Huskers blast Colonels 56-7
BY STEVEN M. SIPPLE / Lincoln Journal Star
Turns out it wasn’t just lip service, all Nebraska’s talk of focusing on Nicholls State instead of peeking ahead to an anticipated game at Southern Cal. To be sure, the Huskers were impressive in both word and deed. Photos | Blog
After showing Division I-AA Nicholls State proper respect in the days preceding Saturday’s game, Nebraska players properly pounded the Colonels 56-7 before a drenched crowd of 84,076 at Memorial Stadium.
“I’m really proud of how we handled our business today,” said Nebraska coach Bill Callahan, whose 21st-ranked Huskers will carry a 2-0 record into Saturday night’s showdown with the No. 3 Trojans.
As Nebraska’s balanced attack was accumulating 498 yards of total offense Saturday, Southern Cal was relaxing in a bye week after opening the season last week with a 50-14 triumph at Arkansas.
As one might expect, given Southern Cal’s exalted status in the college football world, Nebraska players throughout last week were peppered with questions about the Trojans.
Distraction evidently wasn’t an issue, as Nebraska peppered Nicholls State from the opening gun. The Huskers scored on six of their first seven possessions to lead 42-0 en route to their fifth straight victory.
For the second straight week, seven different Nebraska players scored touchdowns. Sophomore I-back Cody Glenn scored twice, rushing for touchdowns to open and close the scoring.
Nebraska quarterback Zac Taylor threw a career-high four touchdown passes while finishing 19-for-23 for 202 yards in just more than three quarters of action. In two games, the 6-foot-2, 210-pound senior is 41-for-56 passing (73.2 percent) for 489 yards and seven touchdowns, with one interception.
Nebraska sophomore I-back Marlon Lucky carried 18 times for 103 yards to lead all rushers, and the Husker defense allowed Nicholls State’s triple-option attack just 187 total yards — all on the ground.
“Our complete focus was on Nicholls State, because we didn’t want them to come in and steal something from us,” said Nebraska junior cornerback Cortney Grixby.
It’s difficult to put into perspective how much more talent Southern Cal will have compared to Nicholls State.
“Southern Cal’s one of the best teams in the country, and we feel we’re one of the best, too,” Grixby said. “We feel our talent can match up with theirs. I feel we can play with anybody in the country.”
After facing a Nicholls State team that attempted three passes, Nebraska now prepares for a Southern Cal squad that features perhaps the nation’s premier group of wideouts.
Told that “football experts” were predicting the Trojans receivers would victimize the Huskers’ injury-plagued secondary, Grixby said, “We talk with pads. We talk on the field. If all of the football experts — the so-called football experts — were really experts, they’d have Coach Callahan’s job.”
It required little-to-no expertise to handicap the Nebraska-Nicholls State game. It became even easier when the Colonels lost their starting quarterback, Vincent Montgomery, to a knee injury on their first series.
Of course, Southern Cal probably will have just a tinge more talent than Nicholls State.
For what it’s worth, Nebraska doesn’t sound intimidated.
“We’re a powerhouse, they’re a powerhouse,” said Nebraska weakside linebacker Steve Octavien, who tied for the team lead with six tackles Saturday. “We both have big-time players. I don’t think they’ll have an advantage, even if they’ve had those No. 1-ranked recruiting classes. I don’t think that really matters at all.”
Octavien said it will be important for Nebraska “to come out firing early,” as the Huskers did against Nicholls State on Saturday.
“We have to come out right off the bat and make a statement, and keep it up all four quarters,” he said.
Reach Steven M. Sipple at 473-7440 or email@example.com.