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(Saturday, September 12th)
Final Score: (22) Nebraska 38, Arkansas State 9
Lincoln, NE (Sports Network) - Zac Lee threw four touchdown passes and Nebraska's offense racked up nearly 500 yards in a 38-9 rout of Arkansas State in the first ever meeting between the two schools.
Lee was 27-of-35 for 340 yards with a pair of TD strikes to Mike McNeill. Niles Paul ran for a score and caught another while Roy Helu, Jr. racked up 104 yards of total offense for the 22nd-ranked Cornhuskers (2-0), who scored a 49-3 home win over Florida Atlantic in their season opener.
Reggie Arnold ran for 83 yards on 14 carries and scored the lone touchdown for Arkansas State (1-1), which posted a rout of its own last weekend by whipping Mississippi Valley State 61-0.
Corey Leonard threw for only 131 yards on 11-of-20 efficiency and ran for 22 yards. Jahbari McLennan caught seven passes for 69 yards in defeat.
Nebraska outgained the Red Wolves 494-274 and was a solid 8-for-13 on third- down conversions. ASU, meanwhile, converted 2-of-10 third downs.
The 'Huskers jumped out to a 14-0 lead after 15 minutes of play, beginning with a quick 3:20 scoring march on the game's opening drive. A 43-yard completion to Curenski Gilleylen set up a three-yard TD pass to fullback Tyler Legate.
Nebraska's next series resulted in a 11-play, 80-yard scoring drive. An 11- yard completion to Helu, Jr. and a 16-yard strike to McNeill moved the ball to the ASU 14-yard-line. Two plays later, Lee hit McNeill again for a 13-yard score.
"I really liked the way we came out, we attacked. I thought we played really well offensively. I loved the energy we came out with," said head coach Bo Pelini. "I thought we played better than we did a week ago, but we're not where we need to be."
The Red Wolves were forced to punt from their own five to open the second quarter, giving Nebraska the ball on the opposing 46. It took three plays for the hosts to find the end zone on Paul's 30-yard run, and the lead was 21-0.
ASU took over on the Nebraska 32 with about nine minutes until the break following a punt deep in Husker territory, and the Wolves countered with their first and only touchdown. Leonard's 21-yard throw to McLennan helped set up a one-yard score by Arnold.
However, Josh Arauco missed the extra point attempt, and an Alex Henery 26- yard field goal allowed for a 24-6 Nebraska lead heading to the second half.
"I have to give Nebraska a ton of credit. I thought they played very, very well. I thought they kept us off balance," said ASU head coach Steve Roberts. "Their quarterback had a tremendous night. He was on fire. We were unable to get pressure on the quarterback at times, unable to cover. I thought they played a whole lot faster than we did overall in the game."
The Cornhuskers scored the only points of the third quarter on their first turn with the ball, as Lee polished off a quick four-play drive with a 32-yard TD pass to McNeill.
Arauco opened the fourth-quarter scoring with a 42-yard boot, but ASU would get no closer, and Nebraska answered on its next possession with a short two- yard TD toss to Paul to account for the final margin.
It was Nebraska's second straight win against a Sun Belt opponent to open the season...Next up for the 'Huskers is a tough ACC matchup with Virginia Tech...Arkansas State is off next week before opening its Sun Belt schedule against Troy...Nebraska had 27 first downs compared with the Red Wolves' 15...Helu, Jr. rushed for 60 yards and caught four passes for 44 yards. Paul led the NU receivers with six catches for 69 yards, while McNeill finished with four grabs for 57 yards.
09/12 19:30:09 ET