|Barrett Ruud and the rest of the Husker Blackshirts converged on Troy State on Saturday.|
The Huskers, who improved to 5-0 on the season for the fifth time in the last six seasons, held Troy State (3-3) to under 200 yards of total offense, while recording a season-high six sacks, including a pair by linebacker Demorrio Williams. NU entered the game allowing a nation's low 235.8 yards per game, and allowed just 137 total yards, while posting its first shutout since a 59-0 victory over Baylor on Oct. 21, 2000.
While the Blackshirts slammed the door on the Trojan offense, NU started slowly, before scoring three second half touchdowns for the final margin. Jammal Lord completed 7-of-12 passes for 135 yards, while rushing for 72 yards and a pair of scores as NU won its 35th straight home game against non-conference foes.
Sophomore tight end Matt Herian hauled in three passes for 110 yards and a touchdown, becoming the first Husker receiver to go over the 100-yard mark since the 2001 season and first tight end to accomplish the feat since Tracey Wistrom in 2000.
Leading 10-0 at the break, the Huskers broke the game open on scoring runs by Lord and Cory Ross, while Joe Dailey connected with Herian for a 21-yard scoring strike in the fourth quarter.
Nebraska jumped to a 3-0 lead late in the first quarter, going 46 yards on nine plays before David Dyches connected on a 40-yard field goal, his 10th of the season, to give the Huskers an early advantage.
The Huskers, who held TSU to 28 yards and one first down in the opening quarter, drove into scoring position on the next drive, marching 41 yard to the TSU 12-yard line, but could not capitalize, as Dyches hit the right upright on a 29-yard attempt.
The Trojans could not take advantage of the missed field goal, as defensive back Josh Bullocks intercepted a pass by reserve quarterback Hansell Bearden and returned it 23 yards to the 33-yard line. Once again, the Huskers could not extend the lead, as Dyches found the same upright on a 33-yard attempt.
While the Huskers were struggling to put points on the board, the Blackshirts kept the pressure on, forcing its second turnover in as many possessions. Barrett Ruud sacked Aaron Leak for a 10-yard loss, and Titus Adams returned the ensuing fumble to the TSU 27-yard line.
Once again, Troy State's defense stiffened and held the hosts off the scoreboard, but the Trojans' offensive misfortunes kept giving the Huskers excellent field position. On TSU's next offensive series, defensive end Trevor Johnson stripped Leak of the ball, and Fabian Washington, who also had an interception, pounced on the miscue at the TSU 21-yard line.
This time the Huskers would take advantage, scoring four plays later on Lord's touchdown run. I-back Josh Davis carried on runs of nine, eight and three yards to the Trojan 1 before Lord snuck in, putting NU ahead 10-0 with 1:47 left in the half.
Lord, who completed 5-of-8 passes for 46 yards in the first half, gave TSU good field possession on its first play of the second half as his pass was intercepted by Derrick Ansley, his nation-leading sixth interception of the year, putting the ball at the TSU 44-yard line. The Huskers, who allowed just 51 yards and four first downs, forced a three-and-out on Troy State first possession.
NU was pinned back deep in its own territory, but senior punter Kyle Larson uncorked a 71 yarder, tying his career long, putting the Trojans at their own 13-yard line.
After a TSU punt, NU's second turnover of the half, a fumble by Lord, was recovered by Ansley at TSU's 43-yard line, giving the visitors excellent field position. After moving into Husker territory for the first time all game, three penalties, including an offensive pass interference call that negated a touchdown pass, stalled the Trojan offensive attack near midfield.
The Huskers came back quickly, needing just two plays to go 80 yards for the score. On the first play, Lord found Matt Herian for a 77-yard completion, the third career catch of 60 or more yards in his career, taking the ball to the Trojan 3 before Ross scored his first touchdown of the season.
Nebraska extended its lead to 23-0, when Lord capped a six-play, 49-yard drive with a 6-yard scoring run. The quarterback rushed three times for 28 yards and also completed a key 12-yard completion to Herian before taking it in himself on the scoring march.
Harian capped the scoring with his 21-yard touchdown reception early in the fourth quarter from Dailey to give NU the 30-0 win.
Nebraska will return to Big 12 action next Saturday, Oct. 11, when it travels to Columbia, Mo., for a 6 p.m. contest with the Missouri Tigers who were off this week. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. on the TBS National Broadcast.