Adrian Martinez ran for two touchdowns and threw for another as mistake-prone Nebraska rolled up 620 total yards in wearing down Rutgers 28-21 in the kickoff to Big Ten Champions Week.
Dedrick Mills rushed for a career-high 191 yards and Wan’Dale Robinson ran for a touchdown and caught another as the Cornhuskers (3-5, 3-5) overcame four turnovers and denied Rutgers (3-6, 3-6) a Big Ten-best four wins in a season.
Martinez finished 24 of 28 for 255 yards and carried 23 times for 157 yards as Nebraska outgained Rutgers 620 yards to 252 yards.
Martinez scored on runs of 41 and 1 yard and threw a 14-yard scoring pass to Robinson that tied the game at 21-all late in the third quarter. His 1-yard run in the fourth quarter capped a nine-play, 92-yard drive that was the difference.
Safety Christian Izien intercepted two passes and recovered two fumbles for Rutgers, which started to turn things around this season with Greg Schiano back as coach for a second stint.
A 43-yard run by Mills set up a 1-yard, fourth-down TD run by Robinson to give Nebraska a 7-6 lead early in the second quarter.
A 33-yard scoring run by Isaih Pacheco on a four-and-1 and a 2-point conversion pass from Art Sitkowski to Bo Melton gave the Scarlet Knights a 14-7 lead at halftime.
Sitkowski played most of the game as starter and Nebraska transfer Noah Vedral was not able to play because of an ankle injury.
Martinez tied the game early in the third quarter with a 41-yard run but Aron Cruickshank put Rutgers ahead with a 98-touchdown return on the ensuing kickoff.
Nebraska: Coach Scott Frost has a high note to go into the offseason but this is the end to another disappointing season. This year was marked by too many mistakes.
Rutgers: While it’s a losing record, it’s the Scarlet Knights best season in the Big Ten. Their three conference wins equal their total from the previous four seasons combined.
The season should be over for both schools.