP Miners in the Sun Bowl. Kickoff is set for 9 p.m. CT and will be nationally televised on CBS Sports Network.

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