EVANSTON, Ill. – Northwestern improved to 3-0 on the season after an electric 21-13 win over Nebraska on Saturday afternoon at Ryan Field. It marks the Wildcats’ first 3-0 start in Big Ten play since 2000.
Northwestern’s defense had another standout performance against the Huskers. For the third game in a row the ‘Cats have held their opponent scoreless in the second half. Seniors Paddy Fisher, Blake Gallagher and Chris Bergin all recorded double-digit tackles for the second game in a row. Gallagher led the team with 14 total tackles and Fisher followed behind with 13. This is the 12th time Fisher has recorded double digit tackles in his career, the most of any active Big Ten player.
After defensive stops by Northwestern on Nebraska’s opening drive, sophomore Drake Anderson broke free for a 41-yard touchdown after seven plays and 80 yards of offense. Anderson’s 41 yard run is a new career high and became the longest play of the season for the ‘Cats, eclipsing his 37-yard touchdown run against Maryland. The Wildcats held the Huskers scoreless for the rest of the quarter.
Nebraska capitalized off a few key takeaways in the second quarter and took the lead 13-7 to end the first half. But the Northwestern defense stepped up to the challenge and kept the Huskers out of the end zone on multiple ocassions, led by senior Earnest Brown IV who recorded two tackles for a loss in the second quarter, his first multi-TFL game since 2018.
The Wildcat offense came out firing in the third quarter with redshirt first-year Evan Hull catching his first career reception and graduate transfer John Raine recording his first touchdown with the Wildcats off a 2 yard reception. Northwestern’s defense followed suit and held Nebraska scoreless. Redshirt first-year Brandon Joseph grabbed another interception and Bergin notched his second pass break up of the game to post a new career high. Joseph is the first Big Ten player to record at least three interceptions in the first three games of the season since 2016 when Ohio State’s Malik Hooker and Marshon Lattimore did so.
On the Wildcat’s first drive of the fourth quarter Hull recorded another reception for a career high 21 yards after a 36 yard return from senior Riley Lees. Soon after graduate Peyton Ramsey connected with Lees on a 10 yard pass for another Wildcat touchdown. Lees has notched touchdowns in four straight seasons. Nebraska had a chance for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter after a couple penalties on Northwestern, but Bergin was able to find the ball for his first career interception and get the offense back out on the field. The Huskers were unable to find the endzone, ending the game with 13 points scored only in the second quarter.
The Wildcats recorded 317 yards of total offense,169 yards receiving and 148 yards rushing. Ramsey finished the game with two touchdown passes, a 59.3% completion rate and a quarterback rating of 121.5. Raine led the ‘Cats with 33 receiving yards and four total receptions. Seniors Kyric McGowan and Riley Lees followed behind with three for 27 and 25 yards respectively. McGowan was also second in rushing yards with 33, behind Anderson with 89.
Chicago’s Big Ten team will travel to West Lafayette to face Purdue next Saturday. The kick-off is set for 6:30 p.m.