So much for a Southern California hangover.
One week after suffering its first loss of the season, No. 23 Nebraska bounced back in a big way, blanking Troy 56-0 Saturday night in front of a sold-out crowd of 84,799 at Memorial Stadium.
The Cornhusker offense roared to life, churning out 597 yards of total offense while putting up eight offensive touchdowns. Sophomore running back Marlon Lucky scored three of them to go with a career-high 156 yards rushing on 10 carries.
On defense, NU posted its first shutout since a 28-0 win against Iowa State in 2003.
"I'm really excited about our defense throwing a shutout today," NU Coach Bill Callahan said. "It was a good win for our football team, the way we handled ourselves and the preparation of the week. To come back in this fashion (from the USC loss) and in this type of form is very satisfying."
The Husker defense was so dominant that Troy ran only five plays from scrimmage in Nebraska territory and never got closer than the NU 37-yard line.
Callahan said he thought the offensive and defensive lines played exceptionally well, hurrying Troy quarterback Omar Haugabook on seemingly every play and sacking him four times.
But maybe more soothing to Husker fans was watching the offense click after recording just 10 points a week earlier.
On Nebraska's opening possession, it marched down the field and took an early 7-0 lead when Lucky outran Trojan defenders for a career-long 34-yard touchdown.
But Lucky wasn't done. The North Hollywood, Calif., native broke a 45-yard run for a score in the second quarter and established his third career-high run of the game when he sprinted into the end zone from 51 yards out to give NU a 35-0 lead early in the third quarter.
Lucky said the offensive line played its best game of the season, giving him some choices as to where he wanted to run.
"Linemen blocked a hell of a game today," Lucky said. "They had some big holes."
NU running back Kenny Wilson thought so, too. The junior ran the ball 19 times for 106 yards and two touchdowns, both times capping off Husker drives lasting more than five minutes.
The last time Nebraska had two 100-yard rushers in a game was in 2004, when Cory Ross and current NU junior safety Tierre Green turned the trick against Western Illinois.
"We didn't overlook this game a second," Nebraska senior safety Andrew Shanle said. "We wanted to, in a physical sense, get the game over by halftime."
Shanle was responsible for one of three NU takeaways on the night, intercepting a Haugabook pass deep in Nebraska territory. The other two Troy turnovers came on special teams - one when Trojan punter Jason Wright muffed a snap, and the other when Troy punt returner Leodis McKelvin fumbled a Husker punt.
Nebraska's lone turnover came in the second quarter when quarterback Zac Taylor threw an interception, just his second of the season. The senior finished 14-of-17 passing for 268 yards and a touchdown.
With the offense rolling - it had 10 plays of at least 20 yards - and the defense as stingy as ever, NU junior cornerback Andre Jones said he and the team proved they are ready for the Big 12 Conference season, starting with Kansas next week.
"We were all on the same page," Jones said. "I almost hated that it ended."
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