Lincoln - The Blackshirt defense flexed its muscles by holding Kansas to just 87 yards total offense, as No. 9 Nebraska notched its ninth win of the season with a 20-3 victory over the Jayhawks at Memorial Stadium on Saturday.
Playing in front of an NCAA-record 310th consecutive sellout crowd of 85,507 fans, and an FSN Pay-Per-View audience on Saturday night, Nebraska improved to 9-1 overall and 5-1 in the Big 12. KU slipped to 3-7 overall and 1-5 in the league.
The Huskers used a balanced offense and a suffocating defense to secure its third straight nine-win season under third-year head coach Bo Pelini.
Freshman quarterback Taylor Martinez returned to the starting lineup to guide an NU offense that rolled up 397 total yards, including 230 on the ground and 167 through the air.
Senior I-back Roy Helu Jr. led Nebraska with 18 carries for 85 yards and one touchdown, while sophomore I-back Rex Burkhead added 19 carries for 77 yards, including NU's first touchdown in the opening quarter.
Martinez contributed 71 rushing yards of his own on 11 carries, while completing 14-of-26 passes for 167 yards. He did throw one interception.
Nebraska's Blackshirt defense made sure the first-half touchdown runs by Burkhead and Helu were more than enough for the victory. The Huskers shut down KU quarterback Quinn Mecham, limiting him to just 15 yards on 3-of-13 passing with one interception. NU also sacked Mecham six times for 28 yards in losses. It was Nebraska's best passing defense total since shutting out Nicholls State through the air on Sept. 9, 2006.
The Huskers were also tough on the ground, holding KU to just 72 yards on 34 carries, as Brad McDougald led the Jayhawks with 27 yards on four carries. James Sims managed 24 yards on nine carries.
The 87 total yards allowed by the Blackshirts marked the best total by a Bo Pelini-coached Nebraska defense. It was the fewest yards allowed since the Huskers held Baylor to just 84 yards on Oct. 21, 2000.
Nebraska's offense wasn't flashy against the Jayhawks. Each of NU's four scoring drives lasted at least nine plays, covered at least 40 yards and lasted at least 3:40, for the normally explosive Husker offense.
Burkhead opened the scoring with a four-yard touchdown plunge with 33 seconds left in the first quarter. The short run capped a nine-play, 54-yard drive that lasted 4:11 and gave the Huskers a 7-0 lead.
Helu added a spectacular 20-yard scoring run that included a couple big cut, a few jukes and a tip-toe down the NU sideline into the end zone with 3:05 left in the first half. Helu's highlight reel run capped another nine-play drive that covered 75 yards in 3:40 to give the Huskers a 14-0 halftime lead.
Nebraska's lead grew to 17-0 after Alex Henery's 42-yard field goal capped a third nine-play drive that covered 55 yards in 3:51. The Blackshirts lost the shutout on Jacob Branstetter's answer with a 42-yard field goal of his own. Branstetter's kick came with 3:36 left in the third quarter, allowing KU to capitalize on a Husker fumble.
Henery closed the scoring with 3:24 left in the fourth quarter, after the Huskers consumed 6:28 of the clock in the final quarter with a 12-play drive. For the game, Nebraska won the time of possession battle, 36:28-23:32, while running 28 more plays from scrimmage than the Jayhawks.
Nebraska closes regular-season Big 12 road play next week when the Huskers travel to College Station, Texas, to take on Texas A&M. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. with ABC prime-time television coverage.
Final: #9 Nebraska 20, Kansas 3
Saturday, Nov. 13, 2010
Memorial Stadium (Lincoln, Neb.)
First Quarter (NU, 7-0)
NU - 0:33 - Rex Burkhead 4 run (Alex Henery kick) - 9 plays, 54 yards, 4:11, NU 7-0
Second Quarter (NU, 14-0)
NU - 3:05 - Roy Helu Jr. 20 run (Henery kick) - 9 plays, 75 yards, 3:40, NU 14-0
Third Quarter (NU, 17-3)
NU - 6:46 - Henery 42 field goal - 9 plays, 55 yards, 3:51, NU 17-0
KU - 3:36 - Jacob Branstetter 42 field goal - 5 plays, 22 yards, 2:18, NU 17-3
Fourth Quarter (NU, 20-3)
NU - 3:44 - Henery 24 field goal - 12 plays, 43 yards, 6:28, NU 20-3
Final: #9 Nebraska 20, Kansas 3
Time of Game: 2:37