Halftime Reaction: Northwestern 17, Nebraska 14


Adnaan Zaffer/The Daily Northwestern

Justin Jackson runs the ball on one of his 15 first half carries. The freshman led the Wildcats to a 17-14 halftime lead with 99 yards and two touchdowns.

Huzaifa Patel, Reporter

In front of a hyped-up Ryan Field crowd, freshman running back Justin Jackson came out with a bang, rushing for 99 yards on 15 carries.

Strong tackling stalled No. 19 Nebraska’s first drive, and the Wildcats responded with a 15-play, 89-yard drive, capped off with a two-yard touchdown from Jackson.

Northwestern’s defense controlled the rest of the first quarter, but Nebraska responded well with an 80-yard touchdown drive to tie the game at 7.

The Cats mixed it up offensively to start, utilizing multiple running backs and receivers as well as junior superback Dan Vitale. The Nebraska defense tightened up after that, forcing two punts and a Trevor Siemian interception.

After the Wildcat defense held star running back Ameer Abdullah to just 3.5 yards per carry in the first quarter, the Cornhuskers’ offensive line began to open up holes for the running game in the second quarter. A 23-yard run from Abdullah and a 17-yard run from quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. led to a 1-yard Abdullah touchdown.

​NU had a near repeat of its first drive with five minutes left in the half. A 10-play, 88-yard drive with multiple first down runs from Jackson gave the Wildcats a 14-7 lead with just 1:52 left in the half. The freshman finished the drive with a bang, spinning away from a defender and dancing into the end zone for his second touchdown.

But Nebraska responded almost immediately, with two strikes from Armstrong Jr. and a wide receiver pass, tying the game up at 14.

With only 1:14 left in the half, the Wildcats marched down the field, but the drive stalled in the red zone. A Jack Mitchell field goal gave the Wildcats a 17-14 lead to end the half.

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