Big Red Eruption
Lincoln - No. 6 Nebraska showed its explosiveness on both sides of the ball in 38-17 victory over visiting Idaho on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
Playing in front of 85,732 fans in the NCAA-record 306th consecutive sellout at Memorial Stadium, and an FSN pay-per-view television audience, the Huskers scored 28 unanswered points in a span of just 8:15 in the second quarter to bolt to a 31-0 lead with four minutes left in the first half. Nebraska improved to 2-0 with the victory, while Idaho slipped to 1-1.
Nebraska's scoring explosion came from both sides of the ball, as quarterback Taylor Martinez (67) and I-back Roy Helu Jr. (58) scored on back-to-back runs of more than 55 yards.
After the offensive showed its firepower, the Blackshirt defensive backs got into the action with back-to-back interception returns from DeJon Gomes (40) and Rickey Thenarse (47) for touchdowns, each covering at least 40 yards.
Nebraska's four consecutive scoring plays of 40 or more yards marked the first time since a 73-21 win over Oklahoma in Norman on Nov. 2, 1996, that the Big Red scored on four plays of 40 or more yards in the same game - let alone the same quarter.
The 31-point cushion was more than enough for a Blackshirt defense that intercepted five passes and recovered a fumble on the afternoon.
The Blackshirts held a high-powered Idaho offense to just 279 total yards, while the NU offense rolled up 471 total yards, including 360 rushing yards on 41 carries. It was NU's highest rushing total since a season-opening win over Nevada in 2007.
Martinez, whose 67-yard touchdown run with 12:15 left in the second quarter started Nebraska's outburst, led the high-powered Husker ground game with 157 yards and two touchdowns on just 14 carries. It was the second straight 100-yard rushing effort by the redshirt freshman quarterback. The Corona, Calif., native opened his career a 127-yard effort on just seven carries in a season-opening win over Western Kentucky last week.
Martinez's 67-yard touchdown run was the longest run ever by a Husker freshman quarterback, surpassing a 59-yard run by former NU Heisman Trophy winner Eric Crouch against UAB in 1998.
Martinez was joined across the century mark by Helu, who rushed for 107 yards on just nine carries, including his 57-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. Martinez and Helu became the first NU duo to rush for 100 yards in the same game since Cody Glenn and Brandon Jackson accomplished the feat against Iowa State on Oct. 7, 2006. It was the 66th double-100-yard game in Nebraska football history.
Sophomore I-back Rex Burkhead nearly gave the Huskers a third back in the 100-yard club, rushing for 77 yards on just nine carries.
Defensively, Gomes led the Huskers with 10 tackles and a pass breakup, while starting Nebraska's defensive onslaught with his 40-yard interception return for a score. Thenarse then took a 47-yard interception return of his own to paydirt on Idaho's next drive to cap the Huskers' second-quarter eruption.
For the day, Nebraska intercepted five passes and recovered one fumble, while registering seven sacks for 80 yards lost. Defensive tackle Jared Crick notched six total tackles, including 2.5 sacks for 30 yards lost among his four tackles for 32 yards lost. Fellow defensive tackle Baker Steinkuhler added 1.5 sacks for 14 yards lost, while Terrence Moore, Lavonte David and Pierre Allen each recorded sacks for the Huskers.
North Platte, Neb., native Nathan Enderle completed 16-of-31 passes for 141 yards as Idaho's starting quarterback. Enderle threw all five of Idaho's interceptions and was sacked five times. Daniel Hardy led the Vandal receivers with five catches for 75 yards, while Deonte' Jackson led Idaho's ground game with 11 carries for 67 yards.
Nebraska takes to the road for the first time next Saturday, when the Huskers travel to Seattle to battle Washington. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. (central) with an ABC telecast.
Final: Nebraska 38, Idaho 17
First Quarter (NU, 3-0)
NU - 7:40 - Alex Henery 24 FG - 14 plays, 60 yards, 5:30, NU 3-0
Second Quarter (NU, 31-0)
NU - 12:15 - Taylor Martinez 67 run (Henery kick) - 5 plays, 87 yards, 2:39, NU 10-0
NU - 8:22 - Roy Helu Jr. 58 run (Henery kick) - 1 play, 58 yards, 0:09, NU 17-0
NU - 6:07 - DeJon Gomes 40 INT return (Henery kick), NU 24-0
NU - 4:00 - Ricky Thenarse 47 INT return (Henery kick), NU 31-0
IDAHO - 0:00 - Trey Farquhar 34 FG, 12 plays, 60 yards, 3:55, NU 31-3
Third Quarter (NU, 38-10)
IDAHO - 5:23 - Michael LaGrone 2 pass from Nathan Enderle (Farquhar kick) - 3 plays, 12 yards, 1:08, NU 31-10
NU - 1:22 - Martinez 20 run (Henery kick) - 9 plays, 73, 3:55, NU 38-10
Fourth Quarter (NU 38-17)
IDAHO - 2:31 - Armauni Johnson 19 pass from Brian Reader (Farquhar kick) - 10 plays, 98 yards, 3:48, NU 38-17
Final: Nebraska 38, Idaho 10
Time of Game: 2:57