For a few seconds, Luke Reimer was back in high school.
There he was, ball in his hands, blasting his way toward the north end zone at Memorial Stadium as the crowd and his teammates tried to push him over the goal line.
"That’s the stuff we’ve seen from Luke from his first day here," Nebraska coach Scott Frost said. "Kid from Northwest 12th Street in Lincoln that lived eight houses from my parents. We were lucky enough to get him to walk on, and about the second day, we figured we should have scholarshipped him. And he’s going to make a lot of plays around here."
Nebraska led Buffalo just 14-3 at that point early in the fourth quarter, when the former Lincoln North Star Navigator got his hand on a pass from the Bulls' Kyle Vantrease, knocked the ball in the air, brought it down and returned it to the Buffalo 1-yard line to finally give the Huskers some breathing room in what turned into a 28-3 win.
"I just thought, 'Score,'" Reimer said of his play. "So, kind of mad I didn't get in, but we got the touchdown on the next play. So can't be too mad about that."
Reimer didn't have much to be mad about Saturday. He finished with a career-high 16 tackles, and, in addition to his near pick six, he sniffed out a Buffalo swing pass on a fourth-down play in the first half and came from inside the hash marks to make the stop short of the sticks.
"You've got to play the call, and that's what I did," Reimer said. "Then you've just got to go attack and be violent."
In a twist of fate, Reimer's best game as a Husker came against a Buffalo program that was the only FBS school to offer him a scholarship out of high school.
That didn't necessarily make the game any more special for Reimer, who has earned a reputation as a hard worker since walking on at NU and getting on the field as a true freshman in 2019.
The play was still plenty fun for his buddies in Nebraska's linebacker corps.
Nick Henrich said he had the running back on the play, and saw Reimer react.
"So then I was hauling, trying to block the tight end, and then I looked around and was like, 'Oh, he's about to score,'" Henrich said. "Apparently he was 1 yard short. I don't know. I'm a little biased, but I think he got in.
"But Luke's a dog, so it was good to see."
Reimer led the way for a Nebraska linebacking crew that finished the day with the top four tackling performances on defense with Henrich finishing with eight, JoJo Domann with five, and Caleb Tannor with four.
"We were flying around," Domann said. "Hat off to Luke Reimer. Dude played his (butt) off. Nick Henrich had an awesome game. Those guys watch so much film. So it’s going to show up on game day. So I’m just glad that we did come up in those big time plays when we needed it the most."
Domann said the defense was on the sideline before Reimer's pick talking about needing a turnover.
"That's the one thing we haven't gotten," Domann said. "We need that momentum."
Shortly thereafter, Domann was in man coverage before looking over to see Reimer tipping the ball into the air and taking off toward the end zone.
"That's the beauty of it. You go as hard as you can for X amount of plays, and you're going to catch a break," Domann said. "You're going to catch them slipping. You're going to impose your will on them to a degree where you're making a game-changing play, and that's what happened on that play."
Reimer maybe didn't have this kind of game in mind when he first walked on. But as his teammate said, sometimes hard work pays off.
"Not at all. Not at all," Reimer said. "I don't know what I was expecting when I walked on here. I just got in here and got to work. It's paid off so far."
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