MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — When it was all said and done, Miami had actually outdone Nebraska in the penalty category as well as the score.

That didn't make looking at those penalty stats any easier for Mike Riley after his team's 36-33 overtime loss to the Hurricanes.

The Huskers racked up 12 penalties for 98 yards. And is the coach concerned?

"Yeah, absolutely, absolutely," Riley answered a reporter in mid-question. "We got better last week and then procedurally tonight, it was not good. We had a hard time with some formations. No telling what that in the end cost us."

The Huskers also racked up 12 penalties for 90 yards in the loss to BYU.

An ACC officiating crew may have been stricter than some, calling multiple illegal-formation penalties on both teams. The Hurricanes ended up with 13 penalties for 114 yards themselves.

Riley was "disappointed, frankly" at the first illegal-formation call on right tackle Nick Gates, which erased a big completion to Jordan Westerkamp.

Usually a team gets a warning before such a call. "Because that's a subtle deal, and I talked to Nick about it. And he felt good about how he was lining up, so he really didn't get it. So we'll have to check it out. I really didn't see it. ... The stuff at the end, though, that's our fault."

The end included a late hit by left tackle Alex Lewis after Miami intercepted Tommy Armstrong in overtime, and tried to return it the other way. The penalty carried over to Miami's possession, giving the Hurricanes the ball at the NU 12-yard line instead of the 25.

Fight Tommy

Armstrong may have had his worst play on his last play.

But you could also say the Huskers aren't in overtime without the fight of Armstrong, who threw for 309 yards and ran for 49, and improvised some big plays, including a 22-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Westerkamp in the third quarter that came after Armstrong avoided a rush.

"He was harassed a lot," Riley said. "Things were going not very good and I really appreciate how he just kept competing. I think that's just a real credit to him. It was hard. Lot of bad stuff. Pass rush, dropped balls. I think we dropped three third-down conversions. Those were killers.

"So he kept battling, and I love him for it."

Armstrong, to his credit, was taking plenty on his shoulders.

"Throwing a pick on the first play (of overtime) is not the way to have it go," he said. "We'll learn from it. I'm going to learn from it myself as a leader, and make sure I try to fix it, and move on to next week."

Unusual shank

Husker punter Sam Foltz said he was fully recovered from an ankle injury that kept him out of last week's game.

But the junior, who had a spectacular offseason of booming punts, didn't care for his performance.

"I felt good. I was happy to be out there. It sucked missing a game ... but (I) didn't perform well at all," he said.

Foltz punted seven times and had a long of 56 yards. But he started rough, shanking a 10-yard punt on his second attempt of the day. Instead of pinning Miami deep, the Canes got it at their 40. They scored a touchdown four plays later.

That mis-hit wasn't because of the injury.

"I couldn't tell you," he said. "It was into the wind. I couldn't really Aussie (rugby) punt it into the wind, so I tried to let up on it, hit a nice spiral into the wind, pierce the wind, but it didn't work out that way."

Foltz expects to bounce back. He also expects the team to do the same.

"I'm excited to see where we can go with this, because I think we can use this for motivation," he said.

Valuable frosh

True freshman wide receiver Stanley Morgan was certainly a bright spot, catching four passes for 78 yards in just his third game.

The first touchdown of his career? It came with 33 seconds left to allow the Huskers to tie the game and go to overtime.

Morgan, however, took blame for an interception at the end of the first half thrown by Armstrong. Armstrong tried to hit Morgan near the pylon on second-and-10 from the Miami 14. A score would have cut the deficit to 10 at the half.

"That was my fault, all the way," Morgan said. "I tried to release outside, go back inside, and I can't do that. That's all on me. I blame myself for that. It feels like I'm not a freshman anymore. I've got to really go. Really go ahead and do it."

Morgan also worked as a kick returner, returning three kicks for 71 yards, including a long of 27.

Must have been something he did in high school? "Never."

Injury updates

Linebacker Michael Rose-Ivey left the game in the third quarter and did not return.

It's a groin injury, Riley said. Rose-Ivey did interviews after the game. He'd know more about his injury after an MRI on Sunday.

Brandon Reilly also got banged up after a 41-yard catch on NU's final drive of the fourth quarter. Reilly tried to get off the field, but was met halfway there by trainers. Fortunately, it doesn't initially appear to be serious.

"(Reilly) said he had the wind knocked out of him, which was good," Riley explained.

Nothing surprising

Miami didn't do anything the Huskers hadn't seen on film, Rose-Ivey said.

"It was all on us. We didn't execute, myself included. I'm disappointed in the way I played and the way I led the team today. I put a lot of that on me. I didn't come to play. Some guys got a little beat up ... but that's no excuse, myself included. We've got to come out better."

This and that

The Huskers are now 8-2 all-time in overtime games. They had won three straight dating to a loss at Texas Tech in 2008. That was also Bo Pelini's first road game as Nebraska coach. ... With 358 yards of offense, Armstrong moved ahead of Jerry Tagge, Jammal Lord, Joe Ganz and Tommie Frazier into fourth on the NU career list. He now has 5,521 yards. ... A win would have been the largest comeback in school history. The previous was a rally from 21 points down against Ohio State in 2011. ... Drew Brown's 49-yard field goal, which made it with plenty of room to spare, was a career long. His previous best was from 44. ... Redshirt freshman Freedom Akinmoladun had a 12-yard sack. He now has two sacks and at least one tackle for loss in each game. ... The Nebraska-Miami series is tied at 6-6. The Hurricanes are 5-1 in games played in Miami.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7439 or bchristopherson@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraBC.


Load comments