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Nebraska vs. Northwestern 2012 final score: Wildcats collapse in 29-28 loss

The Nebraska Cornhuskers significantly out-gained the Northwestern Wildcats on offense most of the game Saturday, but needed a late rally led by quarterback Taylor Martinez to win 29-28.

Martinez threw two of this three touchdown passes in the fourth quarter after Northwestern's Mike Trumpy scored on a touchdown run early in the quarter to put the Wildcats up 28-16. Martinez found Taariq Allen for an eight-yard touchdown with six minutes left and then connected with Ben Cotton on a seven-yard touchdown with 2:38 remaining to take the lead.

Northwestern had the ball back with a chance to drive for the winning score, but Jeff Budzien missed a 53-yard field goal attempt to give the ball back to Nebraska.

The Wildcats have had problems holding leads in the fourth quarter this season. They led the entire second half prior to Martinez's scoring drives. Venric Mark, who had 117 yards in the game, put Northwestern up 21-10 with an 80-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Martinez answered with his own rushing touchdown.

Nebraska had the lead twice briefly in the first half, getting a 27-yard field goal from Brett Maher on their opening drive. After a fumbled punt return by Nebraska, Northwestern scored on a touchdown pass from Trevor Siemian to Dan Vitale.

Nebraska responded with a touchdown pass from Martinez to Kenny Bell to go up 10-7, but Siemian found Tony Jones for a 27-yard touchdown to give the Wildcats a 14-10 halftime lead.

Northwestern falls to 6-2 overall and 2-2 in the Big Ten. Nebraska is 5-2 and 2-1 in the Big Ten.

Box Score Hero: Martinez was 27-for-39 for 342 yards and three passing touchdowns. He also ran for 65 yards and a score. Nebraska had 542 yards of total offense to just 301 for Northwestern.

Rankings Ramifications: Northwestern was briefly ranked before losing a fourth quarter lead against Penn State Oct. 6 knocked them out of the rankings. Had they won today, they might've been a candidate to rejoin the Top 25. Nebraska probably won't get back in this week, but a win over Michigan next week could certainly put them back in consideration.

But Did They Cover? Nebraska was favored by seven, so they didn't cover.

For More On This Game: For more on Huskers football, visit Nebraska blog Corn Nation. For more on Wildcats football, visit Northwestern blog Sippin’ On Purple, plus Big Ten blog Off Tackle Empire and SB Nation Chicago.

Next Week's Schedule: Northwestern hosts Iowa at noon next week. Nebraska hosts Michigan at 8 p.m.

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