LINCOLN — Look no further than one play midway through the first quarter Saturday night for the clear hint that Nebraska wasn't going to have any trouble with Troy.
Ahead 7-0, the Huskers were moving again when Mike Huff was called for a chop block and Matt Slauson for holding on consecutive plays. After the 25 yards in penalties, Nebraska faced first-and-35 at its own 45-yard line.
So quarterback Zac Taylor sat in the pocket, found receiver Nate Swift wide open and made the sideline crew take the first-down chains right back the other way with a 49-yard pass play.
The Huskers scored on the very next play and the romp to a 56-0 victory began at Memorial Stadium.
"I don't think that was bothering anybody because it felt like, at that point, we could do whatever we wanted,'' Swift said, recalling the first-and-35. "Every play was working in the book.''
That statement was pretty accurate by the time the Nos. 23 and 24 Huskers (3-1) were through with Troy before a crowd of 84,799. It made for a solid bounce-back effort after the 28-10 loss at Southern Cal the week before.
"To come back in this fashion and in this type of form was very satisfying,'' NU coach Bill Callahan said. "As we explained to them Sunday when we came back from Los Angeles, we had to reestablish our focus quickly. Certainly Troy had our attention.''
Troy (1-3) simply had enough Saturday night in its third straight road game against a major-conference opponent.
The Huskers almost threw as much in the first half as they did overall at USC. Taylor already was finished by NU's first series of the second half, leaving with near-perfect passing numbers and a 35-0 lead.
The Huskers ran wherever they wanted, too, collecting a season-high 316 yards and six touchdowns via the ground game. Sophomore I-back Marlon Lucky produced a career-high 156 yards on just 10 carries, and junior Kenny Wilson tacked on 106 for his most as a Husker.
Callahan attributed much of that success to the offensive line, the unit he spent a little extra time with during the week.
"Anytime you score like we did and gain yards like you do, that's something to hang your hat on,'' fullback Dane Todd said. "We know we played well, but there's always things to fix, always corrections to make.''
The defensive performance was equally impressive against Troy's spread offense. The Trojans were held to 140 total yards as the Huskers claimed their first shutout under defensive coordinator Kevin Cosgrove.
Cosgrove shrugged when asked about the significance, but the significance wasn't lost on defensive end Jay Moore.
"It's huge for Cos,'' Moore said. "I feel so good for him, just because it's his first one here. He works so hard for us, and it just feels good to get it for such a good man like that.''
Lucky powered an opening drive that covered 73 yards in 10 plays. When he bounced outside and darted 34 yards for the first of his three touchdowns, it was a good sign the Huskers had shaken any hangover from the week before.
Taylor hit Swift on pass plays of 28 and 49 yards on the second series, the latter on the first-and-35. Taylor followed with a 6-yard TD pass to tight end J.B. Phillips for a 14-0 lead.
When Lucky and Wilson tacked on second-quarter scoring runs, it was clear that Troy didn't have much left after causing all kinds of trouble for Florida State and Georgia Tech the prior two weeks.
"I think the biggest thing, this was the third big-time game we had played in a row,'' Troy coach Larry Blakeney said. "I think we got run down a little bit.''
|Yards per carry||1.8||6.9|
Nebraska is 1-0 all-time against Troy.
|Louisiana Tech||Sept. 2|
|Nicholls State||Sept. 9|
|Iowa State||Oct. 7|
|Kansas State||Oct. 14|
|Oklahoma State||Oct. 28|
|Texas A&M||Nov. 11|
Nebraska has played 8 games on Sept. 23. See them all »