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Keller, Nebraska narrowly avoid upset loss to Ball State

Sep 22, 2007 - 10:32 PM LINCOLN, Nebraska (Ticker) -- Sam Keller would not let Nebraska suffer another loss at home.

Keller threw three touchdown passes as the 24th-ranked Cornhuskers rallied for a 41-40 victory over Ball State on Saturday.

Nebraska (3-1) appeared a bit shell-shocked following last week's 49-31 beating here to top-ranked Southern California. The Cornhuskers' defense was awful once again in this one, allowing the Cardinals (2-2) to collect 610 yards of total offense.

"That's the way games go sometimes," Keller said. "Not everything goes as scripted. A win against Ball State scripted, 48-17 that doesn't happen all the time. Those guys came in with nothing to lose."

Keller - a transfer from Arizona State - delivered an outstanding performance in his fourth career game at Nebraska, completing 29-of-37 passes for a school-record 438 yards.

A senior, Keller rescued Nebraska from an embarrassing loss when he hooked up with Maurice Purify for an 11-yard TD pass with 3:13 remaining to give the Cornhuskers a 41-40 advantage.

"I've said before that I like these kinds of games," Keller said. "I'm not out of it until the final whistle blows - I won't allow it to happen."

The Cardinals responded with a 40-yard drive over the next three minutes, but Jake Hogue missed a potential game-winning 55-yard field goal with 12 seconds left.

Nebraska junior running back Marlon Lucky was a force in both the running and passing game, rushing for 102 yards and hauling in 11 receptions for 81 yards.

Purify finished with 122 yards on six catches while tight end Sean Hill chipped in with three receptions for 129 yards and a score for Nebraska, which avoided losing to an unranked non-conference foe for just the fourth time in the history of the program.

"We could have played better on both sides of the ball," Hill said. "We won though, and basically that's all that matters. A win is a win, and we needed a win going in to play Iowa State."

Nebraska carried a 14-10 advantage into the break, but the teams each scored a pair of touchdowns over the first 13 minutes of the third quarter.

Ball State reclaimed the lead with 54 seconds remaining in the third when Nate Davis hooked up with Dante Love for a 58-yard TD to make it 31-28.

The Cardinals built their advantage to 37-28 with 12:50 remaining in the contest on Davis' third TD, a 21-yard scoring strike to Madaris Grant.

But Nebraska drew within 37-35 when linebacker Bo Ruud intercepted Davis and returned it 31 yards for a score with 9:21 left.

"We've needed a big play for a while now," Ruud said. "It's been a few games since we've gotten one. It gave everyone some confidence and changed the momentum. I think that's what was important about it."

Hogue connected on a 22-yard field goal two minutes later to make it 40-35, but Keller proved his moxie on the ensuing drive, engineering an eight-play drive capped by his scoring strike to Purify.

"Our offensive line played a really beautiful game and I have some pretty good wide receivers - there's no doubt about that," Keller said. "These guys for the second week in a row carried the team."

Davis completed 26-of-43 passes for 422 yards and three TDs. His favorite target was Love, who had 214 yards on 10 receptions. MiQuale Lewis rushed for 122 yards and a score for Ball State, which barely missed its first victory over a ranked opponent since 2001.








  • NCAAF FINAL
    1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    BALL ST 0 10 21 9 40
    NEBRASKA (24) 7 7 14 13 41 FINAL
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: NEBRASKA - TD, MARLON LUCKY 28 YD RUN (ALEX
    HENERY KICK), 4:43. NEBRASKA
    7-0
    2ND QUARTER: BALL ST - TD, DARIUS HILL 20 YD PASS FROM
    NATE DAVIS (JAKE HOGUE KICK),
    5:14. BALL ST 7-7
    BALL ST - FG, JAKE HOGU

    Sep 22 3:56 PM
  • 130
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 17 roots (Upset, Close Finish)

    Ball State vs. Nebraska(24)Sep 22 3:54 PM
  • 113
    roots
    pdxguy96 Added 5 roots

    Ball State vs. Nebraska(24)Sep 22 3:51 PM
  • 108
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 31 roots (Upset, Close Finish)

    Ball State vs. Nebraska(24)Sep 22 3:50 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD NEBRASKA
    MAURICE PURIFY 11 YD PASS FROM SAM KELLER
    (TWO-POINT CONVERSION FAILED)
    BALL ST 40
    NEBRASKA (24) 41 3:13 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Ball State vs. Nebraska(24)Sep 22 3:45 PM
  • 77
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 54 roots (Upset, Close Finish)

    Ball State vs. Nebraska(24)Sep 22 3:45 PM


  • NCAAF
    FG BALL ST
    JAKE HOGUE 22 YD
    BALL ST 40
    NEBRASKA (24) 35 7:05 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Ball State vs. Nebraska(24)Sep 22 3:34 PM
  • 23
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 18 roots (Upset, Close Finish)

    Ball State vs. Nebraska(24)Sep 22 3:34 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD NEBRASKA
    BO RUUD 34 YD INTERCEPTION RETURN
    (ALEX HENERY KICK)
    BALL ST 37
    NEBRASKA (24) 35 9:21 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Ball State vs. Nebraska(24)Sep 22 3:24 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD BALL ST
    MADARIS GRANT 21 YD PASS FROM NATE DAVIS
    (PAT FAILED)
    BALL ST 37
    NEBRASKA (24) 28 12:50 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Ball State vs. Nebraska(24)Sep 22 3:12 PM


  • NCAAF END, 3RD QTR
    1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    BALL ST 0 10 21 31
    NEBRASKA (24) 7 7 14 28 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: NEBRASKA - TD, MARLON LUCKY 28 YD RUN (ALEX
    HENERY KICK), 4:43. NEBRASKA
    7-0
    2ND QUARTER: BALL ST - TD, DARIUS HILL 20 YD PASS FROM
    NATE DAVIS (JAKE HOGUE KICK),
    5:14. BALL ST 7-7
    BALL ST

    Sep 22 3:05 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD BALL ST
    DANTE LOVE 58 YD PASS FROM NATE DAVIS
    (JAKE HOGUE KICK)
    BALL ST 31
    NEBRASKA (24) 28 0:54 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Ball State vs. Nebraska(24)Sep 22 2:58 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD NEBRASKA
    NATE SWIFT 18 YD PASS FROM SAM KELLER
    (ALEX HENERY KICK)
    BALL ST 24
    NEBRASKA (24) 28 2:09 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Ball State vs. Nebraska(24)Sep 22 2:54 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD BALL ST
    MIQUALE LEWIS 43 YD RUN
    (JAKE HOGUE KICK)
    BALL ST 24
    NEBRASKA (24) 21 4:55 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Ball State vs. Nebraska(24)Sep 22 2:47 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD NEBRASKA
    SEAN HILL 73 YD PASS FROM SAM KELLER
    (ALEX HENERY KICK)
    BALL ST 17
    NEBRASKA (24) 21 6:39 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Ball State vs. Nebraska(24)Sep 22 2:41 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD BALL ST
    NATE DAVIS 14 YD RUN
    (JAKE HOGUE KICK)
    BALL ST 17
    NEBRASKA (24) 14 11:31 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Ball State vs. Nebraska(24)Sep 22 2:26 PM


  • NCAAF HALFTIME
    1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    BALL ST 0 10 10
    NEBRASKA (24) 7 7 14 HALFTIME
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: NEBRASKA - TD, MARLON LUCKY 28 YD RUN (ALEX
    HENERY KICK), 4:43. NEBRASKA
    7-0
    2ND QUARTER: BALL ST - TD, DARIUS HILL 20 YD PASS FROM
    NATE DAVIS (JAKE HOGUE KICK),
    5:14. BALL ST 7-7
    BALL ST - FG, J

    Sep 22 1:55 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD NEBRASKA
    QUENTIN CASTILLE 1 YD RUN
    (ALEX HENERY KICK)
    BALL ST 10
    NEBRASKA (24) 14 0:26 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Ball State vs. Nebraska(24)Sep 22 1:54 PM


  • NCAAF
    FG BALL ST
    JAKE HOGUE 45 YD
    BALL ST 10
    NEBRASKA (24) 7 4:41 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Ball State vs. Nebraska(24)Sep 22 1:46 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD BALL ST
    DARIUS HILL 20 YD PASS FROM NATE DAVIS
    (JAKE HOGUE KICK)
    BALL ST 7
    NEBRASKA (24) 7 9:46 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Ball State vs. Nebraska(24)Sep 22 1:27 PM


  • NCAAF END, 1ST QTR
    1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    BALL ST 0 0
    NEBRASKA (24) 7 7 END, 1ST QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: NEBRASKA - TD, MARLON LUCKY 28 YD RUN (ALEX
    HENERY KICK), 4:43. NEBRASKA
    7-0

    Sep 22 1:11 PM


  • NCAAF
    TD NEBRASKA
    MARLON LUCKY 28 YD RUN
    (ALEX HENERY KICK)
    BALL ST 0
    NEBRASKA (24) 7 10:17 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Ball State vs. Nebraska(24)Sep 22 12:50 PM
  • 5
    roots
    huegart Added 5 roots

    Ball State vs. Nebraska(24)Sep 17 9:12 AM