Purdue rallies to defeat Nebraska on 4 INTs
Aidan O’Connell threw two second-half touchdown passes and Purdue intercepted Adrian Martinez four times as the Boilermakers rallied for a 28-23 win on Saturday afternoon in Lincoln, Neb.
The Boilermakers (5-3, 3-2 Big Ten) got two picks from Jalen Graham, one of which he returned for a touchdown in the first quarter, and a game-sealing interception by Cam Allen midway through the fourth quarter. Chris Jefferson finished things off with a pick a few minutes later, the second time in three games Purdue has collected four interceptions.
Purdue, which trailed 17-14 at the half, took its first lead with 2:47 left in the third quarter on a 3-yard TD pass from O’Connell to Milton Wright. O’Connell extended the lead to 11 on a 9-yard TD pass to Jackson Anthrop with 10:05 left in the fourth.
O’Connell threw for 233 yards on 34-of-45 passing, playing almost the entire way after splitting snaps with Austin Burton and Jack Plummer throughout the season.
Nebraska (3-6, 1-5) dropped its third straight game, all but ending its hopes of gaining bowl eligibility. The Cornhuskers scored on three of their first four drives, putting up 237 yards before halftime, but gained only 58 yards on their first seven drives of the second half that ended either in punts or turnovers.
Martinez, who entered the game with only three picks in 211 pass attempts this season, was just 14 of 29 for 269 yards and two TDs. His 16-yard pass to Samari Toure late in the fourth quarter was the 626th completion of his career, passing Tommy Armstrong for most in school history, but one play later he threw his fourth pick.
A 12-yard TD pass to Rahmir Johnson with 1:44 left got Nebraska within 28-23 but it missed the 2-point conversion and couldn’t hold onto an onside kick recovery, clinching a sixth one-score loss in as many occasions this season.
Nebraska is 5-18 in one-score games under coach Scott Frost.
Purdue ran for 116 yards, its most in a Big Ten game since gaining 175 against Rutgers last November, to improve to 3-1 on the road this season. The Boilermakers gained minus-13 yards in last week’s 30-13 home loss to Wisconsin.
The Cornhuskers scored on their first drive of the game on a 16-yard TD catch by Omar Manning. Following Graham’s pick-six, Martinez scored on a 4-yard run early in the second quarter, his 33rd career rushing TD to move into sixth place in school history.
Purdue tied it at 14 with 3:48 left in the second on a 1-yard TD run by Zander Horvath before Nebraska took a 3-point lead into the break on a 33-yard field goal from Chase Contreraz, who took over the kicking duties during the bye week.
–Field Level Media