Nebraska 29, Northwestern 28
Oct. 20, 2012
Ryan Field o Evanston, Ill.
Attendance: 47,330 (sellout)
Northwestern Team Notes
This was the sixth meeting between Northwestern and Nebraska, with the series knotted at three games apiece. The teams have split the last two games since Nebraska joined the Big Ten, with the road team winning boat games. This was the second visit by Nebraska to Evanston, the first coming in 1931, a 19-7 NU win.
Northwestern became the first team this season to keep Nebraska to under 30 points, breaking a six-game streak by the Huskers to start the season.
Coach Pat Fitzgerald suffered his first one-point loss as Northwestern coach in five such contests. NU is 22-11 in games decided by seven points or less since he took over in 2006 and 32-13 since 2004.
Northwestern held a 14-10 halftime lead, the seventh time in eight games this season that NU has taken an advantage into the locker room. The Wildcats have outscored opponents 133-63 in the first half this season.
The Wildcats suffered their first home loss this season (in five games) and the first since losing to Michigan State on Nov. 26, 2011. NU is 6-2 at home in its last eight games, dating back to last season.
Northwestern saw an individual (today Venric Mark) surpass the 100-yard rushing plateau for the sixth time in the last seven games.
With three fumble recoveries today, Northwestern forced a turnover from its opposition for the 22nd straight game. The Wildcats have at least one fumble recovery or interception in 44 of their last 47 contests and own a plus-8 turnover margin in 2012.
For the seventh time in eight games this season, NU quarterbacks did not throw an interception. NU has suffered only two pickoffs in 2012. Going into the game, the 'Cats were one of only 11 teams in the FBS with two or fewer interceptions.
Northwestern has now scored in double figures in 68 straight games.
The Wildcats held Nebraska to 201 yards rushing, 91 yards under its Big Ten-leading average of 292.0 per game.
The NU defense was credited for six tackles for loss, including three quarterback sacks.
With two successful excursions in the red zone today (in two attempts, both resulting in touchdowns), NU is 29-of-31 within the 20, with 19 TDs.
Northwestern Individual Notes
RB Venric Mark's game-high 118-yard rushing effort gives him five games with over 100 yards rushing this season. He averaged 7.1 yards per carry.
Mark's third-quarter 80-yard touchdown rush tied for the eighth-longest run from scrimmage in Northwestern history and was the longest in Mark's career.
Mark leads Northwestern with 12 touchdowns and 72 points.
With 60 yards on returns, Mark had 178 all-purpose yards today, close to his 2012 season average of 184.6 ypg. Mark jumped from 13th to 10th on the Wildcat career all-purpose yardage list (3,387). He passed Todd Sheets (3,232), Lee Gissendaner (3,244) and Mike Adamle (3,373).
Mark broke his tie with Sheets for second on the NU career kickoff return list. Two returns today gives him 74 as a Wildcat. The leader is Stephen Simmons with 84.
QB/WR Kain Colter had his streak of 12 straight completed pass attempts broken in the fourth quarter. The streak spanned over four games with the last incompletion occurring in the third quarter against Indiana. Colter had no pass attempts against Penn State on Oct. 6.
Freshman SB Dan Vitale's 10-yard scoring catch in the first quarter is his first career touchdown and his longest reception.
QB Trevor Siemian tossed two touchdown passes, marking the first time in his NU career that he has thrown multiple scores in a game.
WR Rashad Lawrence led all Wildcats with four pass receptions and 41 yards receiving. It is the third time this season he paced NU players in catches and the second game in a row.
LB Damien Proby led all players with 12 tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss and a half-quarterback sack, his first of the season.
In his second career start, CB Daniel Jones had a career-high 11 tackles and a pass breakup.
Now with 21 stops this season, Jones has 17 tackles in the last two games (six against Minnesota last week).
CB Nick VanHoose recovered two muffed punt returns today, the second and third times this year he has done so on punt coverage (one vs. Penn State). The occurrences today marked the first time an NU player recovered two fumbles since DE Tyler Scott recovered a pair of Illinois fumbles on Oct. 1, 2011.
LB Drew Smith earned the first quarterback sack of his career today.
LB David Nwabuisi was active in getting six tackles, half a tackle for loss and two pass breakups. He is the team leader among active players with 176 tackles, including 17.5 TFLs.
K Jeff Budzien has converted on all 80 PATs in his Wildcat career, extending his school record for consecutive conversions.
After connecting on his first 11 field goal attempts this year, Budzien missed for the first time this season. Budzien narrowly missed the possible game-winning 53-yard try -- the longest attempt of his career -- with 1:10 left.