LINCOLN, Neb. – Sophomore quarterback Joe Dailey produced a record-breaking performance to lead the Nebraska football team to a 59-27 win over Baylor before a sellout crowd of 77,881 at Memorial Stadium. Dailey completed 13 of 20 passes for an NU record 342 yards, surpassing the previous record of 297 yards set by David Humm in 1973.
Dailey also tied a Nebraska record with five touchdown passes while directing the Huskers’ most efficient offensive attack of the season. Dailey distributed the ball to seven different receivers, including sophomore wide receiver Isaiah Fluellen, who caught two passes for 72 yards and two scores.
Freshman running back Brandon Jackson joined Dailey with a career-best performance. Jackson rushed 18 times for 89 yards and two scores. Jackson also made an impact on special teams, returning five kicks for 158 yards, including a 59-yard return that marked Nebraska’s longest of the season.
Junior running back Cory Ross finished with 51 yards and a score on the ground, and also caught two passes for 77 yards and one touchdown.
With the win, the Huskers improved to 4-2 overall and 2-1 in the Big 12 Conference, while Baylor fell to 2-4 and 0-3.
"For us on offense, the most important statistic is turnovers," NU Coach Bill Callahan said. "We came out with no turnovers, and that shows that he (Dailey) is becoming more mature. He’s exhibiting the ability to make good decisions. He made some big-time throws down the field with play action, the drop-back game and on third down. His growth continues in all situations, on all downs and distances."
Nebraska led, 45-27, before Dailey’s record-breaking drive. Dailey completed an 13-yard pass to Terrence Nunn to give the Huskers a first down at the Baylor 31. After NU was flagged for a false start, Dailey hit tight end Matt Herian with a 43-yard strike, and then delivered a 31-yard touchdown pass to Grant Mulkey for the 52-27 lead with 2:21 remaining in the third quarter.
NU quickly widened its lead to 59-27. Junior safety Daniel Bullocks intercepted a King pass intended for Trent Shelton and returned the pick to the Baylor 7-yard line. Ross then scampered seven yards for the score.
"We had great practices this week with great intensity and focus," Callahan said. "I’m really proud of this team. They showed today that they’re a resilient group. It was a great team victory, the way it unfolded. I’m proud of the entire team and the way they performed today."
The Huskers led 10-3 midway through the second quarter after scoring on senior fullback Steve Kriewald’s first career touchdown reception and a 21-yard field goal by Sandro DeAngelis.
Nebraska continued to dominate throughout the second quarter, scoring on its last three possessions of the half with big plays through the air. Dailey hit Ross on a screen pass deep in NU territory, and Ross sprinted down the sideline untouched for a career-long 74-yard scoring reception with 5:56 remaining in the half. The touchdown was the longest reception by an NU running back since 1978.
With NU leading 17-3, Dailey connected with Fluellen for back-to-back scores. First, Dailey capped a 60-yard drive with a 27-yard scoring strike to Fluellen. Then, following a forced fumble and recovery by NU defensive end Jay Moore, Dailey again found Fluellen for a 45-yard touchdown pass. After DeAngelis’ PAT, the Huskers led 31-3 with five seconds left in the first half.
However, Baylor found the end zone on its first two possessions of the third quarter. First, the Bears ended a 68-yard scoring drive with a one-yard touchdown run by Paul Mosley. Then, Dane King found Dominique Ziegler with an eight-yard touchdown pass to make it 31-17 NU with 8:18 left in the third quarter.
The Huskers answered on their next possession, when Jackson powered past the Baylor defense for a two-yard touchdown run, the first of his career. Dailey completed two passes for 55 yards on the drive, as NU took a 38-17 lead with 6:34 left in the third quarter.
Baylor needed just 2:11 to score on its next possession, cutting NU’s advantage to 14 points with a one-yard touchdown pass from King to Marques Roberts. But the Bears couldn’t stop Nebraska. Jackson returned the BU kickoff a career-high 59 yards to the Baylor 24. After a one-yard gain by Ross, Jackson carried on four straight plays, including a one-yard scoring run that gave Nebraska 45-24 advantage.
For Baylor, King finished with 281 yards passing, completing 23-of-38 attempts. Mosley led the Bears on the ground, with 56 yards on 15 carries.
Nebraska returns to action Saturday, Oct. 23, when the Huskers face Kansas State in Manhattan, Kan., at 1:10 p.m.