Nebraska has six losses, and we haven't even reached November. Purdue won a conference game and scored 55 points.
These are strange times in the Big Ten.
The first year of Mike Riley Era continued its spiral into despair Saturday, as the Huskers were run all over by the Boilermakers, dropping to 3-6 overall and 1-4 in the Big Ten with a 55-45 loss in West Lafayette. It was the first home conference win of the Darrell Hazell Era and just the second Big Ten victory since Hazell took over ahead of the 2013 season.
Nebraska was playing without starting quarterback Tommy Armstrong, and the four interceptions tossed by Ryker Fyfe in his first career start were certainly a big part of the problem. But Purdue's offense had a big day, gaining 457 total yards en route to its highest-scoring game since the regular-season finale in 2012.
Boilermakers quarterback David Blough threw for 274 yards and four touchdowns, rushing for an additional 82 yards and a touchdown. Running back Markell Jones had 92 rushing yards and two touchdown totes.
A Nebraska field goal opened the scoring in the first quarter, but Blough's 56-yard takeoff went for a go-ahead touchdown. Purdue recovered a fumble on a bad snap inside the Nebraska red zone, resulting in a touchdown pass from Blough to Danny Anthrop. Fyfe answered with a touchdown pass, but later in the second quarter, Anthony Brown picked off Fyfe to again set the Boilers up with a very short field. Domonique Young hit the end zone shortly thereafter to put Purdue up, 21-9. Brown added a second interception before halftime.
The Huskers opened the third quarter with a touchdown drive to cut the lead to five points, but the Boilers answered with a touchdown drive of their own, with Blough finding Jordan Jurasevich for a score. That was the first of three straight Purdue touchdowns. Blough completed a pass to DeAngelo Yancey that went for an 83-yard touchdown, and a third Brown interception set up another Blough-to-Yancey touchdown. By the end of the third quarter, the Boilers had a 42-16 lead.
The fourth quarter was offensive insanity, as the Huskers managed 29 points to the Boilers' 13. Fyfe threw three touchdown passes in the quarter, and Nebraska got a scoring run from Andy Janovich. Jones turned in both of his touchdown rushes in the quarter to help stave off a Husker comeback.
Fyfe managed to rack up a ton of stats thanks to that massive fourth quarter. He finished with 407 yards and four touchdown passes. But he also threw four interceptions.
It all ended with a 10-point victory for Purdue, something that doesn't come around too often. Hazell is now 6-26 overall and 2-18 in Big Ten games in two and a half seasons at the helm.
[SHOP BIG TEN: Get your Purdue gear right here]
Meanwhile, Nebraska is a shambles after its latest loss. The first five of those losses all came by three points or fewer, making this one the worst of the season. But aside from just the scoring differential, it was a new low point for this program since it fired perennial nine-game winner Bo Pelini and hired Riley, who had limited success in his prior stop at Oregon State. This is the first time in program history the Huskers have lost six games before November. And a defeat to annual Big Ten bottom-feeder Purdue, even without Armstrong playing, is just something that's not supposed to happen to Nebraska.
It will be tough for Nebraska to reach bowl eligibility, as well. The Huskers would need to win all three of their remaining games, and two come against undefeated top-10 teams Michigan State and Iowa. If Nebraska misses a postseason berth, that will be the first time that's happened since Bill Callahan's final season in 2007.