LINCOLN — The world may never know how low Jammal Lord was on Tuesday.
Teammates say he spent the week practicing with the No. 2 offense. Nebraska free safety Philip Bland, trying to sum up the Husker quarterback's mood, said Lord felt as if "everyone turned on him."
If an entire state had turned against him, at least 70,000 people were pulling for Lord by the end of Saturday. The junior quarterback re-established himself as "the man" after setting a school record with 369 yards of total offense in Nebraska's 38-14 win over McNeese State.
Did it make Lord feel better? The four touchdowns, the 218 yards rushing?
Wresting the single-game record for total offense away from a Heisman winner — 360 yards, set by Eric Crouch last year against Colorado?
Getting the biggest rushing game for a Nebraska quarterback ever, taking that record away from Crouch as well?
Was it all tempered by the fact that it was against a Division I-AA team?
You may never know. For the second straight week, Lord declined to do postgame interviews.
"That's just his deal," Nebraska Quarterbacks Coach Turner Gill said of Lord's decision to stay away from the postgame press conference.
"I told him I was proud of him. This was a learning experience for him to try to handle adversity. I said, 'You're going to remember this day for the rest of your life.' Not because he had 200 or 300 yards or whatever. Because of the way he handled himself."
It was a week full of highs and lows for Lord, who went from calling his high school coach in New Jersey on Monday to say he wasn't starting, to learning sometime Friday that he would, in fact, still be at the controls.
Sophomore Mike Stuntz, who spent most of the week practicing with the No. 1 offense, didn't get in until there was just 1:51 to play and the bench was emptied.
Before a Memorial Stadium crowd of 77,192, Lord made it look as if the quarterback situation should've never been a question. He scrambled for a 57-yard touchdown to start the second quarter. He hit eight straight passes in the first half.
By the time fans started for the exits, Lord had 218 yards and three touchdowns on the ground and 151 yards in the air.
It was a big change from last weekend, and from the Sept. 14 thumping at Penn State. In those games, Lord had five turnovers and the offense sputtered to just two touchdowns.
No, it didn't matter to the 4-2 Huskers that this was a I-AA team. All that mattered was that they were back on track. The offense had 595 yards. Nebraska had its quarterback again.
"The only difference I saw from Jammal is that he was a little quieter," NU center John Garrison said. "But when he got in the huddle, he was Jammal again. He just went out straight and steady.
"It feels really good. I'd be lying if I said our confidence was high going into this game. Confidence was low coming off the two losses. We got stomped. To have this type of game, to perform the way we did, is exciting. It couldn't have come at a better time."
Coach Frank Solich paused and almost seemed to get choked up when asked if it was a relief to see Lord respond Saturday.
Nebraska's offense has come under fire recently, with a ranking last week of only 92nd in the country.
So have Solich and his quarterback. There will be no quarterback controversy this week, Gill and Solich said, as Lord re-established his lock on the starting job. On to Missouri, they said.
Stuntz, who said he just wanted what's best for the team, seemed OK with that.
"You just kind of have to expect the unexpected," Stuntz said. "These are all kind of personal matters. And that's not really important. What's important is how the team played."
|Yards per carry||2.8||8.5|
Nebraska is 2-0 all-time against McNeese State.
|Arizona State||Aug. 24|
|Troy State||Aug. 31|
|Utah State||Sept. 7|
|Penn State||Sept. 14|
|Iowa State||Sept. 28|
|McNeese State||Oct. 5|
|Oklahoma State||Oct. 19|
|Texas A&M||Oct. 26|
|Kansas State||Nov. 16|
Nebraska has played 16 games on Oct. 5. See them all »
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