Rutgers loses big again in 31-14 fall to Nebraska
Tight end Cethan Carter rambled 32 yards for a touchdown on his first career carry and caught one of three touchdown passes by Tommy Armstrong as Nebraska kept its bowl hopes alive with a 31-14 victory over Rutgers on Saturday.
Jordan Westerkamp and Alonzo Moore also caught touchdown passes and Drew Brown kicked a 44-yard field goal as the Cornhuskers (5-6, 3-4 Big Ten) won their second straight and put themselves in position for a .500 regular season and a bowl bid if they can beat No. 8 Iowa at home on Nov. 27.
Robert Martin scored on a 1-yard run and quarterback Chris Laviano caught a 5-yard touchdown pass from receiver Janarion Grant for Rutgers (3-7, 1-6), which lost its fourth straight game, putting coach Kyle Flood's future in jeopardy after a turbulent season.
Nebraska's defense limited Rutgers to 259 yards. It sacked Laviano (13 of 27 for 165 yards) six times and had 11 tackles for losses and made two interceptions.
Rutgers center Derrick Nelson was hurt on the last interception with 58 seconds to play. He had to be carted off the field with an undetermined injury after medical personnel worked on him for at least five minutes.
Coming off a stunning 39-38 win over previously unbeaten Michigan State, Nebraska jumped all over Rutgers, opening a 21-0 lead in the second quarter. The Scarlet Knights intercepted Armstrong three times and got within 21-14 on Laviano's TD catch with 6:03 left in the third quarter. The score was set up by an interception by defensive lineman Kevin Wilkins.
Nebraska responded immediately and went 75 yards in eight plays, with Armstrong lofting an 11-yard, third-down touchdown pass to a leaping Carter, who had a career-best four catches for 57 yards. Brown pushed the lead to 17, converting his field goal after Rutgers was stopped at its own 31 on a fake punt.
The Cornhuskers took the opening kickoff and went 78 yards in eight plays, with Carter scoring on a run that fooled the defense. Lining up as an H-back on the right side, the tight end ran behind his line, took an inside handoff from Armstrong and was not touched circling the left side for a score.
It was the first time a Nebraska tight end had a rushing attempt in four years, the school said.
Armstrong, who returned to the lineup last week after missing the Purdue game with a foot injury, took over from there.
The junior capped a 45-yard drive with a 15-yard scoring pass to Westerkamp with 2:39 left in the first quarter for a 14-0 lead. He extended the margin early in the second quarter by rolling right to elude pressure and rainbowing a 44-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Moore to a three-touchdown lead. He finished 14 of 21 for 188 yards.
Rutgers safety Anthony Cioffi was a second late trying to break up the Moore catch, but he made up for it later in the quarter, intercepting an overthrown ball and returning it 51 yards to the Nebraska 6. Martin scored form a yard out three plays later.
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