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Kain Colter saves the day as Northwestern shocks No. 9 Nebraska

Northwestern's Jeremy Ebert catches pass between Nebraska's DaimiStafford (3) Ciante Evans (right) first half.  |  Dave Weaver~AP

Northwestern's Jeremy Ebert catches a pass between Nebraska's Daimion Stafford (3) and Ciante Evans (right) in the first half. | Dave Weaver~AP

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Updated: November 5, 2011 7:07PM

LINCOLN, Neb. — Quarterback Kain Colter ran for two touchdowns and threw for another in relief of the injured Dan Persa as Northwestern shocked No. 9 Nebraska 28-25 on Saturday in front of 85,115 fans at Memorial Stadium.

After Colter dove in from a yard out to give the Wildcats a 28-18 lead, Nebraska’s Kenny Bell caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from Taylor Martinez with 18 seconds to play. Charles Brown recovered the onside kick for the Wildcats to preserve the victory.

Receiver Jeremy Ebert went over 2,000 yards for his career when he caught an 81-yard touchdown pass from Colter early in the fourth quarter, giving the Wildcats (4-5, 2-4 Big Ten) a 21-10 lead.

Persa suffered a left (non-throwing) shoulder injury late in the second quarter and did not return. He initially suffered the injury at about the eight-minute mark of the second when he was scrambling out of the pocket and landed hard on the shoulder after the tackle.

Persa seemed to do more damage to the shoulder later in the quarter when he slid after a 10-yard run. Trevor Siemian took over for Persa to start the third quarter and alternated with Colter.

Colter’s acrobatics helped put the Wildcats ahead 14-3 to start the second half. Colter made a diving leap toward the sideline near the end zone, but with the ball in his left hand, he was able to hit the pylon for the touchdown.

On their next possession, the Wildcats went for it on fourth-and-sixth instead of attempting a field goal. They got the first down on a six-yard pass from Colter to Ebert. With the Wildcats driving deep in Cornhuskers territory, it appeared the Cats would go up by another touchdown.

But Siemian’s pass intended for Colter was intercepted in the end zone by Nebraska safety Austin Cassidy, who returned the pick 50 yards. The Huskers (7-2, 3-2) scored on the ensuing possession and trailed 14-10.

The Wildcats forced two Nebraska turnovers in the second quarter but could not capitalize on either, going three-and-out on each subsequent drive.

NU scored with 2:08 to play in the first quarter when tailback Jacob Schmidt scored from two yards out. Nebraska countered with a 36-yard field goal by Brett Maher with 2:26 left in the first half.

NU safety Brian Peters broke his left hand in the first half but had a cast put on and played the rest of the game.

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