LINCOLN — Take a deep breath and repeat after most everybody who already has the Nebraska football schedule memorized: It's USC week.
The moratorium on Southern California talk officially can be lifted after the Huskers pounded Nicholls State 56-7 at Memorial Stadium. They tended to business Saturday, just as coach Bill Callahan promised they would before turning any focus toward the Trojans.
"I don't think it was as hard as everybody tried to make it seem,'' NU safety Tierre Green said.
Nebraska gained 498 total yards against the NCAA Division I-AA Colonels and once again did it with a balanced attack. The Huskers scored on six of seven possessions to start the game. The NU defense allowed just 187 total yards, 49 of which came on one fourthquarter play.
The Huskers watched Nicholls State film all week, and said as much Saturday when relaying that they really don't know much about USC just yet.
"We were serious about it when we say we look at one game at a time,'' linebacker Stewart Bradley said.
"I know it's hard for some people to believe that. But at the beginning of the season we were focused on Louisiana Tech; this week it was Nicholls State; and next week it'll be USC. To be a successful team over the long haul, you have to prepare for every team the same way.''
Nebraska (2-0) made sure it kept its running start for next Saturday night's game at the Los Angeles Coliseum. NU did its best, anyway, before a crowd of 84,076.
Nicholls State lost its starting quarterback five plays into the game, something NU can't count on happening next weekend. The Colonels attempted just three passes and became the first Husker opponent since 1992 not to complete one, something that won't occur next weekend.
The Colonels brought just 58 scholarship players to Lincoln and little football tradition. By comparison, USC will look like an NFL team with history oozing from it, including a dominating run through recent seasons.
"How do I see our chances?'' Callahan said, slowly repeating a question. "As good as anyone else's.''
USC (1-0) had the luxury of a bye Saturday after crushing Arkansas 50-14 on Sept. 2. NU cornerback Andre Jones might have thrown out the first fighting words when he said, "That was not done by accident.
"That was purposely, to prepare for us,'' Jones said as NU players were peppered by postgame questions regarding USC. "Obviously, they're concerned about some things, which is a smart move by them.
"No telling what's going to happen out there, but I just got a feeling we're going to come out of there victorious. I respect USC as a team — they're a great team — but it's going to be a good game.''
Nebraska-Nicholls State was not.
Zac Taylor completed 19 of 23 passes for 202 yards and four touchdowns. Marlon Lucky led the I-back brigade with his first career 100-yard game, using 18 carries to get 103 yards. Seven players scored for the second straight week.
Nicholls State coach Jay Thomas said the game was proof that the Huskers' minds were not wandering to the next slot in the schedule.
"I didn't notice that at all,'' Thomas said. "The intensity was there, and Coach Callahan had his guys ready to play. They came out, and they were looking to try and take care of business early.''
Aided by starting near midfield, NU scored on its two first-quarter possessions, converting on third down twice in each 11-play drive. Favorable field position also helped before Taylor threw a 19-yard touchdown to Matt Herian for a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter.
As he did a week ago, Taylor executed a two-minute drill before halftime that led to Lucky's 1-yard run and a 28-0 lead.
When Taylor threw TD passes of 14 yards to Frantz Hardy and 42 yards to Maurice Purify to open the second half, Nicholls State was all but finished. Taylor already was 17 of 20 for 181 yards, impressive considering the rainy conditions.
"This type of game was played in some conditions that we might possibly play in again in the later part of the year, '' Callahan said.
Nicholls State's triple-option attack didn't accomplish much until Grant Thorne broke a 49-yard run down the right sideline. The Colonels then avoided the shutout when Broderick Cole scored on a 1-yard run to make it 42-7 with 13:33 left.
Nebraska cleaned up the rest of the mess, a wet crowd started heading home early and it was finally OK to look beyond Sept. 9.
It's USC week.
"It's exciting when you get a shot at a team like that,'' Taylor said. "The media's going to build it up, but it's not a game that's going to make or break our season.''
|Yards per carry||4.0||5.2|
Nebraska is 1-0 all-time against Nicholls State.
|Louisiana Tech||Sept. 2|
|Nicholls State||Sept. 9|
|Troy (formerly Troy State)||Sept. 23|
|Iowa State||Oct. 7|
|Kansas State||Oct. 14|
|Oklahoma State||Oct. 28|
|Texas A&M||Nov. 11|
Nebraska has played 9 games on Sept. 9. See them all »
©2017 BH Media Group