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No. 10 Nebraska survives Indiana rally

No. 10 Nebraska survives Indiana rally
Published On: Sat, Oct 15
Sep 19, 2015; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers Nebraska Cornhuskers quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. (4) is pressured by Miami Hurricanes linebacker Tyriq McCord (17) during the second half at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Nebraska's all-important play couldn't be described as anything other than impromptu, from the gimpy quarterback on a sore left ankle to an out-of-place wide receiver who had previously erred in two scramble drill situations.

Tommy Armstrong Jr. and wide receiver Stanley Morgan Jr. had spoken at halftime about the scenario, so they knew what to do when the Cornhuskers were clinging to a two-point lead and needed a third-and-10 conversion. The hobbled Armstrong ran to his left and bought just enough time for Morgan to break inside of three collapsing Indiana defenders.

The 72-yard touchdown proved to be the difference as No. 10 Nebraska made the most of its first trip to Indiana in 38 years with a 27-22 victory Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

"I saw him coming out, and he had been scrambling all day, so we kind of sorted it out how to fix it at halftime," Morgan said of Nebraska's longest play of the season, which gave the visitors a 24-15 lead with 9:57 remaining.

Cornhuskers coach Mike Riley joked about the obvious, that it wasn't a designed play.

"It was kind of an indicator of how hard the whole night was," he said. "It's funny, but it was almost the best we could do today, just scramble around and make something happen and win the game."

Not since 2001 has Nebraska (6-0, 3-0) started a season with six consecutive victories. That team went to the national championship game.

"A lot of people feel like we don't belong here, but we're ready," Morgan said of the Cornhuskers' highest Associated Press ranking since 2011.

After a bye week off, Nebraska couldn't have looked more refreshed and enthused in the first quarter as the visitors scored 14 points in 14 seconds, the latter scoring coming off a Chris Jones 33-yard TD interception return to make it 17-0.

But Armstrong and the offense had their share of struggles against Indiana (3-3, 1-2). The senior passer completed just 10-of-26 passes for 208 yards with two interceptions.

At halftime, he asked Morgan to look for an inside route on the scramble drill and the pass would lead the receiver in such a way to give him an opportunity to break free. That's precisely what happened.

"I trusted in him to get there, make that play and make that guy miss," said Armstrong, whose left ankle was wrapped after the game.

Indiana safety Tony Fields ran into safety Jonathan Crawford on the play and Morgan broke an arm tackle attempt from cornerback Rashard Fant.

"It's very frustrating because we were both running to the ball full speed as hard as we could," Fields said. "It was just unfortunate the way we tripped up and (Morgan) was able to cut it back."

Indiana junior running back Devine Redding tried to bring the Hoosiers back with two second-half touchdowns. His second score on a 4-yard pass reception made it 24-22 with 8:26 remaining. Redding also faked a double-reverse handoff on a 33-yard touchdown run to make it 17-15 on the final play of the third quarter.

But the Cornhuskers converted a key fourth-and-1 quarterback sneak by Armstrong at the Hoosiers' 47 with 3:54 remaining in a time-consuming drive that resulted in a Drew Brown 39-yard field goal with just 45 seconds remaining.

Indiana thought it had come up with a late fumble recovery with 2:06 remaining, but running back Terrell Newby was ruled down before the ball came out at the Hoosiers' 20 and replay upheld the ruling.

Nebraska's Aaron Williams sealed the outcome with an interception.

Indiana alternated two quarterbacks but was inconsistent at best on offense in losing to a top-10 team for a second consecutive week. No. 2 Ohio State routed the Hoosiers 38-17 in Columbus, Ohio, last Saturday.

Indiana turned the ball over on downs on two drives into Cornhuskers' territory, including in the latter stages of the third quarter when linebacker Josh Banderas stopped Hoosiers backup quarterback Zander Diamont 1 yard shy on a fourth-and-3 rush to the 30.

"We've got to quit leaving points on the field," Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson said.

The Hoosiers have not upset a top-10 team since a 31-10 victory at No. 9 Ohio State in 1987. And it hasn't happened at Bloomington since a 19-14 victory over third-ranked Purdue in 1967.

NOTES: Indiana All-American senior guard Dan Feeney missed his fourth consecutive game because of a concussion. ... Nebraska junior right tackle David Knevel injured his left knee on the game's first play and did not return. ... Nebraska entered with its highest national ranking in the Associated Press poll (10th) since it was ninth in November 2011. ... The last time these schools met was Sept. 30, 1978, when the 12th-ranked Cornhuskers crushed the host Hoosiers 69-17. ... Nebraska and Indiana were originally scheduled to meet for the first time in the Big Ten in 2015, but the schedule changed with the adoption of the East-West Division format. The Hoosiers aren't scheduled to visit the Cornhuskers until 2019.

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