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Fyfe, No. 18 Nebraska sail past Maryland

Fyfe, No. 18 Nebraska sail past Maryland
Published On: Sat, Nov 19
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

Ryker Fyfe typically spends his game days watching star teammate Tommy Armstrong Jr. pile up the stats and accolades.

It was his Fyfe's turn on Saturday with Armstrong sidelined by a hamstring injury and he took full advantage of the opportunity.

The senior quarterback completed 23 of 37 passes for 220 yards and one touchdown and No. 18 Nebraska allowed only nine first downs while rolling to a 28-7 victory over Maryland on Saturday in Big Ten play at Lincoln, Neb.

"I've been here five years, so they confidence in me," Fyfe said. "They knew I could go out and do it."

Fyfe received help from senior running back Terrell Newby and senior receiver Jordan Westerkamp. Newby rushed for 98 yards and three touchdowns and Westerkamp caught eight passes for 85 yards and one touchdown for the Cornhuskers (9-2, 6-2).

The offense clicked for 401 total yards and there was no discernible evidence that it was a career backup at the helm.

"I put a lot of pressure on myself to just go there and play as hard as I could and make sure we got a win no matter what," Fyfe said. "I thought we did a good job."

The victory allowed Nebraska to remain tied for Big Ten West lead with Wisconsin. The Badgers hold the tiebreaker by virtue of their overtime victory over the Cornhuskers on Oct. 29.

Maryland also was missing its starting quarterback, as senior Perry Hills sat out because of a shoulder injury. True freshman Max Bortenschlager made his first career start and was 14-of-29 passing for 191 yards but could only guide the Terrapins (5-6, 2-6) to 207 total yards.

A whopping 92 yards came on one play when a screen pass to sophomore receiver D.J. Moore resulted in the Maryland touchdown with 12:22 left in the game. Moore had six receptions for 124 yards.

Maryland failed to score a touchdown in 11 consecutive quarters before Moore's touchdown. The Terrapins have dropped four straight games.

Fyfe's start was the second of his career and was expected with Armstrong sitting out this week's practices. Armstrong also sustained an ankle injury in last week's game against Minnesota prior to the hamstring injury.

Nebraska coach Mike Riley said he decided on Thursday that Fyfe would be the starter. Riley was thrilled with the results.

"Really, really excited for him -- I promise I am not surprised at all," Riley said. "The guy has some special qualities that are real important to quarterbacking. He has got a nice release, he has obviously got poise, he has got good vision, he put a lot of balls in nice location for guys to make some plays today.

"He missed a couple more by just a hair that could have been really exciting for the big picture. I am really proud of him."

Newby had rushed for only four touchdowns this season before finding the end zone three times against the Terrapins.

His first two touchdowns came on runs of 8 and 5 yards to give the Cornhuskers a 14-0 lead with 4:28 left in the first quarter.

Nebraska increased its lead to 21 points late in the first half with a punishing 16-play, 78-yard drive. The touchdown came when Fyfe threw a 4-yard scoring pass to Westerkamp with 17 seconds remaining.

The Cornhuskers added to their lead in the third quarter with another long excursion. Newby scored off tackle from the 1-yard line to cap a 14-play, 69-yard drive and make it 28-0 with 3:30 left in the third quarter.

Nebraska allowed only 88 yards in the first 47-plus minutes before Bortenschlager tossed a screen pass to Moore that appeared meaningless. The Cornhuskers had Moore bottled up but he broke through a couple tackle attempts and slivered past a few defenders, and suddenly was in the clear en route to the score that ended Maryland's touchdown drought dating to Oct. 29.

"I would say that's one of the best touchdowns I've had," Moore said of the play that ties for second-longest scoring reception in school history. "The first time, I didn't know that two people were coming until I just looked at the video. So I just split them and I saw open grass on the right and I just ran to it."

Meanwhile, Hills has been dealing with a tender passing shoulder for several weeks and the offense continued to experience issues without him.

"Perry is not healthy enough to play effectively," Maryland coach DJ Durkin said. "It was not the best interest of him or the team so that's why he wasn't going to play. We felt like Max had a really great week of practice."

Complicating matters was the absence of freshman running back Lorenzo Harrison, who was suspended indefinitely on Wednesday due to a campus BB gun incident.

The Cornhuskers possessed a 181-11 edge in rushing yardage while holding possession for 38:58.

NOTES: Nebraska senior WR Jordan Westerkamp has caught at least one pass in 35 consecutive games, two off the school mark set by former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Rodgers (1970-72). ... Maryland played without true freshman RB Lorenzo Harrison (633 rushing yards) and true freshman WR D.J. Turner, who were suspended indefinitely after allegedly shooting BB pellets at students on campus. The players are facing second-degree assault charges. ... Cornhuskers senior QB Ryker Fyfe's first career start came last season against Purdue and it was a rough time, as he threw four interceptions and lost a fumble in Nebraska's loss. ... Terrapins senior WR Levern Jacobs caught four passes for 35 yards and moved into sole possession of seventh place in school history with 124 career receptions. ... Nebraska recorded a season-high five sacks with sophomore DE Freedom Akinmoladun notching two. ... Maryland senior S Jarrett Ross posted a career-high 13 tackles.

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