Huskers Nip Cats

Lincoln ? True freshman Jordan Congdon's 40-yard field goal with 1:05 remaining gave Nebraska a come-from-behind 27-25 victory over Kansas State at Memorial Stadium on Senior Day Saturday afternoon.

Congdon's second field goal of the game and his ninth straight made field goal of the season helped Nebraska (6-4, 3-4 Big 12) snap a three-game losing streak and make the Huskers bowl eligible for the 36th time in the last 37 seasons. Nebraska closed the season with a 5-2 record at Memorial Stadium, sending 21 NU seniors out with a victory in their final home games.

Trailing 25-24 with 4:18 remaining, true freshman quarterback Harrison Beck guided the Huskers on a 55-yard scoring drive to set up Congdon's heroics. Beck, who was making his Nebraska debut in relief of the injured starting quarterback Zac Taylor, rifled a 21-yard completion to the KSU 46-yard line while a 15-yard roughing the passer call moved the ball to the KSU 31. The Huskers ran three straight plays to set up Congdon's attempt, which sailed through the uprights for his school freshman record 15th field goal of the season and a two-point Husker win. The kick was also tied for the second-longest field goal of his NU career.

Kansas State (4-6, 1-6 Big 12) had one final opportunity, but the Blackshirts held firm, holding the Wildcats to one first down, as Allen Evridge threw three straight incompletions to end KSU's final drive, sending the the NCAA-record 275th consecutive sellout crowd of 77,761 into a frenzy.

The Huskers harrassed Kansas State into just 6-of-30 completions for 103 yards, including a 5-for-27 effort by Evridge.

Meanwhile Nebraska quarterback Zac Taylor went 21 for 31 for 220 yards and a pair touchdowns before leaving the game with an injury early in the fourth quarter.

The Wildcats took advantage of a Husker turnover midway through the first half to take a 6-0 lead. With 7:46 left in the first quarter, Brandon Archer forced a fumble by Cory Ross that was recovered by Kansas State's Justin McKinney on the 19 yard-line. After a KSU penalty pushed the drive back to the 34-yard line, the Wildcats needed just five plays to get on the scoreboard, with a one-yard run by Evridge with 6:24 left in the quarter. Victor Mann set up the score, racing 27 yards to the NU 2-yard line before the Wildcat quarterback scored three plays later.

Zach Potter then blocked Jeff Snodgrass’s extra point to keep the score 6-0. It was the first PAT block by the Huskers this season and the first of two blocked kicks by the Huskers on Saturday.

Nebraska responded after the KSU score, driving 80 yards on 13 plays, as Ross scored on a one-yard run. Taylor was 6-of-7 passing on the drive for 44 yards, converting a pair of third-down on the drive, while Terrence Nunn’s 19 yard reverse to the KSU 9-yard line set up Ross’ fourth rushing touchdown of the season. Ross led the Huskers in rushing for the game with 69 yards on 26 carrries.

Kansas State regained the lead on its next possession, going 75 yards on eight plays, culminating in Mann’s two-yard scoring run to make it 12-7. Thomas Clayton did most of KSU’s damage on the drive, racing 48 yards deep into Husker territory.

The Huskers then closed the half by scoring 10 unanswered points to take a 17-12 lead into the locker room.

After KSU’s second touchdown, the Huskers whittled the lead to 12-10 after Congdon’s 38-yard field goal capped a 60-yard drive. Taylor accounted for 59 yards on the scoring drive, including a 16-yard scamper and a key 15-yard completion to Nunn that put the ball into Wildcat territory.

The Husker defense continued to slow KSU down, forcing three-and-outs on KSU’s next two possessions. That allowed the NU offense to get untracked, as Taylor found freshman Nate Swift with a 19-yard touchdown pass in the corner of the KSU end zone with 2:02 left in the half. Taylor was 3-of-5 passing, hitting tight end J.B. Phillips for a 22-yard pass before finding Swift for his 13th touchdown pass of the year on NU's next offensive play.

Nebraska took the momentum early in the second half, driving 80 yards in 1:34 ending with Taylor's 34-yard touchdown pass to Swift to push NU's lead to 24-12. Swift's catch, the second touchdown reception of the day and fifth of the season, was a career long. Swift finished the game as NU’s leading receiver with 109 yards on seven catches. It was Swift's third 100-yard receiving effort on the season, all coming in Big 12 Conference play.

On the pass, Taylor became Nebraska's single-season passing leader, snapping the previous record set by Dave Humm with 2,074 yards in 1972. Taylor finished the day with 2,094 yards on the year. Taylor is only the fifth Husker to pass for more than 2,000 yards in a season.

Kansas State regained some of the momentum, forcing a fumble from Taylor, recovering it on the NU 11, to set up Evridge's second scoring run of the day, to bring the Wildcats within six.

On the kickoff, Marlon Lucky was tackled at the two-yard line. On the first play of the drive, the Wildcats recorded a safety, cutting NU's lead, 24-20.

The Wildcats were driving for the go-ahead score when Corey McKeon intercepted Evridge's pass on the three-yard line. On Nebraska's second play, Reggie Walker tackled Ross in the end zone for KSU's second safety of the day, bringing the Wildcats within two at 24-22.

With Nebraska driving, Beck was intercepted by defensive back Bryan Baldwin, who returned it 36 yards to the NU 9. Nebraska came up with a defensive stop and the Wildcats were forced to settle for a 27-yard field goal by Snodgrass to give KSU a 25-24 lead with 4:18 remaining in the game.

Beck then took over to drive the Huskers to the game-winning field goal.

The Huskers recorded 334 yards of total offense including 241 yards passing. Nebraska’s defense held KSU to just 103 yards passing, recording 351 yards of total offense.

The Huskers will take a week off before traveling to Boulder, Colo., for the final regular-season game against Colorado. The game is set for Friday, Nov. 25, with a 2:30 p.m. kickoff. The game will be televised by ABC.