No furious finish for Northwestern as they lose to Nebraska 24-13

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EVANSTON – When they jumped to the Big Ten before the 2011 season, they may have envision a building rivalry with Michigan, Ohio State or Penn State.

But some of Nebraska’s most memorable games as a member of the new conference have come against a non-traditional power. Leave it to Northwestern to give the “Big Red” some big excitement after joining the conference.

In their previous five meetings four of the games were decided by three points or less. Last year the Wildcats got out of Lincoln with a 30-28 win – their second over the Huskers since 2011.

Could Saturday provide similar drama? Not so much.

Nebraska grabbed the advantage before halftime and never let it go as they stayed an arms length from host Northwestern at Ryan Field Saturday night. The 24-13 win by the 20th-ranked Huskers was lacking the late game excitement of their preceding match-ups as the Wildcats could never mount a sustained rally in the final 30 minutes.

The loss drops Pat Fitzgerald’s team to 1-3 on the season and 0-1 in conference play.

Clayton Thorson gave the Wildcats their only lead of the night in the second quarter on a 42-yard touchdown run but after that they were playing catch-up. Terrell Newby’s four-yard touchdown run gave the Huskers a 10-7 lead with 1:41 to go in the first half and they kept it after a failed fake field goal attempt by Northwestern.

Tommy Armstrong completed another Nebraska drive in the third quarter with a four-yard touchdown pass to Cethan Carter to make it 17-7. Thorson responded with a 24-yard toss to Austin Carr-who came into the game as the Big Ten’s leading receiver – to cut the lead to four.

It stayed there after Jack Mitchell missed the extra point, adding to his forgettable day in which he also missed a 27-yard field goal in the first quarter.

Nebraska responded to that with a nine-play, 79 yard drive that was capped off by a Jordan Westerkamp 10-yard end around touchdown run that pushed the lead to 11.

Northwestern’s final three drives consisted of two punts and an interception as the Wildcats couldn’t come up with another exciting script to finish the latest chapter of a young Big Ten rivalry.