With the momentum of last week’s win over Minnesota, Nebraska dominated Bethune-Cookman from the opening snap to the final whistle in a 45-9 win.
An early offensive explosion set the tone for the game, and the Huskers never looked back after scoring four touchdowns in the first quarter alone.
Freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez started the game hot, completing five of his passes on the opening drive for 53 yards. Senior running back Devine Ozigbo punched in the touchdown on a 14-yard run, giving Nebraska its fourth opening-drive touchdown in its last five games.
Nebraska’s defense held Bethune-Cookman to a three-and-out, which allowed sophomore wide receiver JD Spielman to score the team’s first special teams touchdown of the season. Spielman juked multiple defenders on his way to a 77-yard punt return touchdown, which gave Nebraska a 14-0 lead less than five minutes into the game.
“It was good to see us finally get one on special teams,” Nebraska head coach Scott Frost said. “You score on defense or special teams, you’re going to win most games.”
Bethune-Cookman managed to get on the board as well, thanks to a 54-yard pass from sophomore quarterback David Israel to sophomore wide receiver Steffon Francois on busted coverage from the Huskers. The Wildcat drive eventually stalled, resulting in a 28-yard field goal.
Nebraska still had time to score two more touchdowns in the first quarter to bring the score to 28-3. Martinez picked out Spielman for a 40-yard pass before finding senior wide receiver Stanley Morgan Jr. for a three-yard score. Martinez threw another score to Morgan Jr. later in the quarter, with their second scoring play going for 27 yards.
“At the start of the game the guys were really dialed in and ready to go,” Frost said. “That set the stage for the rest of the things that we wanted to accomplish in the game.”
Morgan Jr. finished the game with seven catches for 82 yards and two scores in just one half of action.
Scoring cooled down in the second quarter as Martinez and Israel both threw interceptions. An acrobatic catch from senior wide receiver Bryan Reimers helped Nebraska drive down the field once again, eventually setting up freshman running back Maurice Washington for an eight-yard rushing touchdown.
Nebraska still had time for one more score in the first half following a fumble forced by sophomore linebacker JoJo Domann. Freshman kicker Barret Pickering’s 29-yard field goal gave the Huskers a 38-3 halftime lead and ended the day for Nebraska’s first-team unit.
Martinez completed 15-22 passes for 213 yards and two scores, with one interception. He did not record a rushing attempt apart from taking two sacks, despite running for 125 yards last week.
Nebraska’s second-team offense, led by sophomore quarterback Noah Vedral, took the field in the second half, although neither side managed to score in the third quarter.
Nebraska’s defense stepped up, with a 21-yard sack from senior linebacker Luke Gifford on third-and-goal that pushed the Wildcats out of field goal range. Sophomore safety Deontai Williams intercepted Israel in the end zone later in the quarter to keep the Wildcats from scoring.
The Husker offense bounced back from two three-and-out drives in the third quarter, as Vedral ran in a score from 20 yards out to give the Huskers a 45-3 lead. The sophomore from Wahoo, Nebraska was one of many native Nebraskans to see the field in the second half, including junior running back Wyatt Mazour.
Mazour ran the ball five times for 55 yards in his second career game at running back.
“When I get my chance I try to do as well as I can and try to represent this state, from being here, it really means a lot to me,” Mazour said.
Senior defensive lineman Matt Jarzynka recorded in his first career tackle as a Husker after spending four seasons as a backup. For fellow senior defensive lineman Mick Stoltenberg, it meant so much for him to see the walk-on from Loup City, Nebraska finally hit the field.
“He’s worked his ass off every single day and didn’t complain once. He’s given all he has to this program,” Stoltenberg said. “For him to get out there and make that TFL, that was awesome.”
Bethune-Cookman added a consolation touchdown on the last play of the game, sealing a 45-9 victory for the Huskers. After an explosive first half, the two teams combined to score 13 points in the second half in what was ultimately an easy day at the office for Nebraska.
“Those are good people that we just played and I think they had a good experience, and I’m glad it happened the way it did,” Frost said.