It was a performance the coaches were pleased with.
Nebraska put on a display on offense with over 600 total yards in offense and possibly a break through performance by junior quarterback Taylor Martinez, as Nebraska defeats Southern Miss 49-20.
Nebraska’s first offensive series put up a quick seven points for the Huskers, behind Rex Burhead’s 57-yard touchdown run on the fourth play in the game. The run was also Burkhead’s longest career-long touchdown run.
That would be the last of Rex Burkhead, though. His day would be done on reports he sprained his MCL. He would finish the game with three carries for 68 yards.
SMU would take their offensive series into Husker territory, with junior quarterback Chris Campbell Jr. An offensive penalty would stall the drive. The Huskers would take advantage on a 10 play drive, capped off with a Martinez pass to Kenny Bell for a 26 yard touchdown pass, making it 14-0 Husker.
The celebration was short, though, as the Southern Miss’ Tracey Lampley takes the ensuing kickoff 100 yards into the end zone, cutting into the Husker’s lead 14-7.
To start the second quarter, SMU would tie the game up on a touchdown pass from Campbell to Dominique Sullivan for 26 yards. Huskers would take the lead back with another touchdown pass from Martinez to Jake Long for 9 yards with 9:16 left before half time.
Martinez would get his third touchdown pass before the end of the first half, thanks to a spectacular 29-yard catch from Steven Osbourne on the inside corner of the end zone, making it 28-17 Huskers at half time.
By the second half, the defense would turn up the pressure, allowing only 108 total yards of offense. Nebraska would turn up the offensive heat, and spreading the ball around to different receivers and backs.
Dominance was the word running backs coach Ron Brown used for the performance of his backs.
“This was a great game for them today”. Brown says
Abdullah had 15 carries for 83 yards. Coach Brown says Braylon Heard also had a good game, 34 yards in three carries.
Coach Brown also had high praises for Imani Cross , coming in around the fourth quarter. Cross rushed for 62 yards in 11 carries. Brown says once Cross settled down and stopped “dancing around”, he put in good work.
The Husker offense racked up 632 total yards in offense. Martinez is also making good on a promise to have a 70% completion rate this season: 18-23, 247 yards and three touchdowns at the half. A 73% completion rate. He would end the game with 354 yards and 5 touchdowns.
And yes, a 76% completion rate.
“I thought he directed things very well”. Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini says after the game. “I thought he played very well, very efficient. Made good decisions and he distributed the ball well”.
Offensive coordinator Tim Beck also had some good words for Martinez, saying he knew he had it in him the whole time.
“Coach Brown always says, greatness is earned in empty stadiums and revealed in full stadiums”, Beck says “(Martinez) been working extremely hard”.
Coaches were also pleased with ball security and penalties, things stressed through fall camp and practice this season.
Nebraska had only 2 penalties for 30 yards, all defensive. No turnovers.
“That’s what I’m most proud of”. Beck says.
The extent of Burkhead’s injury is not known at this time. After the game, Burkhead walked past reporters quick and gingerly, with his left knee wrapped. Coaches say the extent of his sprained MCL will be known later in the week.