Nebraska Cornhuskers linebacker Luke Reimer (28)
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Play of the Game: Luke Reimer’s Interception

September 11, 2021

Nebraska had no shortage of big plays during Saturday’s 28-3 win against Buffalo, we opened the Play of the Game selection up to you, the people.

The choices were Adrian Martinez’s 71-yard scramble that set up the team’s first touchdown, Samori Touré’s 68-yard touchdown reception just before halftime that gave the Huskers a 14-0 lead at the break and Luke Reimer’s interception in the second half that set up Nebraska’s third touchdown.

With nearly 500 votes, the winner was… Reimer’s interception, narrowly beating out Martinez’s scramble, 40% to 39%.

On the final play of the third quarter, Buffalo converted a third-and-8 with a 12-yard completion that moved the Bulls out to their own 16-yard line. Following the break, quarterback Kyle Vantrease dropped back to pass, looking to hit receiver Quian Williams on a skinny post.

Reimer had other plans.

The third-year inside linebacker was hanging out in the middle of the field covering the tight end, and when Vantrease released the ball Reimer got his hands up and knocked it up into the air. Reimer tracked the ball through the air and ran under it, securing it for the interception and avoiding the the Bull who tried to tackle him at the same time.

“I think he was on the tight end and I was on the back,” fellow inside linebacker Nick Henrich said. “So I was just sitting over in my coverage and I see the ball thrown. I see him get up and tip it then ‘oh, it’s there.’ So then I was hauling trying to block the tight end … Luke’s a dog so it was good to see.”

Reimer played on both sides of the ball for Lincoln North Star, mostly as a running back, and he got a chance to show what he can do with the ball in his hands on the return. He returned the ball up the left sideline, avoiding one Buffalo falling in front of him then lowering the shoulder and trying to power his way into the end zone. Another defender falling in his path forced his foot out at the 1, but the play went own as a 22-yard return.

“I just got my hand up on the ball and then it basically landed right in my lap,” Reimer said. “Then I just thought ‘score’. So I’m kind of mad I didn’t get in, but we got the touchdown the next play, so I can’t be too mad about that. It brought me back to my high school days of running the ball a little bit, but it was fun.”

Tight end Chris Hickman said the team has to get him that extra yard, but the offense had his back as one play later, Gabe Ervin Jr. ran into the end zone untouched with defensive lineman Deontre Thomas clearing the way as a full back in I-formation.

Reimer finished with a career-high 16 tackles including seven by himself, both game-highs. He added the interception and a pass break-up on what was nearly a one-handed pick later in the fourth.

“That’s a big time play,” tight end Chancellor Brewington said. “He almost had another one too, but that’s a big-time play. He’s a Blackshirt. He’s there for a reason. Defense stepped up today. (Buffalo) didn’t even score so they stepped up for sure.”

Reimer headlined an overall strong defensive performance by the Blackshirts. Nebraska recorded seven pass break-ups, seven quarterback hurries and six tackles for loss plus Reimer’s interception. Buffalo moved the ball at times, converting half of their third downs, but the Bulls averaged just 43 yards per play and, most importantly, the Huskers kept Buffalo out of the end zone all day.

On a day filled with big plays and strong overall defense by the Huskers, Luke Reimer’s interception stood out, and that’s why you voted it this week’s Play of the Game.

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