For the second straight season, Nebraska dropped a season-opening game against a Big Ten opponent in excruciating fashion, blowing not one, but two double-digit leads in a 31-28 loss to Northwestern in Dublin, Ireland. Routinely on the wrong end of close games, the Cornhuskers now fall to 5-21 in one-score affairs under fifth-year coach Scott Frost.
Nebraska showed real promise early in the third quarter, but everything changed once Frost called a bizarre onside kick after going up 28-17. Northwestern quickly sniffed out the kick and converted with a 44-yard drive capped off by a 3-yard Cam Porter touchdown to cut the lead to four.
Then, Texas transfer quarterback Casey Thompson threw his first interception in a Cornhuskers uniform. Northwestern responded with a six-play, 42-yard scoring drive culminating in a four-yard run from running back Evan Hull to give the Wildcats the lead for good. Northwestern ran the ball 12 straight times to kill the clock in the fourth quarter, using a four-minute drive to take the clock to just outside the two-minute mark. Thompson threw a back-breaking interception off the fingers of a receiver on the next possession to end the game.
Northwestern quarterback Ryan Hilinski played one of the best games of his lengthy carer, however, completing 27 of 38 passes for two touchdowns with no interceptions. Hull and Porter also combined for 213 yards rushing and two scores.
Much was asked of Thompson in his first start; the transfer threw 41 times for 355 yards with two total touchdowns. However, one pass was placed slightly high and another was tipped by a receiver for two frustrating interceptions. Running back Anthony Grant posted 101 yards rushing and two touchdowns, but the Cornhuskers averaged just 2.2 yards per carry outside of a 46-yard touchdown run.
CBS Sports will update this story with takeaways from the game