WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue’s offense managed points in a variety of styles in defeating Nebraska 55-45 on Saturday before an announced 31,351 fans at a damp and gloomy Ross-Ade Stadium.

A redshirt freshman quarterback, with no runs of longer than 13 yards this season, burst through a large hole on a draw play and ran 56 yards, untouched, for a touchdown.

That man, David Blough, also threw a beautiful, perfectly delivered 83-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver DeAngelo Yancey.

Nebraska defensive coordinator Mark Banker noted that against other teams, Blough often overthrew such passes or tossed them out of bounds.

“He’s shown capabilities, he just happened to have more success against us,” Banker said. “A couple of the deep throws were something we hadn’t seen out of him, necessarily. But I thought he put a couple of those in pretty good spots. He hadn’t hit many of those.”

Purdue also scored off a sustained drive — 13 plays, 80 yards lasting 4 minutes, 22 seconds.

But the part that peeved Banker most was those drives Purdue started at the Nebraska 16-, 22-, 19-, 6- and 45-yard lines.

Four resulted from turnovers.

Banker wasn’t blaming the offense, but rather was disappointed in his defense for not bowing up in the red zone, where the Huskers had been holding teams to field goals rather than touchdowns.

Not Saturday. Of the above drives Purdue began in Nebraska territory, all resulted in touchdowns.

“It’s football. You still have to make plays, and you still have get off the field,” Banker said. “And it was disappointing at the end we got pushed around and they scored.”

Nebraska entered Saturday ranked No. 24 nationally in red-zone defense, holding opponents to 14 touchdowns on 34 trips inside the 20-yard line (41 percent) and to 12 field goals, for an overall red-zone conversion of 76 percent.

“It’s pretty tough, but we don’t control that,” Nebraska tackle Maliek Collins said. “We just play defense, man. Whatever predicament we’re in, we’ve got to fight our way out of it.”

Blough got the starting job in Purdue’s fourth game of the season and had completed 48.1 percent of his passes through three Big Ten games.

He was 28-of-43 (65.1 percent) against Nebraska for 274 yards and four touchdowns.

He hurt Nebraska with short passes off rollouts and the occasional downfield completion. He finished with 82 rushing yards.

“Every quarterback in this league is a good quarterback, good athlete. We knew he wasn’t a cumbersome guy,” Banker said. “He showed his ability to get to the edge, specifically in the Wisconsin game. That’s what ended up working for them in that game.”

And after seeing Northwestern’s Clayton Thorson reel off runs of 68 and 49 yards last week against Nebraska, players figured other teams, this late in the season, would be willing to try the same thing.

Purdue did it in the first quarter with Blough, who had a huge hole open to the right for his touchdown that gave Purdue a 7-3 lead.

“It’s an execution thing,” defensive end Jack Gangwish said. “It’s something we failed at stopping before. Teams are going to continue to use it against us, and it’s going to make it especially important for us to fix our issues here.

“We knew he had the capability. We knew he was a pretty athletic guy. We kind of figured that at this point of the season, based on the film we put out there, that would be something we’d see.”

Now Nebraska, having allowed its highest point total of the season to a team whose only victory had come against an FCS team, is numb again.

Yet frustrating isn't the word Banker would use.

“I’m disappointed, No. 1, in myself, for not being able to come up with a cure, or what have you,” Banker said. “Players putting good work during the week and have been doing a decent job as far as paying attention to detail.

“It’s not just coming out the way we want to on the field. It’s the part you wish was obviously different, and myself, as the leader of the group, could come up with ways to make that happen.”

Reach the writer at 402-473-7436 or brosenthal@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraBR.