Nebraska must have given K-State flashbacks of the Tom Osborne days, rushing for 190 yards on its way to a 21-3 victory.
That’s the most rushing yards the Huskers have had against the Wildcats since 2003, when they gained 196. At the time, Frank Solich was still the coach, and Nebraska was still running its legendary option offense.
“We’re Nebraska, and we want to run the ball,” running back Cody Glenn said. “We want to show everybody that we can run the ball no matter what.”
The Husker rushing attack wasn’t a complete throwback, but with formations featuring multiple tight ends and running backs, the only thing missing was the option pitch.
Three different backs carried the ball 10 times or more to continue the Huskers’ trend of using several different players to keep everyone rested.
While the Nebraska running backs couldn’t be stopped, the K-State ground game was almost nonexistent. True freshman running back Leon Patton was held in check with 13 yards on 12 carries.
The Wildcats’ leading rusher, Daniel Gonzalez, gained all 38 of his yards on a fake punt from K-State’s own 9-yard line.
“They teach us to be ready at any time,” Gonzalez said. “It ended up working perfectly.”
Without Gonzalez’s run, the Wildcats would have finished with minus-16 rushing yards.
Gonzalez also had a big day receiving the ball, with 72 yards on four catches. At the half he had 99 of the Wildcats’ 124 total offensive yards.
K-State struggled to put successful drives together the entire game, converting only one of 13 third-down attempts. The offense continued to stall in the red-zone, scoring only three points on two trips inside the Nebraska 20-yard line.
With the Huskers dominating on the ground, they were able to distract K-State with two passing touchdowns. Quarterback Zac Taylor provided his offense with balance, finishing with 149 yards on 12-of-21 passing and one touchdown.
The other touchdown pass came when place-kick holder Jake Wesch threw a 17-yarder to Hunter Teafatiller on a fake field goal. The touchdown put the Huskers up 7-0 in the first quarter after K-State thought it had held Nebraska to three points.
“It couldn’t have been better timing,” Nebraska coach Bill Callahan said. “They were going after that first field goal to establish some momentum, so I think we kind of diffused that somewhat for that first drive.”
True freshman quarterback Josh Freeman had a career-high 272 yards passing for the game. However, inconsistent protection forced him to throw on the run all night, and he finished with two interceptions and was sacked four times.
“I thought Josh and those players that he was passing the ball to were poised in making an effort to make some plays,” coach Ron Prince said. “There were some individual efforts that were outstanding. We just didn’t give him enough support to really let him set his feet and make some terrific throws over and over again.”