Rex Burkhead

Rex Burkhead took his third carry of the game, his sixth of the season, and turned it into six points.

At 61 yards, the run was the longest of Burkhead’s career.

“It felt good getting into that end zone,” Burkhead said.

The Nebraska I-back missed the majority of the first three games of the season when he suffered a grade-2 MCL sprain on his third run of the team’s season-opening win against Southern Miss.

On Saturday, the senior contributed 119 yards and two touchdowns in his first game back en route to a 73-7 Husker victory.

“Rex is a special player,” NU coach Bo Pelini said. “I think he felt really good. He felt comfortable.”

Nebraska ran away with Saturday’s game vs. Idaho State, piling up 569 yards of offense for a 66-point home win.

The Huskers (3-1) got off to a hot start, scoring 35 points in the first quarter, three points shy of setting a school record for most points in one quarter. During that span, the Huskers strung together three straight plays resulting in touchdowns, ending with a 68-yard touchdown by Kenny Bell off a quick-pitch from quarterback Taylor Martinez.

“I liked our team’s approach,” Pelini said. “I liked the way they came out. They played hard from the start.”

While Burkhead and the rushing game started off hot, the passing game, led by quarterback Taylor Martinez, got out to less of an impressive start.

On the Huskers’ first drive, Martinez and Burkhead failed to connect on a short pass. Two plays later, Martinez fired an errant throw, five yards or further from any NU receiver.

But after the first drive, the passing game rebounded. Martinez finished the quarter 5 for 8, passing for 142 yards and two touchdowns. One of those touchdowns, the quick-pitch to Bell, counted as a pass, as it was a forward lateral. The other was a 35-yard strike to a wide open Quincy Enunwa for his first touchdown of the year.

Perhaps one of the most surprising elements of Nebraska’s win was the pass rush. The Blackshirts were in Bengals quarterback Kevin Yost’s face all game, producing seven sacks.

Eric Martin was the biggest story on the defensive front for the second week in a row, as he consistently collapsed Idaho State’s offensive line, coming away with 2.5 sacks of his own.

“He has a dimension. He adds that speed off the edge,” Pelini said. “He’s a guy who can do a lot of different things for you.”

Once the Huskers built a hefty lead, the starting lineup came out of the game, and more backups began to see playing time. Quarterback Ron Kellogg III saw significant playing time throughout the game, while the rest of the reserve unit on the offense soon followed.

“I thought it was pretty important, just for a backup stand point,” Kellogg said. “I did a lot of mental reps during the first three games. But to go out there and actually fill out a couple of passes kind of helped my confidence a little bit.”

With 12:31 remaining in the fourth quarter, Idaho State finally put points on the board, with a 28-yard CJ Reyes touchdown pass to Luke Austin.

But by then the game was out of hand. By the late first quarter, the fans became less involved in the game and more involved trying to entertain themselves.

At the 12:00 mark in the 2nd quarter, Nebraska’s fans started doing the wave – a tell-tale sign that a game is essentially over. The wave began as a standard round-the-stadium bulge, then slowed down, reversed and eventually split in two.

Nebraska opens Big Ten Conference play Saturday when Wisconsin (3-1) travels to Lincoln.

sports@dailynebraskan.com