LINCOLN, Neb. (AP)—So many games between Nebraska and Kansas at Memorial Stadium have been over by the fourth quarter.
This time, that’s when things got interesting.
After No. 21 Nebraska blew a 17-point lead, Cody Glenn scored from a yard out in the first overtime and the Huskers’ defense held Kansas out of the end zone for a 39-32 victory Saturday night.
“I couldn’t believe it was happening,” Glenn said. “We scored the second play of the game, so I was thinking we were just continuing on from last week. For them to come back like that, I was shocked. We had to dig down deep.”
The Huskers, coming off a 56-0 rout of Troy State, led 24-10 at half and looked as if they might roll Kansas, just as they have done most other years this game has been played in Lincoln. In 18 previous meetings, all Nebraska wins, the Huskers had won by an average of 35 points.
But Adam Barmann, who threw three interceptions and fumbled in the first half, led Kansas on two long touchdown drives in the final 6:32 to force overtime.
Nebraska (4-1, 1-0 Big 12) got the ball first in OT. Zac Taylor hit Nate Swift along the sideline with a 21-yard pass to the Kansas 1. KU coach Mark Mangino challenged whether the catch was good, but the call was upheld on video review. Glenn then bulled into the end zone.
Kansas (3-2, 0-1) moved to the 9 on its possession, but Barmann overthrew Marcus Henry in the end zone on fourth down, ending the Jayhawks’ upset bid.
“We won. That’s about all we did. We obviously didn’t play our best ball,” linebacker Stewart Bradley said. “When you play a bad game, it’s nice to get out with a win. It says something about the character of our team to be done, to have the lead, lose it and come back and win in overtime.”
The Huskers avenged last year’s 40-15 loss in Lawrence, Kan., which ended a 36-game Cornhuskers’ winning streak in the series.
“I think it’s cause for celebration,” Taylor said. “We’re 1-0 in conference play. If we had won by 60, we would still be 1-0. It’s tough that we blew that lead. That’s really disappointing. That was a good team we were going against, and I’ll take any win.”
Taylor completed 15-of-33 passes for 395 yards. Barmann was 27-for-54 for 405 yards, and Jon Cornish ran 31 times for 145 yards and a touchdown.
Nebraska’s offense went flat after it built the 24-7 lead. The Huskers saw six straight possessions go nowhere, with three ending on turnovers. Kansas scored nine points off the turnovers to get back in the game.
“We would have liked to have won,” Mangino said. “There are no such things as moral victories. We’re not playing horseshoes. Close doesn’t count. But I can’t tell you how proud I am in my players. They hung in there. They just came up a little short.”
Barmann said he never thought the Jayhawks were out of the game.
“There was a lot of game left. One bad quarter is all it was,” he said. “We were disappointed with the performance in the first quarter. Once we overcame that, we played relatively well.”
Barmann, starting his second straight game in place of the injured Kerry Meier, threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Brian Murph with 46 seconds left to pull the Jayhawks even at 32 and cap an 81-yard drive.
Kansas’ tying score came after Taylor’s fourth touchdown pass, a 75-yarder to Frantz Hardy with 4:13 left, and 2-point conversion pass put the Huskers up 32-25. Hardy, who had a 78-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter, finished with three catches for 159 yards.
Barmann had given the Jayhawks a one-point lead with 6:32 left with a 1-yard pass to Derek Fine.
“I’m just proud of the resiliency of our football team and the way that we came back and fought back and came back from behind and took the lead,” Nebraska coach Bill Callahan said.
Kansas lost its conference opener for the eighth time in nine years and dropped to 1-16 in Big 12 road games under Mangino.
Nebraska scored on the game’s second play from scrimmage, with Taylor connecting with Terrence Nunn for a 75-yard touchdown.
Kansas linebacker Eric Washington was taken off the field on a stretcher in the third quarter. He was injured when he tackled running back Marlon Lucky. Television replays showed that his helmet rammed Lucky’s shoulder.
Mangino said Washington briefly lost consciousness and didn’t have feeling in his extremities. But he regained feeling shortly after being taken off the field, Mangino said.
“It was scary for a moment out there,” he said. “He’s fine with his extremities. It’s going to be a full recovery.”