Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Positives: New A.D., Rising QB, Jet's View + Drew

By Randy York

Rosenthal: Huskers Bear Down When It Matters Most

Lee's 431-Yard Passing Night Helps Huskers Escape

We lead this blog with a short memo on Bill Moos for one simple reason – Nebraska’s new director of athletics is calm, caring and composed. His demeanor speaks volumes, and I believe the Huskers benefit while their overall leader listens, learns and helps the Huskers finish the 2017 season with momentum.

I base that thought on a hunch and a brief glimpse that showed how Moos thinks, acts and shares. The Big Ten Network team welcomed Moos to the conference in a short game day interview in West Lafayette, Indiana, last Saturday.

Even though the interview was a mere 90-second segment, it reflected the camaraderie that Moos brings from the Pac 12 to the Big Ten. He listens and evokes immediate laughter when BTN football analyst Glen Mason fibs about not knowing who bought dinner years ago on the night before a televised game.

Nebraska Athletic Director Bill Moos Has a Solemn Slogan: Don't Go in and Break Up the Furniture 

It was an easy way to get to the point. BTN’s analysts were intrigued that Moos (pictured above at a Nebraska soccer game) took over NU’s athletic director job in the middle of the season, weeks before basketball begins and more than halfway through the football season.

Asked what the No. 1 item was on his desk, Moos smiled and answered quickly and respectfully.   

“Well,” he said, “my practice has always been ‘don’t go in and break up the furniture’. There are so many things at Nebraska that are working right, you just observe and assess for a while and retreat with my senior staff and put together a blueprint and then get it going. Obviously, everybody wants this program to win.”

Acknowledging Husker Nation’s deep hunger for Nebraska to return to its “glory days” Loos closed the door on the strategic road he takes to improve results and influence fans with great expectations.

“I took this job because of the great fan base,” Moos said. “Nebraska has sold out Memorial Stadium for every game since I was 11 years old,” the 66-year-old Husker A.D. pointed out. “Our fan base’s passion really impressed me. Throughout my career, I studied Nebraska. It was one of the top three or four jobs in the country, and I feel very fortunate to be the new athletic director.”

In Final Drive, Lee Completed 7of 8 Passes for 70 Yards and a 13-Yard TD to Stanley Morgan

Not surprisingly, Tanner Lee feels equally fortunate to be Nebraska's starting quarterback, especially after the Huskers had not won a game since beating Illinois on Sept. 29. The Huskers' back-to-back home losses to Wisconsin and Ohio State created an opportunity to change the course of an awkward season. With the running game sputtering, Lee completed 32-of-50 passes for 431 yards and a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns. He did not throw an interception, and Nebraska played turnover-free football.

Lee threw a 13-yard touchdown strike to Stanley Morgan Jr. (No. 8 below) with 14 seconds left to bring Nebraska back from a 12-point fourth-quarter deficit to earn a 25-24 victory at Purdue  “We didn’t have a timeout, so we were really under the gun with time," Nebraska offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf said. "Our receivers did a nice job finding the completion and getting out of bounds. Tanner was poised, too. That last drive was really well done."

Langsdorf said Lee was excellent on the phones about adjustments, a trait that reflects why he's a captain. The victory helped Nebraska improve to 4-4 overall and 3-2 in the Big Ten. Purdue is 3-5 overall and 1-4 in the conference.

Morgan was one of two Husker receivers to reach the 100-yard mark. He hauled in six receptions for 112 yards, including his game-winning score. Tight end Tyler Hoppes added five receptions for 105 yards, including a 27-yard touchdown catch with 11:03 left in the game that pulled the Huskers within 24-19.

Seven Huskers caught at least one pass at Purdue, including five who each recorded five or more receptions. Freshman JD Spielman had six catches for 70 yards, and De'Mornay Pierson-El had five for 62 yards.

Rodgers: Huskers Going in Right Direction, 'Trying Real Hard to Get Where We All Want to Be'

Johnny "The Jet" Rodgers told me that watching the Huskers come back made him so happy "I don’t know what to do," he said. "That was a must-win and they won on the road! We’re putting some things together and we’re going in the right direction. I was just so happy for the University and the state because we’re all in this together.

"Everyone’s pushing to get this program moving," Rodgers said. "We have a good team. We need to get better and we’re trying as hard as we can. I’ve heard people say we quit in our last game, but I don’t see anybody quitting. They’re giving it their all and putting everything into it. They’re trying real hard to get where we all want to be."

Rodgers reminds fans that "when you make some great plays like we did, you make some great mistakes, too, because you’re playing as hard as you can. That’s part of the deal. There is no doubt about their character.

"That win was a big one for us and for the whole state. It was a must-win and we won," Rodgers said. "We have a lot of young guys and you know what? They're believing that they can do it. I didn’t see anybody quitting going through what they went through. They took everything they had in them right down to the wire.

"They made it tough on themselves, but they still came back. To me, that shows character in the midst of adversity," Rodgers said. "When you win in the last remaining seconds, it gives you hope and gives you confidence. This was a historic game for us and just might be what we need down the stretch. Miracles can happen. I don’t want to overuse that word because it looks to me like we’re taking the right steps."

Congratulations to Drew Brown, Who Now Has 57 Field Goals to Match His Older Brother Kris Brown's Total

Through the first three quarters of Saturday night’s game, Nebraska senior place-kicker Drew Brown (No. 34 above) was the only Husker to put any points on the scoreboard. He kicked a 44-yard field goal 3:18 into the game to give the Huskers a 3-0 lead, then kicked a 21-yard field goal with 7:30 left in the half.

Nebraska cut the margin to 14-9 on the opening drive of the third quarter on Brown's 37-yard field goal. Brown also closed third-quarter scoring with a 25-yard field goal with 2:06 left to pull within 17-12 against the Boilermakers heading into the final period.

Brown’s four field goals place him into a tie with his older brother, Kris Brown. Each has kicked 57 field goals in their respective collegiate careers at Nebraska. More importantly, Brown’s kicks of 44, 21, 37 and 25 yards kept Nebraska within striking distance after four Nebraska drives had stalled inside the Purdue red zone.

Congratulations to Drew Brown for catching up with his older brother, who played in the NFL but continues to come to Lincoln every Nebraska football Saturday to support his little brother.

Send a comment to ryork@huskers.com (Please include city, state)

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