It was pretty clear from the moment they arrived that Bethune-Cookman was no match for Nebraska.
After all, even their head coach said afterwards that his first reaction to being offered the game was “no way.” It ended up taking several more phone calls to convince Terry Sims that the opportunity was worth it for his team.
The 4-4 FCS school was without its starting quarterback, and many of the players had a demeanor that this game was a formality they just wanted to get through as quick as possible.
Nebraska, meanwhile, was hoping for another confidence-building win that could get most of the team opportunities to see playing time.
All in all, everyone left Memorial Stadium happy on Saturday afternoon.
Within the first two minutes of the game, the talent gap between Nebraska and Bethune-Cookman was apparent. The Huskers drove down the field with ease for a quick score, only seeing the down change to second down twice in the process. Following a three-and-out by the Wildcats, JD Spielman weaved his way through traffic for a punt return touchdown (Nebraska’s first since 2014) and the route was on.
The Huskers rode a 28-point first quarter to an easy 45-9 victory, with the starters sitting out most of the second half. By the time the clock hit zero, 74 players entered the game for Nebraska and none left the game with significant injuries.
Meanwhile, Bethune-Cookman was able to also finish the game with zero significant injuries, gain experience against a team better than anyone left on their schedule and most importantly, pick up a large paycheck the university desperately needs.
Bethune-Cookman’s players also were able to experience another once-in-a-lifetime opportunity playing in front of nearly 90,000 people, and backups Alfred Adams and Donald Johnson made the most of it.
Johnson ended Nebraska’s final drive with an interception deep in Wildcat territory, then Adams ended the game with a four yard touchdown run as time expired.
Adams was so excited about the touchdown that he could barely form sentences in his postgame interview, and Johnson held onto the ball he picked off for about five minutes afterwards then carried it off the field with him.
When Adams was asked about his impression of the crowd today, he immediately started talking about his touchdown instead.
“Honestly I did, I was ready for it,” Adams said afterwards about his touchdown. “I knew my opportunity would come.”
Nebraska took care of business and built some much-needed confidence before playing at Ohio State next week, but was still far from perfect. Both Adrian Martinez and Noah Vedral threw interceptions, the team committed five penalties and the defense allowed 355 total yards.
Despite the few moments of weakness, it was still a feel-good type of game for Nebraska. Several backups for the Huskers also made big plays in the second half, with Deontai Williams snagging an interception in the end zone in the third quarter and Vedral running in a touchdown from 20 yards out in his Nebraska debut.
“I’m appreciative of them for coming,” Frost said afterwards about the game. “I think it was great for both teams.”