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Play of the Game: Stanley Morgan Jr.'s 23-Yard Touchdown Catch
Photo Credit: Aaron Babcock

Play of the Game: Stanley Morgan Jr.’s 23-Yard Touchdown Catch

September 30, 2017

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Nebraska quickly took control of the game and cruised to a 28-6 win in Champaign, Illinois, on Friday. The Huskers scored four touchdowns, all of them noteworthy in one way or another. However, the fans on Twitter have spoken and with 39 percent of the vote, Stanley Morgan Jr.’s 23-yard touchdown reception early in the fourth quarter is this week’s Play of the Game.

Leading 21-6 with just under 14 minutes to play, Nebraska faced a third and 6. They lined up with trips to the right and Morgan by himself to the left. Tight end Connor Ketter ran a crossing route and Morgan ran underneath him in the opposite direction, from left to right. Tight end Tyler Hoppes and wide receiver De’Mornay Pierson-El both worked their way down the field. 

Quarterback Tanner Lee scanned the field then checked down to Morgan about a yard past the line of scrimmage with plenty of open field around him. He caught the ball in the center of the field and began angling toward the right sideline.

Morgan beat a pursuing cornerback, Nate Hobbs, to the sideline and turned the corner near the 15-yard line. Hoppes blocked another defender out of the play. Morgan threw a stiff-arm at Hobbs and kept him at an arms length for about 10 yards before Morgan discarded him and ran into the end zone for the touchdown. 

Morgan finished with a career-high eight catches for 96 yards, both game-highs, and the touchdown, but he also dropped three passes in his return to the field after missing Nebraska’s 27-17 win over Rutgers with neck stiffness. 

“There were a couple throws tonight that he saved me on and was able to make tough catches,” Lee said. “He’s been kind of fighting a cold, didn’t get many reps in practice, so I think he maybe felt a little off, but he’s great to have out there and to make those big plays is huge. It’s a good security blanket and I feel real comfortable with him out there.”

Morgan is terrific after the catch and has a strong stiff arm — as he displayed on this play — and he brings a dynamic to Nebraska’s passing attack that it desperately needs. A simple check-down on third and medium turned into not only a first down, but a touchdown. 

“It’s great to have Stan,” Coach Mike Riley said. “I’m not sure he felt perfect, but he played hard. When you miss as much time as he has, that could have been the result, dropping some kind of uncharacteristic passes for him.”

Morgan has caught five or more balls in all four of his games this season and is on pace to become Nebraska’s first 1,000-yard receiver in program history. 

The play also produced this from team manager Collin Peterson:

Nebraska had the game well in-hand by the time Morgan scored his touchdown, but it was still a nice cherry on top of a well-balanced game and it showed what the offense is capable of with No. 8 on the field. That’s why Stanley Morgan Jr.’s 23-yard touchdown reception is this week’s Play of the Game.

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