Huskers Rout La Tech in Front of Record Crowd
A record crowd of 85,181 was on hand at the newly renovated and expanded Memorial Stadium in Lincoln to see arguably the best offensive showing from Nebraska since Bill Callahan became head coach. The Cornhuskers amassed 584 total yards by mixing the run and pass effectively in a 49-10 rout of Louisiana Tech.
Quarterback Zach Taylor keyed NU's attack, completing 22 of 34 passes for 287 yards and three touchdowns. Taylor's lone interception came from a ball tipped at the line of scrimmage. Taylor's 64% completion percentage is more impressive considering NU's receivers dropped four catchable balls. Taylor was relieved by Joe Ganz in the fourth quarter. Ganz completed the two passes he attempted for 45 yards and a touchdown of his own. In all, 10 different Huskers caught passes totaling 332 yards. Interestingly, all four touchdown receptions were made by tight ends.
The game also may signal the long-awaited revival of NU's rushing attack. As promised, the Huskers used all four of their I-backs in route to 252 yards rushing. Cody Glenn led the stable with 88 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. Marlon Lucky - who started for NU - had a similar line of 79 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. Kenny Wilson added 47 yards on 15 carries, and Brandon Jackson got 32 on just 3 attempts, including an impressive 25-yard touchdown run.
Nebraska worked out a first quarter likely filled with a few excited nerves by scoring what could be considered the "feel good" touchdown of the day. Matt Herian's touchdown 13-yard reception from Taylor with just under two minutes to quarter got NU off to a 7-0 start. It was Herian's first touchdown since suffering a season-ending injury in 2004.
Early in the second quarter, Louisiana Tech capped an 80-yard drive with a 23-yard field goal. NU responded with an impressive 12-play drive that resulted in Lucky's 13-yard touchdown. An eventful second quarter continued when Tech's Johnathan Holland snagged a Zac Champion pass with one hand for a 39-yard touchdown. Suddenly, NU's lead was only 14-10. But, Taylor executed NU's two-minute offense precisely, going 6 for 6 passing during a 78 yard drive that was capped by Glenn's 1-yard touchdown run.
Up 21-10 to open the half, the Huskers established their dominance early in the 3rd quarter. Taylor led NU right down the field on their opening drive, covering 72 yards on 6 plays and finishing with a 6-yard touchdown pass to tight end J.B. Phillips.
NU poured it on in the 4th quarter, with touchdown drives covering 67, 64, and 49 yards. The first resulted in a touchdown pass from Taylor to Josh Mueller, the second ended on Jackson's touchdown scamper and the third on a hook-up between reserves Ganz and tight end Hunter Teafatiller.
Louisiana Tech quarterback Zac Champion was 12 of 27 throwing for 231 yards and touchdown in his first start. He also threw an interception to NU linebacker Bo Ruud. Holland was the bright spot for Tech, catching 7 balls for 139 yards and their lone touchdown. Tech managed just 67 yards on the ground, led by Patrick Jackson's 43 yards on 9 carries.
Defensively, NU was led by Courtney Grixby's 6 tackles, and a slew of players who each had 4 stops. Defensive ends Jay Moore and Adam Carriker were the defensive stars for NU. Both recorded a quarterback sack, two tackles for loss, and hurried Champion on several occasions.