LINCOLN — Tommy Armstrong entered the postgame interview room visibly limping on both legs, sweat covering his shirt, as he stood at the podium.
Just moments ago the senior quarterback followed the block of running back Devine Ozigbo on an Oregon linebacker, popped through a hole, faked out a safety and ran to the end zone from 34 yards out to give Nebraska a 35-32 lead Saturday in Lincoln.
There were times when the 90,000-plus at Memorial Stadium held its collective breath as Armstrong lay on the field, only to pop back up what seemed like 10 times.
“We made plays when we had to,” he said. “I was cramping a lot, a lot. I was trying to hydrate as much as I could. Both legs were locking up the second time.”
Backup Ryker Fyfe came in for Armstrong on a third-and-long play, throwing an incomplete pass. Other than that, Armstrong played the entire game, fighting through the pain.
Pain or no, Armstrong may never forget how the final touchdown came about.
The Oregon defense stacked the right side of the Nebraska line, giving NU a numbers advantage to the short side of the field.
“My legs hurt but they feel better when you’re in the end zone,” Armstrong said.
On the sideline at one point, Armstrong was underneath a hood of sorts receiving fluids intravenously. He was slamming Gatorade and water, doing everything he could to stay in the game.
Armstrong finished with four total touchdowns, including three through the air and the winning touchdown run.
Armstrong accounted for zero turnovers in the game and finished with 309 total yards including 200 through the air.
On that final drive Nebraska picked up a first down on fourth and 8, as Armstrong hit Jordan Westerkamp for 14 yards to the Oregon 38.
“They were playing a lot of man to man,” Westerkamp said, “and quick-in was called. There was no way I was dropping that ball.”
Westerkamp said Armstrong’s toughness rubs off on the whole team
“Tommy played out of his mind,” Westerkamp said. “He’s the biggest competitor out there. Was no doubt in our minds he’d come back.”