An earthquake, centered hundreds of miles to the south, shook Lincoln Saturday morning.
“He sent us an earthquake,” said Husker offensive lineman Sam Hahn of his fallen teammate Sam Foltz. Foltz was killed in a car accident in July.
The Huskers honored Foltz in numerous ways Saturday, including an intentional delay of game penalty on the first punt of the season. Only ten Huskers took the field, leaving the punter position empty.
“I thought that the crowd responded just as I thought they would,” said Head Coach Mike Riley after the game. “A lot of what our team did was not orchestrated, so I’m not necessarily sure how it all got done when they came to greet Caleb [Lightbourn] when they knelt on the sidelines.”
Fresno State declined the penalty, a gesture not lost on the Husker players.
“Really appreciate the way Fresno State respected to that,” said Hahn. “They cheered, were making noise and they had ‘SF’ stickers on their helmets too.”
The moment came early in the game, but was followed up by a dominating offensive performance as Nebraska rolled to a 43-10 win over Fresno State. The Huskers racked up nearly 300 yards rushing on 51 carries. Nebraska only attempted 13 passes the whole game.
Devine Ozigbo led the way for the Huskers on the ground, rushing for his first 100 yard game in college.
“It felt good,” said Ozigbo. “I honestly wasn’t sure about the numbers. I knew they had to be all right but 17 carries is nice, I like it.”
But Mike Riley emphasized after the game that senior Terrell Newby is the starter, noting that all four running backs played well. “Terrell [Newby] is the starter, and Devine [Ozigbo] comes in. As you can see, the other two guys are good players too, so we feel pretty good about our backs.”
Defensively, the Huskers stymied the Fresno State rushing attack, holding the Bulldogs to 31 yards on 26 carries. Fresno State’s only touchdown came on a short field situation after blocking a Nebraska punt. Nebraska forced two interceptions as well, the first coming from safety Kieron Williams.
“I feel like God has blessed me so much to even be here to play,” said Williams. “Coach Banker put us in the right situation and the right spot to be able to make plays. I just feel like we came out thinking we could win, and that’s what matters.”
Nebraska starts the season 1-0 and will host Wyoming at Memorial Stadium next Saturday.