LINCOLN-There are tough ways to lose games, and then there is the Hail Mary, gut-wrenching type of loss.
Despite the loss, here are some quick hitters from a game that could have gone either way.
Offensive game ball: Treyvon Green, who had made a huge return after missing the Iowa game. Three touchdowns in the first half was just one short of his season total coming into the game. After Stephen Buckley went out, Green had to become an every-down back, and he responded with a huge run to set up his second touchdown on an option pitch from Kain Colter. After getting injured early in the fourth quarter and needing to be helped off, sixth-stringer Tim Hanrahan was the next available option, but Green came back on the next drive with a knee brace. He finished with 149 yards.
Offensive big play: The Cats got the ball on their own 7-yard line after the Tyler Scott pick, but they were stuffed by the Huskers right on the goal line to force a fourth down. With 1:20 left on the clock, Jeff Budzien had a tough angle for a 21-yard field goal. He didn't get much height on it, and it didn't look pretty, but it snuck inside the left goalpost. For a little bit, it looked like the game winner.
Defensive game ball: Chi Chi Ariguzo. The junior was all over the field. He made a big play in the backfield and had an interception. This was a tough call because there were so many guys on the defense who made big plays. Scott was huge, freshman cornerback Matthew Harris and redshirt freshman Dwight White were also both very good after Nick VanHoose went out, and it was a solid defensive performance until the final play of the game.
Defensive big play: Tyler Scott dropped back in coverage on 2nd-and-10 in Nebraska territory with 2:25 left in the game, and Tommy Armstrong didn't see him coming at all. When Armstrong tried to float a throw toward the left sideline, Scott snatched it out of the air. He then returned it 29 yards to the Nebraska 7-yard line. It was Armstrong's third interception of the game, and Nebraska's fourth overall.
Turning point: Ron Kellogg's 49-yard pass to Jordan Westerkamp as time ran out. It looked like Northwestern was in great shape, even after Ameer Abdullah fought for a first down on a 4th-and-15 in Nebraska territory. With four seconds left, though, Kellogg dropped back and chucked it toward the end zone in a last-gasp attempt. It bounced off several hands and fell to a wide-open Westerkamp for the touchdown. Mayhem ensued.
Stat of the day: Eleven straight drives without scoring for Northwestern. A solid start to the game was followed by much of the same offense that we had seen the previous three weeks. Hanrahan was brought in with injuries to Buckley and Green, Trevor Siemian and Colter finished 8-for-21 through the air, and it was quite a struggle until Scott gifted three points to the offense.
Unsung heroes: Chance Carter. Without Dean Lowry, the front four of the Wildcats wasn't in great shape. Carter stepped up by beating up the Nebraska O-line for two sacks on the day. Seeing Scott and Ifeadi Odenigbo get to the QB wasn't very surprising, but Carter getting it done was an unexpected plus.
Atmosphere: Over 91,000 fans packed Nebraska's Memorial Stadium, a little surprising considering both teams have been struggling. When their team went down, Husker fans didn't boo, and when Nebraska began coming back, it got loud. No crowd noise recording at practice could prepare Northwestern for that, especially not what ensued after the Hail Mary.