The Spartans made it a game into the fourth quarter holding Joe Ganz and the NU offense to 315 yards over offense. A San Jose State field goal with just over twelve minutes to play pulled San Jose to within 14-12.
Special teams play came up big on the ensuing kickoff as sophomore Niles Paul busted down the sideline 85 yards for a kickoff return brining a record 291st sellout crowd to their feet. Head coach Bo Pelini said that was a game changer. “It gave us a boost of energy. It really was a good play for us. They were hanging around, hanging around, so that gave us a little breathing room and that helped. He’s a good football player.”
On San Jose State’s next possession, quarterback Kyle Reed, (18-26, 161 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT) got dropped by Zach Potter and Phillip Dillard and was knocked out of the game with a concussion.
After forcing a three and out, NU took over at the Spartan 35 following a short punt and two plays later Roy Helu took in from 14 yards out. Then Potter would come up with an interception to stall another SJSU drive…obviously a much different offense with Reed out of the game.
Potter and defense were huge most of the day for the Huskers. Up 7-6, Ndamukong Suh picked off a batted ball by Potter and went 49 yards for a touchdown putting NU up 14-6. That came after the Huskers took the lead on their second drive of the game, a nice nine play 86 yard drive with Quentin Castille pounding in a touchdown from three yards out.
Pelini thought the Huskers were playing very sloppy and were really beating themselves up in the first half in every aspect of their game. “We needed to play better. We were very sloppy in the first half. I mean, when you talk about penalties, we had a multitude of errors in the first half. Tackling was sloppy in the first half. We were our own worst enemy in that first half. We have to play better and we have to coach better to start the football game.”
Ganz led the NU offense by completing 17-of-25 passes for 216 yards with no touchdowns. Helu led the Husker rushing game with 59 yards and a touchdown on nine carries, while Lucky added 23 yards and a score on seven carries.
Nebraska senior wide receivers Nate Swift (6 rec., 70 yards) and Todd Peterson (4 rec., 59 yards) combined for 10 catches on the afternoon to help the Husker offense.
Scoring Summary (Nebraska 35, San Jose State 12)
SJSU – Kyle Reed 12 run (Louis Schuman kick failed), 9:48
NU – Quentin Castille 3 run (Alex Henery kick), 5:16
NU – Ndamukong Suh 49 interception return (Henery kick), 3:09
First Quarter (Nebraska 14, San Jose State 6)
Second Quarter (Nebraska 14, San Jose State 9)
SJSU – Will Johnson 41 FG, 7:09
Third Quarter (Nebraska 14, San Jose State 9)
Fourth Quarter (Nebraska 35, San Jose State 12)
SJSU – Jared Strubeck 27 FG, 12:17
NU – Niles Paul 85 kickoff return (Henery kick), 12:07
NU – Roy Helu Jr. 14 run (Henery kick), 9:05
NU – Marlon Lucky 2 run (Henery kick), 3:03