LINCOLN, Neb. — Call it the cruelest season in Northwestern history.
Nebraska beat the Wildcats on the final play of the game — a 49-yard Hail Mary. The deflection landed right into the arms of Jordan Westerkamp, allowing the Cornhuskers to leave the field with a shocking 27-24 victory.
The press box erupted as injured Nebraska players shouted after the impossible turn of events.
Kellogg fired the pass from Nebraska’s 43-yard line. It appeared that safety Ibraheim Campbell got a piece of the ball before it ricocheted to Westerkamp, a Montini grad and the Tribune’s 2011 football player of the year.
Northwestern (4-5) lost its fifth straight game.
The Wildcats had taken a 24-21 lead with 80 seconds to play on Jeff Budzien’s 21-yard field goal.
Northwestern did almost nothing on offense in the second half but benefited from interceptions by Chi Chi Ariguzo, Dwight White, Collin Ellis and Tyler Scott.
Treyvon Green was NU’s star, rushing for 149 yards and three scores on 19 carries.
Green appeared to injure his right knee after getting caught in an awkward pile early in the fourth quarter. He needed help to leave the field, giving way to walk-on Tim Hanrahhan.
Green did return to the game, a bright spot after what fellow tailback Stephen Buckley endured.
Memorial Stadium went silent with 4:39 to play in the first quarter after Buckley went down with a serious left knee injury.
After catching a Kain Colter pass and gaining 17 yards, Buckley stayed down for several minutes. He finally was carted off the field with a serious left knee injury and he went to an area hospital at halftime with his parents, who live in the Dallas area. He returned to NU’s sideline on crutches.
Buckley and Green entered as NU’s only healthy tailbacks after injuries to Venric Mark, Mike Trumpy and freshman Warren Long.
Injuries also claimed cornerback Nick VanHoose (concussion), left tackle Jack Konopka, linebacker Collin Ellis and defensive tackle Will Hampton.