November 12, 2012 at 1:35 am

Angelique S. Chengelis

Cardiac Cornhuskers won't quit in pursuit of Big Ten Legends summit

Nebraska's Imani Cross (32) celebrates his third quarter touchdown with Spencer Long (61) during the Cornhuskers' come-from-behind victory Saturday. (Associated Press)

Maybe we should just call them the "Cardiac Cornhuskers."

Nebraska remains in the driver's seat in the Big Ten's Legends Divisions with yet another comeback victory, this time after trailing Penn State at halftime, 20-6.

The Cornhuskers lead the nation in double-digit comebacks, according to the Omaha World-Herald, after their latest, a 32-23 victory over the Nittany Lions.

Nebraska and Michigan are tied for the division lead, but Nebraska owns the tiebreaker thanks to their 23-9 win over the Wolverines on Oct. 27.

Clearly, this is a team with a lot of confidence built, in part, by the number of comebacks. The Cornhuskers trailed Wisconsin by 17, Northwestern by 12 and Michigan State by 10, but won them all.

In early October, Nebraska coach Bo Pelini challenged his team with a "win out" proposal.

"That's four down," Pelini told the World-Herald. "We've got two more to go."

Nebraska has won four straight following a 63-38 loss to Ohio State on Oct. 6.

Having had the three previous comeback experiences, Pelini said his halftime message against Penn State was simple.

"We've been through worse," Pelini told reporters.

The Cornhuskers finish with games against Minnesota (6-4, 2-4 Big Ten) and Iowa (4-6, 2-4).

Quarterback Taylor Martinez said "enough already" when asked about the slow starts. Pelini has another solution.

"I'm going to call the Big Ten Conference and spot (the opponent) 14," he said. "And then we're good to go. That's about what we have to do."

Indy or bust

The Badgers were not allowed to discuss the implications of winning their game Saturday against Indiana.

But before Wisconsin's 62-14 route to secure the Leaders Division spot in the Big Ten championship game in Indianapolis, Badgers coach Bret Bielema made clear what a victory would determine.

"I said, 'Embrace it, you win today, and you're punching your ticket to Indy,'" Beilema told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Wisconsin set a school record with 564 rushing yards.

Amazingly, the Badgers (7-3, 4-2) could finish out of the top stop in the division but still go to the title game. Their next two opponents — Ohio State (10-0, 6-0) and Penn State (6-4, 4-2) — are ineligible for postseason play because of NCAA sanctions.

"We have two big games coming up," Wisconsin left guard Ryan Groy told the paper. "We have a lot to prove yet."

So what now?

Purdue freshman Paul Griggs had not made a winning kick since converting an extra point in eighth grade.

Understandably, Griggs wasn't sure what to do when he made a 46-yard winner as Purdue beat Iowa, 27-24, snapping the Boilermakers' five-game losing streak. It was the Boilermakers' first victory at Iowa since 1992.

Griggs realized he didn't have to do much, considering he was overwhelmed by his teammates.

Even his mother, Julie , zipped past Kinnick Stadium security to reach her son.

As Griggs' 46-yard field goal left his right foot, the freshman said he stood "in disbelief."

"It seemed like everybody was grabbing me," Griggs told the Lafayette Journal and Courier. "As soon as I got away from them, I was running over toward the fans, and my mom ran out of the stands and she blindsided me. She was quite happy."

It was the season highlight for Griggs, who missed a field goal the previous week against Penn State. He also missed an extra point and had a field goal blocked at Ohio State in an overtime loss.

He said it

Penn State coach Bill O'Brien after the loss to Nebraska: "Losing is a terrible feeling. Miserable. It's like a part of you dies, to be honest with you."

Two-horse race

Legends standings

(Big Ten) (Overall)

Nebraska ... 5-1... 8-2

Michigan... 5-1... 7-3

Northwestern... 3-3... 7-3

Iowa... 2-4 ... 4-6

Minnesota... 2-4... 6-4

Michigan State... 2-4... 5-5

Remaining schedule


vs. Minnesota, at Iowa


vs. Iowa, at Ohio State

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