Sports

Most Complete Win Thus far? Nebraska Crushes Minnesota

| by Alex Groberman

The Minnesota Gophers got scored on early and often in what would ultimately be a 27-point Nebraska Cornhuskers romp. When it was all said and done, the Huskers managed to put points on the board via both offensive and defensive contributions, eventually emerging with a 41-14 victory.

From the very first offensive possession of the game, it was clear that Nebraska could move the ball at will against Jerry Kill’s porous Minnesota defense. The Huskers essentially took the ball all the way down the field with no problems until they found themselves in a first-and-10. After quarterback Taylor Martinez was unable to deliver the ball into the endzone to Quincy Enunwa, the squad had to settle for a Brett Maher field goal to go up 3-0 seven minutes into the game.

It would get easier from there, though.

After getting the ball back following a particularly strong defensive stand, Martinez and the offense took it all the way downfield without interruption for the first touchdown of the game – an 11-yard pass to Tyler Legate that made it 10-0.

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The only truly eventful thing to happen on the drive -- and in the entire game, really -- was a strange fourth-and-1 situation when Martinez pitched the bull to the left to Aaron Green, who ultimately bobbled it away forward and out of bounds ahead of the first down marker. The referees ruled that because the incident came on a backward pass, the play would be marked where the ball went out of bounds. That, in turn, paved the way for the Legate touchdown.

Over the course of the first half the Huskers would go on to also score on an 82-yard reverse to Kenny Ball and an Austin Cassidy fumble return. Running back Rex Burkhead put an exclamation mark on the first half with an emphatic four-year rush to make the score 34-0 with just under a minute remaining in the second quarter.

When it was all said and done, Burkhead racked up 117 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries to maintain his status as the top running back in the Big Ten this year. Martinez, for his part, also had a solid effort with 164 yards and a touchdown on a 13-of-22 performance. He also had 59 yards on 9 carries.

It was a porous showing from start to finish for the Gophers, as quarterback MarQueis Gray eventually ended the day with 122 yards and no touchdowns through the air. On the ground, however, he did manager to accumulate 68 yards, a score and a fumble on 18 rushes.

Despite the fact that it was a Minnesota home game at TCF stadium, there was a very noticeable Nebraska contingent present. More than half of the fans could clearly be identified as fans of the road team by their Husker attire.

Next up the Nebraska will square off against Big Ten rival Michigan State Spartans in a game that will say a lot about Nebraska’s chances to finish atop the conference by year's end.