LINCOLN–(NU Athletics Oct. 28)–Nebraska’s Blackshirts produced another dominant performance powering Nebraska to a 31-14 win over Purdue at Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

With its third consecutive victory, Nebraska improved to 5-3 overall and 3-2 in the Big Ten while the Boilermakers fell to 2-6 overall and 1-4 in the conference.

The Blackshirts helped Nebraska build a 24-0 lead into the fourth quarter, before Purdue was able to capitalize on a pair of late turnovers to cut the lead to 24-14.

But Heinrich Haarberg, Emmett Johnson and the Nebraska offense mustered a game-sealing touchdown late in the fourth before defensive back Tommi Hill put the finishing touches on a big day with his second interception of the game with just under two minutes left.

Haarberg, who improved to 5-1 as a starter, finished the day 6-of-11 passing for 122 yards with two touchdown passes, while adding 57 rushing yards on 19 carries.

Johnson added 13 carries for a game-high 76 rushing yards and the only rushing touchdown of the game. Josh Fleeks and Anthony Grant each contributed 21 rushing yards, as the Huskers finished with 155 yards on 48 carries.

The defense held Purdue under 200 total yards, including 96 rushing yards on 29 carries, while limiting the Boilermakers to 99 yards on 17-of-33 passing with two interceptions. The first time since holding Michigan to less than 100 yards rushing and 100 yards passing in 2012.

The Blackshirts flexed their muscles from the start, despite starting the game deep in their own territory after the Huskers fumbled the opening kickoff.

Purdue started its first drive at the NU 32, but the Blackshirts pushed the Boilers back and forced a turnover on downs after five-play drive of minus-1 yard.

After a scoreless first quarter, Haarberg and the Huskers found their footing with a methodical 15-play, 87-yard drive that started with 4:37 left in the first quarter and ended with Haarberg’s one-yard touchdown pass to tight end Thomas Fidone with 10:43 left in the second quarter to give Nebraska a 7-0 lead. Fidone’s fourth touchdown grab of the season capped Nebraska’s longest drive of the season in plays, yardage and time (8:52).

The Blackshirts made quick work of Purdue’s ensuing drive, as Hill grabbed his first interception of the game and returned it six yards to the Nebraska 27.

One play later, the Huskers went up 14-0 with Haarberg’s 73-yard touchdown pass to freshman wide receiver Jaylen Lloyd. It was Lloyd’s first career touchdown.

The Husker defense shut down the Boilermakers the rest of the half to take a 14-0 lead to the locker room.

The Blackshirts forced a three-and-out on Purdue’s drive to open the second half, but the Husker offense turned it over on Nebraska’s first offensive play of the third quarter.

The Boilers took over at the NU 13, but the Blackshirts pushed them back to then NU 20, before Elijah Jeudy blocked Ben Freehill’s 37-yard field goal attempt. Quinton Newsome scooped it up and raced 68 yards untouched into the end zone to put the Huskers in front 21-0 less than three minutes into the half. It was Nebraska’s first blocked field goal for a touchdown since Nathan Gerry accomplished the feat against Minnesota in 2014.

Nebraska extended the margin to 24-0 with 12:23 left in the game on freshman Tristan Alvano’s career-long 55-yard field goal.

The Blackshirts continued to play great defense, but another Nebraska turnover set Purdue up at the Husker 24. The Boilermakers finally converted with Hudson Card’s 29-yard touchdown pass to Jayden Veal with 9:08 left.

Less than three minutes later, Purdue’s Kydran Jenkins forced another fumble on 4th down-and-1, picked it up and ran 55 yards to paydirt to cut the margin to 24-14 with 6:24 remaining.

Johnson then ended any of Purdue’s comeback hopes with his 28-yard touchdown run to cap a six-play, 48-yard drive to make it 31-14 with 3:54 left.

Nebraska won the time of possession battle 33:10-26:50, and committed fewer penalties (6-49) than Purdue (8-84).

Isaac Gifford led the Blackshirts with 10 tackles including a pair of TFLs and a breakup, while John Bullock added seven stops. Phalen Sanford pitched in six tackles, while Newsome contributed five tackles.

The Huskers return to Big Ten road action next week when they travel to Michigan State. Kickoff in East Lansing is set for 11 a.m. (CT) with live television coverage on FS1.

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