Huskers hold off late Pitt rally
Nebraska’s Blackshirts played dominant defense and the offense played turnover-free football for 55 minutes to build a 24-7 lead before the Huskers survived a furious Pittsburgh rally in the final five minutes to escape from Heinz Field with a 24-17 victory.
After cruising to a 24-7 lead and maintaining a 24-10 lead with five minutes left and the ball in the fourth quarter, the Huskers made their first major mistake of the day when Joe Dailey’s pass was intercepted by H.B. Blades at midfield. The Panthers capitalized on the next play with a 46-yard touchdown strike from Tyler Palko to Greg Lee to cut NU’s lead to 24-17 with 4:44 remaining.
The Huskers maintained a seven-point lead after picking up a crucial first down thanks to a pass interference penalty on third-and-long to leave Pittsburgh with just 1:18 to play and 76 yards of field to cover in order to send the game to overtime.
The Blackshirts appeared to have the game locked up, but miraculous conversions, including a fourth-down-and-10 pass that appeared initially to be intercepted by Daniel Bullocks but was instead caught by Darrell Strong for a 31-yard gain, put Pittsburgh on the NU 15-yard line with six seconds left in the game.
On the game’s final play, Palko was forced out of the pocket and dropped back nearly to the 30-yard line before lofting a desperation jump ball into a horde of Pittsburgh receivers and NU defenders. The ball was batted to the ground to secure the Nebraska win.