=== Huskers hope for better showing in clash with Golden Eagles ===
Lincoln, NE (Sports Network) - The 22nd-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers continue
their five-game season-opening homestand on Saturday night as they welcome the
Southern Miss Golden Eagles to Memorial Stadium.
USM enjoyed the luxury of opening the 2013 season at home, but it fell flat
against Texas State, blowing a fourth-quarter lead on its way to a 22-15
"We got what we deserved. We deserved that loss," USM head coach Todd Monken
said. "You can't drop footballs. You can't turn (the ball) over. You're not
going to win."
Nebraska came into this season with high expectations after posting an
impressive 10-3 record a year ago, and while it got this new campaign started
with a win, it was anything but impressive. At home, the Cornhuskers allowed
Wyoming to climb back into the game late in the fourth quarter before narrowly
escaping with a 37-34 victory.
"We're one and zero and I'm happy we're one and zero," head coach Bo Pelini
said. "Obviously, we've got a lot of work to do. I was expecting a lot cleaner
performance, but by no means am I panicking because I also saw some good
The Cornhuskers carry a 13-game home winning streak against non-conference
opponents into this contest.
Nebraska most recently defeated Southern Miss in the 2012 season opener,
49-20, to give it a 3-1 lead in the all-time series.
The USM offense hit on a few big plays in the opener, which helped it amass
400 yards, but it was still a sluggish performance overall. The unit was just
5-of-20 on third downs (0-of-4 on fourth downs), and scored on only two of its
four red zone possessions.
Allan Bridgford was busy in the defeat, completing 28-of-53 pass attempts for
377 yards, including a six-yard scoring strike to James Cox in the third
quarter, but his two interceptions proved costly.
Rickey Bradley shined in his debut, finishing with seven receptions for 193
yards. Tyre'oune Holmes was also a beast in the passing game, catching 12
balls for 96 yards.
The rushing attack was virtually non-existent for the Golden Eagles, as they
averaged less than one yard per carry. Kendrick Hardy led the way with 27
Even though USM's defense allowed the game-winning touchdown late, it was
still an impressive performance for the unit as it held the Bobcats to just
207 total yards.
Alan Howze racked up nine tackles on the evening with 2.5 TFL. Dasman McCullum
added two TFL and a fumble recovery, while Octavius Thomas recorded the team's
Even though Nebraska finished its opener having put up 530 total yards while
scoring touchdowns on 4-of-5 red zone possessions, the squad committed a
couple of late turnovers, and the performance did not live up to Pelini's
"We were very inefficient on offense," Pelini said. "We didn't get a rhythm
going all game. I understand we didn't have a lot to go off of as far as what
to expect, but we didn't play well at any phase of the game."
It's hard to imagine Pelini was expecting a better performance out of his
running game, which tallied 375 yards. Ameer Abdullah (114 yards) and Imani
Cross (105 yards, two TDs) both topped the century mark, while Taylor Martinez
(80 yards) and Terrell Newby (76 yards) were also effective.
Martinez was efficient as a passer as well, completing 17-of-22 attempts for
155 yards with three touchdowns and an interception.
Quincy Enunwa finished with just three receptions for 27 yards but managed to
reel in two of Martinez's scoring strikes. Jamal Turner (four receptions, 43
yards) caught a 17-yard touchdown in the first quarter, and Kenny Ball led all
receivers with seven grabs and 57 yards.
The biggest issue for the Cornhuskers in their first game was the disastrous
play of the defense. Even though Wyoming spent just 24 minutes on offense, it
torched Nebraska to the tune of 602 total yards.
Fortunately for the unit, a pair of interceptions by Stanley Jean-Baptiste and
Ciante Evans helped bail it out of trouble. David Santos picked up 12 tackles
in the victory.
09/04 11:29:29 ET