LINCOLN, Neb. — Kyle Vantrease scored on an 8-yard run with 36 seconds left after Nebraska took its first lead, and Georgia Southern beat the three-touchdown-favored Cornhuskers 45-42 on Saturday night.
The Huskers Timmy Bleecrode was wide left with a 52-yard field goal attempt as time expired, and Georgia Southern players ran onto the field to celebrate the program’s first win in 13 games against Power Five opponents.
It was also the third major upset of the day by Sun Belt Conference programs. Before the Eagles worked their magic, Marshall upset Notre Dame and Appalachian State knocked off Texas A&M. All three wins were on the road.
The loss once again increases the pressure on embattled Nebraska coach Scott Frost, who now faces a home game next week against No. 7 Oklahoma.
“That one hurt,” Frost said. “We win as a team and we lose as a team, and we got beat today. We got beat in schemes, and I didn’t really have an answer.
“They chased us.”
The Huskers (1-2) came into the Georgia Southern game 214-0 while scoring at least 35 points at Memorial Stadium. The Eagles (2-0) accumulated 642 yards, none greater than the 75 they drove in 11 games for the winning touchdown.
Vantrease converted a fourth-and-2 pass and threw 27 yards to Khaleb Hood before he took off up the middle on a designed quarterback run for the go-ahead score.
Casey Thompson moved the Huskers from their 23 to the Eagles’ 34 before Bleekrode pulled his field goal attempt wide left.
Nebraska took the lead on Thompson’s 1-yard run with 3:05 left after Marques Buford’s second interception of the game turned back the Eagles as they tried to build on a three-point lead.
Thompson led the Huskers 98 yards in 15 plays. Thompson and Anthony Grant ran out yards on the ground and Marcus Washington made a catch at the 1 that was confirmed on video review before Thompson went over the pile at the goal line.
The win comes in just the second game for Georgia Southern coach Clay Helton, and it came almost a year to the day that Southern California fired him two games into his seventh season.
“I’m so proud of our boys,” Helton said.
Vantrease, who was quarterback for Buffalo when it lost at Nebraska last year, was 37 of 56 for 409 yards. Gerald Green ran for 132 yards and two touchdowns and Jalen Allen had 85 yards and two scores.
“They’ve run a lot of what we’ve seen,” Frost said of Georgia Southern, “but I don’t think we’ve won very many one-on-one contests.”
Thompson ran for three touchdowns and was 23 of 34 for 318 yards and a score. Grant carried 27 times for 138 yards and a score.
The Eagles began the transition from the Championship Subdivision to the Bowl Subdivision in 2013, the same year they beat Florida for their only other win over a Power Five team.