Ohio State spoils Nebraska's hopes; Armstrong injured
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Nebraska's postseason dreams were dealt a savage blow by Ohio State. Now the Cornhuskers may have to carry on without their star quarterback.
Tommy Armstrong Jr. was taken to a hospital after he slammed his head on the turf while being tackled in Nebraska's 62-3 rout by the No. 6 Buckeyes . He returned to the sidelines in street clothes later in Saturday night's game, but coach Mike Riley said his status for next weekend's game against Minnesota is unclear.
Coming into the game, No. 9 Nebraska (7-2, 4-2 Big Ten, No. 10 CFP) still controlled its own destiny in the Big Ten West and lurked on the periphery of the national playoff picture. The blowout at the hands of the Buckeyes (8-1, 5-1, No. 6 CFP) will drop the Huskers in the polls and they will need help to win the division after their worst loss since 2004.
''That came out of the blue to me,'' said Riley, who is in his second season rebuilding the Huskers.
Damon Webb intercepted Armstrong on Nebraska's third play and ran it back for a touchdown. The Buckeyes never looked back, rolling up 590 yards of offense.
''Bad football on our part,'' Cornhuskers safety Nate Gerry said. ''Especially early on we gave a really good football team some opportunities.''
Besides winning out, Nebraska will need Wisconsin to lose again to win the Big Ten west.
''Well, I think our first goal is to win next week, but I think the rest of it is still a possibility out there,'' Riley said. ''Now we don't control our own destiny anymore, but that doesn't mean we can't win our division.''
To have a shot at that, the Huskers will likely need Armstrong, who was knocked out during the second quarter after his head bounced off the turf while being tackled by Ohio State safety Malik Hooker. He was strapped to a backboard and loaded into tan ambulance. He gave a thumbs-up to the Ohio Stadium crowd that chanted, ''Tommy, Tommy.''
In the third quarter, he came jogging out of the tunnel in a track suit and was greeted on the Nebraska sideline with hugs and handshakes from his teammates.
Armstrong, a senior, was 4 for 15 for 74 yards when he left the game. Backup quarterback Ryker Fyfe took over Armstrong and went 5 for 18 for 52 yards and an interception.
Fyfe, a senior, started a game against Purdue last season when Armstrong was injured and completed 29-of-48 passes for 407 yards and four touchdowns in a 55-45 loss. The 407 passing yards rank as the fifth-highest single-game total in Nebraska history.
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