Posted by: Matt Lothrop
For the third straight season the Huskers faced an opponent from the Football Championship Subdivision.
In 2010 - a scare by South Dakota State.
In 2011 - an uninspiring win against Tennessee-Chattanooga.
In 2012 - for the first time in that span the Huskers looked the part overmatching an Idaho State squad in a 73-7 win. Even with a blowout win, Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said there's little to learn in such a lopsided game.
"Were we going to go out there and do what we're capable of doing, regardless of who the opponent was, and to play the kind of football we're capable of playing? I thought we did that early on," Pelini said. "It's really easy to have a look ahead, but it's first things first. You have to have respect for the game and how you play it. I thought our guys did that."
The Big Red did it early and often scoring 35 points in the first quarter, and getting it done on offense, defense, and special teams.
In the final tune up before Big Ten play, the offense cranked out 385 rushing yards and a confidence fit for a league opener.
"I think we're right where we want to be and I think if we just keep this momentum going we'll be tough to beat," Taylor Martinez said.
"I think we're at a good point." Rex Burkhead said. "The guys are really comfortable with what we got going right now and we're ready to go against Wisconsin."
The Huskers learned from the 2011 Big Ten opener when they came to Wisconsin as league favorites, and left with a 48-17 loss.
With a year under their belt the Huskers now know what they're in for.
"Just going into Big Ten play, you know it's going to be hard no matter what," Eric Martin said. "We just got to refocus up, enjoy the win and refocus up and get ready for this week."
Coach Pelini says his team has grown since that six-point loss to UCLA. He doesn't even want to look back at the game.
But does he feel the Huskers are ready for that first Big Ten challenge?
"We'll see on Saturday... we're looking forward to it."