The Mike Riley era at Nebraska is off and running. And throwing. But BYU is the team with the upper hand at the halftime break, thanks to a 17-0 run to build a 24-14 edge on the Huskers.
Nebraska got on the board first with Armstrong completing a pass to Jordan Westerkamp. It was just a 14-yard play, but Westerkamp ran nearly three times that distance after somehow getting out of traffic on the left side of the field and finding daylight down the right side for the touchdown.
BYU had their backs against their end zone in the first quarter, but Taysom Hill quickly changed the field position with a 24-yard pass followed by another for 53 yards to Terenn Houk and Nick Kurtz, respectively. A defensive pass interference call against the Huskers helped move the ball to the three-yard line two plays later, and Hill crossed the end zone on the next play. Nebraska responded with its second touchdown of the first quarter when Armstrong completed a touchdown pass to Alonzo Moore from 22 yards out. Hill and BYU responded as well when the dual-threat quarterback scampered 21 yards for a touchdown. Hill left the game temporarily for some medical treatment immediately following his touchdown run. Hill returned later and connected on a touchdown pass with Mitch Matthews shortly after Nebraska lost a fumble. That score was the latest in a 17-0 run by the Cougars, and gave BYU a 10-point lead (24-14).
The first half was not without its share of controversy though. BYU defensive back Jordan Preator rolled into the back of the legs of Nebraska wide receiver David Sutton as a pass from Armstrong fell incomplete. Replays can sometimes be left to interpretation, but some felt Preaton took a cheap shot on the Nebraska receiver, who had to leave on a cart as a result. No flag was thrown from any of the officials, with two on the sideline observing the entire sequence.
The game has a long way to go still, so Nebraska is certainly not out of this one given how quickly the Huskers can score, but BYU’s defense is locking in and now has a double-digit lead to protect.