Huskers beat Bethune-Cookman

Courtesy: AP/UNL Media Relations

Nebraska got what it wanted out of its game against Bethune-Cookman. The Cornhuskers won, nobody got hurt, and a lot of guys got to play.

Adrian Martinez passed for 213 yards and two touchdowns and Devine Ozigbo ran for 110 and another score — all in the first half — and Nebraska prepped for next week’s road game against Ohio State with a 45-9 win Saturday.

A month ago, Nebraska was in the middle of its 0-6 start and coming off a 46-point loss at Michigan. Last week’s win over Minnesota and the fast work they did against the Wildcats of the Football Championship Subdivision have lifted the Huskers’ spirits heading into their trip to the “Horseshoe” to face the 11th-ranked Buckeyes, who were off Saturday after losing at Purdue last week.

“I think we’re a more disciplined team, a more efficient team right now,” coach Scott Frost said. “Hopefully, with the last two wins, it will make us a more confident team. We’ve got to go on the road to a tough place to play a really good team that’s going to be ticked off and has had two weeks of practice since their last game that didn’t go well for them. We know what we’re in for. We’re going to get their best shot.”

The Cornhuskers (2-6) scheduled Bethune-Cookman (4-5) a month ago as a replacement for the Sept. 1 opener against Akron that was canceled because of severe weather. The Wildcats earned an $800,000 guarantee.

“I’m appreciative of them for coming, and I think it was great for both teams,” Frost said. “It was the type of game we needed. I’m sure the amount of money we’re paying for them to come up is something they needed. I think both teams came out of the game really healthy, which is what both coaches wanted. I think it was a win-win for everybody.”

Stanley Morgan caught seven passes for 82 yards and two touchdowns and JD Spielman ran back a punt 77 yards for a touchdown and had five receptions for 72 yards.

Nebraska’s offensive starters turned the game over to the backups to start the second half. Most of the regulars on defense played the first two B-C possessions of the third quarter. A total of 74 players got on the field for the Huskers.

Bethune-Cookman started David Israel at quarterback in place of Akevious Williams, who left last week’s game against North Carolina A&T with a knee injury. Israel was 12 of 27 for 196 yards and two interceptions. Jabari Dunham led the Wildcats’ 10-play, 82-yard touchdown drive that Alfred Adams finished with a 5-yard run as time expired.

“We’re definitely appreciative of the opportunity to have a chance to come to Nebraska and play in a historic venue such as Memorial Stadium and play a program like Nebraska,” B-C coach Terry Sims said. “I don’t think we played our best. But the outcome is what it is. We had some guys that left it on the field today, played their hearts out.”

THE TAKEAWAY

Bethune-Cookman: The Wildcats showed some flashes against the Huskers’ top defense. Steffon Francois picked up 54 yards on a catch-and-run to set up Uriel Hernandez’s 28-yard field goal, and the Wildcats drove to the 8 and 14 against Nebraska’s starters on their first two series of the second half but couldn’t get into the end zone until the final play against reserves.

Nebraska: Martinez was hammered by Marquis Hendrix and got up slowly on the last of his 41 plays over seven series. Quarterback Noah Vedral, who transferred to Nebraska after backing up McKenzie Milton at Central Florida last year and was declared eligible Oct. 12, played in his first game and ran for a 20-yard touchdown.

STATS TO NOTE

Nebraska improved to 12-0 all-time against FCS opponents; Bethune-Cookman dropped to 2-10 against the FBS. … Spielman’s punt return for a touchdown was Nebraska’s first since De’Mornay Pierson-El ran one back against Iowa in 2014. … Ozigbo went over 100 yards for the fourth time in five games. … Martinez’s 1,656 passing yards are a Nebraska freshman record. … Peyton Newell had the Huskers’ first interception by a defensive lineman since 2013.

UP NEXT

Bethune-Cookman visits Morgan State on Nov. 3.

Nebraska visits No. 11 Ohio State on Nov. 3.

 POST GAME NOTES

  • Nebraska improved to 12-0 all-time against FCS opponents (at game time) and picked up its first win over an FCS foe since a 2014 victory over McNeese State.
  • Nebraska sophomore JD Spielman had a 77-yard punt return for a touchdown in the first quarter. The punt return for a touchdown was Nebraska’s first since De’Mornay Pierson-El returned a punt for a touchdown at Iowa in 2014. The 77-yard return is Nebraska’s longest since an 80-yard return by Pierson-El against Iowa in 2014.
  • Spielman had a kickoff return for a touchdown last season vs. Arkansas State. He is the first player to return a kickoff and punt for a touchdown in his career since Ameer Abdullah (KOR vs. Fresno State, 2011; PR vs. Idaho State, 2012).
  • Spielman caught five passes for 72 yards in the game. In the process Spielman moved into the top 10 in career receiving yardage at 1,516 yards. In today’s game he broke a tie with Maurice Purify (1,444) and passed Matt Davison (1,456) to move up to 10th place.  With his five catches, Spielman moved up to a tie for ninth place with Todd Peterson with 108 career receptions.
  • Spielman has 53 receptions this season, after recording 55 catches in 2017. He is only the third player in school history to post two 50-catch seasons, joining Johnny Rodgers (1971 & 1972) and Kenny Bell (2012 & 2013).
  • In addition to his 77-yard punt return, Spielman had a 40-yard reception in the first half. He now has 10 career plays of at least 40 yards, including five receptions, three kickoff returns, one rush and today’s punt return. 
  • Senior receiver Stanley Morgan Jr. caught seven passes for 82 yards, all in the first half, including first-quarter touchdowns of 3 and 27 yards. It marked the second straight game Morgan has had two touchdown catches and gives him 20 career touchdown receptions. Morgan is the fourth player in Nebraska history with 20 career touchdown catches, joining Johnny Rodgers (25), Nate Swift (22) and Kenny Bell (21).
  • Morgan increased his career receptions total to 163 moving him within 18 receptions of the Nebraska school record of 181 catches by Kenny Bell. Morgan currently sits in fourth on that chart, also trailing Jordan Westerkamp (167) and Nate Swift (166). Morgan has caught at least one pass in 34 straight games, three shy of the NU school record and he has at least three receptions in 19 of the past 20 games.
  •  Running back Devine Ozigbo rushed 11 times for 110 yards, including a 14-yard touchdown to open the scoring. Ozigbo did not play in the second half. It marked the fourth time in the past five games Ozigbo has topped 100 yards, and his seventh career 100-yard rushing game.
  • Quarterback Adrian Martinez completed 15-of-22 passes for 213 yards and two touchdowns. Martinez increased his season total to 1,656 passing yards, setting a Nebraska freshman record. The previous record was 1,632 yards by Taylor Martinez in 2010. 
  • Martinez accounted for 206 yards of total offense to post the 26th, 2,000-yard total offense season in school history and just the second by a freshman, joining Taylor Martinez in 2010.
  • Cornerback Dicaprio Bootle had one pass breakup, giving him 14 this season and moving him into a tie for fourth place on the season PBU list (15 is tie for 2nd). He is three breakups from DeJuan Groce’s school record 17 pass breakups in 2000.
  • Defensive lineman Peyton Newell had an interception in the second quarter, the first of his career. It was the first interception by a Nebraska defensive lineman since defensive ends Randy Gregory, Jason Ankrah and Avery Moss each had an interception in 2013. It was the first interception by an interior defensive lineman since Terrence Moore had an interception at Michigan in 2011. 
  • Linebacker Mohamed Barry had game-high 11 tackles, marking his fifth double-figure tackle game and the seventh time this season he has had at least eight tackles, including each of the past six games. Barry tied his career high with three tackles for loss, including a sack.
  • Senior Luke Gifford had a 21-yard sack in the third quarter, increasing his team-leading sack total to 5.5 sacks.
  • Tight end Jack Stoll had a career-long 37-yard reception in the second quarter.
  • Punter Isaac Armstrong had a 73-yard punt in the third quarter, tying for the seventh-longest punt in school history. It is the longest punt by a Husker since Alex Henery had a 76-yard punt at Virginia Tech in 2009.
  • Safety Deontai Williams had two takeaways, recovering a fumble in the second quarter and picking off a BCU pass in the third quarter.
  • Nebraska’s three takeaways were a season high, topping its two takeaways against both Troy and Northwestern

VIDEO

Post Game Report:

 

Adrian Martinez on confidence of team since Michigan Loss:

Mick Stoltenberg on Matt Jarzynka:

 

 Frost on JD Spielman’s punt return for a touchdown:

 

Frost on playing Bethune-Cookman:

 

Noah Vedral on playing in first game for Nebraska:

 

Categories: Top Stories