Jordan Westerkamp caught 11 passes for 118 yards and a TD
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Huskers Hold on for 36-28 Win

By NU Athletic Communications
Nebraska 
36
 
28
Southern Miss
Final Stats
Score by quarters
  1 2 3 4 TOTAL
Nebraska 10 12 7 7 36
Southern Miss 0 0 7 21 28
Rushing Leaders
(stats updated after each quarter)
  No. Yards Avg. TD Long
Newby (NU) 18 76 4.2 0 17
Smith (USM) 7 29 4.1 1 17
Passing Leaders
(stats updated after each quarter)
  Comp.-Att.-Int Yards TD
Armstrong (NU) 23-35-1 368 2
Mullens (USM) 26-41-0 447 2
Receiving Leaders
(stats updated after each quarter)
  No. Yards TD Long
Westerkamp (NU) 11 118 1 27
Martin (USM) 8 102 2 21
Tackle Leaders
(stats updated after each quarter)
  Tackles TFLs Sacks
Weber (NU) 12 1 0
Antoine (USM) 8 1 0
Game Notes

* Drew Brown’s 50-yard field goal to end the first half was a career long, bettering his 49-yard field goal at Miami last week.

Wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp caught a six-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter, marking his fifth straight game with a touchdown reception. Westerkamp’s streak of five straight games with a touchdown catch is one shy of the school record of six, held by Johnny Rodgers.

Westerkamp caught 11 passes for 118 yards, setting a career high for receptions, bettering his nine catches at Michigan State last season. Today’s game marks the eighth time in school history a Nebraska player has had double-digit receptions. The 11 receptions increased Westerkamp’s career receptions total to 90 moving him from 14th to 11th on the career receptions list. Westerkamp passed Brandon Kinnie (81), Jeff Kinney (82), and Mike McNeill (82) in today’s game. Westerkamp is one reception from the top 10 on the NU receptions list. 

* With 118 yards receiving today Westerkamp moved into 10th place on the Nebraska career receiving yardage list with 1,381 yards. He moved past Marlon Lucky (1,379 yards) into the No. 10 position on the list. The 118 yards marked Westerkamp’s fifth career 100-yard receiving game, including two in 2015.

* Quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. passed for 368 yards in today’s game, giving him four career 300-yard passing games, all in the past five games. Armstrong increased his season passing total to 1,266, making him just the second player in school history to reach 1,000 yards passing in just four games, joining Sam Keller who accomplished the feat in 2007.

* Drew Brown tied an NCAA record with five field goals in the first half. Brown's career high for a game entering Saturday was two field goals.

* Jordan Westerkamp (118) and Brandon Reilly (112) each topped 100 yards receiving in today’s game. The last time Nebraska has had a pair of receivers each record 100-yards in a game was the 2014 season opener against Florida Atlantic when Westerkamp (125) and Kenny Bell (116) each recorded 100 yards receiving.

Andy Janovich set career longs with a 28-yard rush in the third quarter and a 53-yard reception in the second quarter. He also had a 25-yard run in the second quarter, and finished the day with five rushes for 68 yards. Janovich entered the game with six career rushing yards and 29 career receiving yards.

Lincoln, Neb. Tommy Armstrong Jr., Drew Brown, Andy Janovich, Brandon Reilly and Jordan Westerkamp all produced career days to lead Nebraska to a 36-28 victory over visiting Southern Miss on Homecoming at Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Brown, a sophomore place-kicker from Texas, tied the NCAA record by kicking five field goals in the first half to help the Huskers to a 22-0 halftime lead. Brown's career-long 50-yarder as time expired to end the first half tied former Husker Dale Klein (at Missouri, 1985) and New Mexico State's Dat Ly (vs. Kansas, 1988) for the NCAA field goal record in a half.

Brown's kick also tied the Memorial Stadium record for field goals in a game.

While Brown booted the Huskers to a three-score lead with 16 first-half points, Westerkamp put the Big Red on the board first with a six-yard touchdown catch on Nebraska's opening drive the game. For Westerkamp, who finished with a career-high 11 receptions for 118 yards, it was his fifth consecutive game with a touchdown catch.

Nebraska jumped to a 10-0 lead at the end of the first quarter thanks to Brown's 29-yard field goal. Armstrong Jr., who finished with a career-high 431 yards of total offense, also enjoyed a perfect opening period by going 7-for-7 for 68 yards through the air. Armstrong finished the game 23-for-35 for 368 passing yards with two touchdown passes.

He added 63 rushing yards on seven carries, including a game-clinching 16-yard touchdown run with 9:30 left to put the Big Red up 36-21. On that carry, Armstrong became the 10th Nebraska quarterback in history to cross the 1,000-yard rushing mark in a career. 

Armstrong's touchdown dash came one play after Janovich appeared to have scored a 15-yard touchdown of his own. The senior fullback from Gretna, Neb., enjoyed a career day with five carries for 68 yards, while adding a huge reception for 53 yards to set up a Brown field goal in the second quarter. However, Janovich's touchdown run was wiped out by a holding penalty to set up Armstrong's score.

While Armstrong's touchdown secured the win, Southern Miss quickly answered with a touchdown of its own just 2:35 seconds later to cut the NU margin back to just one score at 36-28. 

USM elected to squib kick and Nebraska started its final drive at its own 29. After a 17-yard run by Armstrong to open the drive, the Huskers faced a 3rd-and-19 from their own 37 just three plays later. Armstrong then came up with his biggest play of the day, a 41-yard strike to Brandon Reilly after Armstrong extended the play with a scramble. Reilly finished the game with three catches for a career-high 112 yards on the afternoon.

The Huskers then milked as much time off the clock as they could, after having another Westerkamp touchdown pass wiped off the board by a penalty. The Big Red attempted to seal the win with another Brown field goal with 30 seconds left, but his school-record-tying seventh attempt of the day was blocked to give the Golden Eagles a last gasp.

The Huskers, who have suffered both their losses this season on the last play of the game, surrendered two receptions by Martin covering 40 yards to watch the Golden Eagles fly to the NU 40. But on the last play of the game, defensive lineman Freedom Akinmoladun notched his second sack of the game, throwing Mullens for an eight-yard loss to help Nebraska improve to 2-2. Southern Miss slipped to 2-2 with its other loss to Mississippi State.

Mullens finished the day 26-of-41 for 447 yards and two touchdowns. Martin, who had eight receptions for 102 yards and both touchdown catches, and Michael Thomas, who finished with five catches for a team-high 121 yards, were Mullens' favorite targets. Ito Smith added five catches for 72 yards of his own, while leading USM on the ground with 29 yards. 

As a team, Nebraska held Southern Miss to just 11 rushing yards as a team with four sacks among the Huskers' six tackles for loss. While Akinmoladun led NU with two sacks, linebacker Chris Weber led the Huskers with 12 total tackles.

Nebraska amassed 610 yards of total offense in the game, including 242 on the ground. Terrell Newby led the Big Red with 18 carries for 76 yards.

At halftime, Nebraska carried a massive 327-119 advantage in total offense, holding USM to minus-14 rushing yards in the first two quarters.

With Nebraska leading 10-0 at the end of the first, the second quarter was all Brown. He went 4-for-4 with field goals of 27, 40, 22 and 50 yards. Nebraska scored on six first-half possessions but could not convert three drives into the USM red zone into touchdowns. Those drive stalls allowed the Golden Eagles to stay within striking distance.

Nebraska brought its 22-0 halftime lead into the third quarter but turned the ball over on a tipped pass on its second play to spark the Golden Eagles. USM took advantage  with a 17-yard touchdown run by Ito Smith just 1:41 into the second half.

The Huskers answered at the end of the quarter with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Armstrong to Taariq Allen to send Nebraska to the fourth quarter leading 29-7.

Southern Miss cut the margin to 29-14 early in the fourth quarter, on Nick Mullens 21-yard touchdown pass to Casey Martin. USM then recovered an onside kick to set up some late-game drama. The Golden Eagles converted the recovery into a 19-yard scoring strike from Mullens to Martin 1:08 later to trim the Nebraska edge to 29-21 with 12:26 left.

Nebraska answered with the clinching drive capped by Armstrong's run with 9:30 left, 

The Huskers return to road action next week by opening Big Ten play at Illinois on Saturday, Oct. 3.

SCORING SUMMARY

Nebraska vs. Southern Miss
Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015
Memorial Stadium (Lincoln, Neb.)

First Quarter (NU 10-0)
NU - 9:57 - Jordan Westerkamp 6 pass from Tommy Armstrong Jr. (Drew Brown kick), 8 plays, 71 yards, 3:35 - NU 7-0

NU - 4:24 - Brown 29 FG, 8 plays, 49 yards, 4:03 - NU 10-0

Second Quarter (NU 22-0)
NU - 10:49 - Brown 27 FG, 11 plays, 70 yards, 5:02 - NU 13-0

NU - 5:31 - Brown 40 FG, 5 plays, 40 yards, 2:22 - NU 16-0

NU - 1:34 - Brown 22 FG, 5 plays, 43 yards, 1:57 - NU 19-0

NU - 0:00 - Brown 50 FG, 5 plays, 19 yards, 0:34 - NU 22-0

Third Quarter (NU 29-7)
USM - 13:19 - Ito Smith 17 run (Shaunfield kick), 2 plays, 25 yards, 0:48 - NU 22-7

NU - 0:27 - Taariq Allen 10 pass from Tommy Armstrong Jr. (Brown kick), 11 plays, 93 yards, 4:04 - NU 29-7

Fourth Quarter (NU 36-28)
USM - 13:34 - Casey Martin 21 pass from Nick Mullens (Shaunfield kick), 6 plays, 78 yards, 1:47 - NU 29-14

USM - 12:26 - Martin 19 pass from Mullens (Shaunfield kick), 5 plays, 53 yards, 1:26 - NU 29-21

NU - 9:30 - Armstrong Jr. 16 run (Brown kick), 4 plays, 39 yards, 1:15 - NU 36-21

USM - 6:55 - Jalen Richard 1 run (Shaunfield kick), 7 plays, 75 yards, 2:35 - NU 36-28

Attendance: 89,899
Time of Game: 3:40
Game Start: 11:01 a.m. (central)

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