February 11, 2016

Huskers roll past Idaho State

Final four minutes tick down as Nebraska rolls past Idaho State 73-7. Huskers now focus preparation for Big Ten play and the Wisconsin Badgers next week.

Guess you could call it the spring game that never happened.

Still, those games never turn out so lop-sided.

Nebraska was bringing in second-team players midway through the first quarter, as Nebraska defeated FCS opponent Idaho State 73-7

Rex Burkhead was back in the lineup for the first time since suffering a sprained MCL against September 1 again Southern Miss. For the game, Burkhead rushed for 119 yards on 8 carries. He scored two touchdowns, including a 61-yard run in the first quarter.

Head coach Bo Pelini says it was their goal to give Burkhead around 10-15 touches before “pulling the plug”. Pelini says Burkhead had a good week of practice.

With a blowout ensured, several backups saw plenty of playing time today, including running backs Imani Cross and Braylon Heard. Cross had 12 carries for 105 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter for Nebraska’s first 70+ point game since 2007 against Kansas State.

Cross was quick to credit the offensive line for opening the holes in the Bengal’s defensive line for his performance.

“The did a great job”, Cross says. “That’s the reason I was able to get in the endzone…. I really appreciate those guys”.

If there was any disappointment in the game, it came on the heels of a Cross fumble in the fourth quarter, which lead to the Bengal’s only points in the game. Cross said it was a bad exchange with Ron Kellogg III and took full responsibility for seemingly the game’s only mishap for the Huskers.

The Bengals scored on a C.J. Reyes pass to Luke Austin. Reyes, the team’s punter, was in the game for starter Kevin Yost.

“I’ll work on it on practice and make sure it never happens again”. Cross added.

The Blackshirts put pressure on Yost and the Bengals all game long. Yost was sacked 6 times through the game and threw two interceptions, one was returned for a 29-yard touchdown in the first quarter by Ciante Evans. The Huskers were disappointed to see that goose egg drop from the scoreboard in the fourth quarter.

“It’s alright,” Safety Damion Stafford says. “We were striving to hold them to under 100 yards and zero points, but we had some younger people in there and it was a learning experience”.

Shifting back to the offense, Taylor Martinez played the majority of the first half at quarterback before calling it a day. He went 9 of 13 for 165 yards and two touchdowns before handing the reigns over to Kellogg III for the rest of the game. Martinez praised his good friend, saying Kellogg put in a lot of work.

“I’m happy that he could get in there, throw the ball, and that he threw a touchdown”.

That touchdown came in the third quarter, when he connected with Steven Osborne for 5-yards. He would finish the game with two more completions out of five attempts.

The focus now turns to Big Ten play next week, as Wisconsin comes to town. Offensive tackle Jeremiah Sirles says he remembers the sting of last year’s 48-17 loss in Madison.

“We owe these guys one… we enter Big Ten play now”.

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