Nebraska vs. Northwestern score: Cornhuskers stumble to worst start in program history

When Scott Frost returned to his alma mater as a coach, he was probably hoping to make history ... just not like this.

Nebraska lost to Northwestern 34-31 on Saturday, dropping to 0-6 on the season, which marks the first time in program history that the Cornhuskers have opened a season dropping its first six games. In a season filled with losses, this one may have been the most painful too because, for a while, it looked as if Nebraska would eek out that first victory.

Nebraska took a 28-14 lead early in the fourth quarter on a 3-yard touchdown run from Maurice Washington. Northwestern would respond with a touchdown drive of its own to cut the lead to 28-21, but a few drives later, Clayton Thorson was picked off in Northwestern territory. The Huskers found themselves with a chance to put Northwestern away for good, but instead had to settle for a 34-yard field goal to take a 31-21 lead with 5:41 to play -- a 31-21 lead that wouldn't be large enough, unfortunately.

Northwestern answered with a 15-play, 62-yard drive that ended with a field goal to cut the lead to 31-24. Pat Fitzgerald, with all his timeouts and 2:27 remaining, took a chance and went for an onside kick. The attempt failed as Nebraska recovered, but the Northwestern defense did its job, forcing a three-and-out that took a mere 24 seconds off the clock.

Nebraska then seemed to pull a rabbit of its hat, burying Northwestern at its 1-yard line following a punt. Northwestern proceeded to move 99 yards in eight plays, finishing the drive with a TD pass from Thorson to JJ Jefferson with 12 seconds left on the clock. The game went to overtime, and Nebraska's first possession resulted in an interception after the Huskers decided to go for it on fourth down. That meant all the Wildcats needed to win was a field goal, and that's what Northwestern got as walk-on kicker Drew Luckenbaugh split the uprights for the win.

As a result, Nebraska is 0-6 for the first time in its history and 0-4 in the Big Ten. If it wants to get back to a bowl game, it will have to win each of its remaining six games, and that includes contests against Ohio State, Michigan State and Iowa. If it loses just one of those games, it will miss out on a bowl game for the second straight year. That hasn't happened since the 1967 and 1968 seasons, and of course, there were a lot fewer bowl games being played then.

CBS Sports Writer

Tom Fornelli has been a college football writer at CBS Sports since 2010. During his time at CBS, Tom has proven time and again that he hates your favorite team and thinks your rival is a paragon of football... Full Bio

Our Latest Stories