Sports writer

Parker joined the Journal Star as the University of Nebraska football beat writer in August 2017. He previously covered Montana State athletics for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2012.

Rutgers vs. Nebraska, 9/23/17

Nebraska defensive back Antonio Reed (25) returns an interception as he leaves Rutgers offensive lineman Kamaal Seymour (54) in his wake during the third quarter on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.


Nebraska football writer Parker Gabriel offers his extra points from Nebraska's 27-17 win over Rutgers.

Turning point: When NU took the field with 10 minutes, 59 seconds remaining, it trailed 17-14 and lined up at its own 3. Its four second-half plays had yielded an interception return for a touchdown and a three-and-out that lost 6 yards.

The Huskers, though, drove 97 yards, took a 21-17 lead and never looked back.

It was over when: Drew Brown capped a bruising 12-play, 50-yard drive with 5:59 remaining by hitting a 27-yard field goal. That put the Huskers up 10. The way the defense was playing, it felt like 28.

Quotable: Running back Devine Ozigbo, who entered play with two carries and 8 yards this season but ran 24 times for 101, on hearing the crowd cheer louder whenever he touched the ball.

“That’s one of the craziest things that has ever happened. I can say I’ll always remember that. I definitely feed off it, it’s just, it’s one of those things you can’t really describe. It’s just crazy, and I love them for it and I appreciate it so much.”

Game ball (Offense): Ozigbo. He owned up to not having the right attitude when he didn’t get the carries he wanted. They came Saturday and he responded. If he hadn’t, who knows if Nebraska beats Rutgers.

Game ball (Defense): Luke Gifford deserves one, but today’s goes to Antonio Reed. He didn’t flinch when running mate Aaron Williams was ejected. He played well and helped keep a young defense with many moving parts organized. Most impressive, he recorded an interception even with a cast on his hand.

Notable performance: Center Michael Decker played well, guiding the offensive line to its most consistent performance of the season despite playing only because starter Cole Conrad (knee, ankle) wasn’t able to.

Deep connection: Not today. Not exactly a banner day for offenses. Neither team had a passing play longer than 18 yards. In fact, the longest offensive play was a 20-yard Ozigbo run.

Numbers for the road

20: More plays for the Huskers than the Scarlet Knights. The hosts also had the ball for nearly 10 minutes more.

12: Punt returns of 25 yards or longer in De’Mornay Pierson-El’s career. He added to it with a 63-yarder Saturday.

4: True freshman to start on the Huskers’ offensive line in school history before Brenden Jaimes did just that at right tackle against the Scarlet Knights.

3.7: Yards per play for Rutgers, a sterling mark for the Blackshirts.

30: Nonoffensive points opponents have scored at Memorial Stadium this year. A punt return and a safety for Arkansas State, two interception returns for Northern Illinois and another for Rutgers. Without those, the defense is allowing 14.7 points per game at home this year.

Contact the writer at or 402-473-7439. On Twitter @HuskerExtraPG.


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