Cornhuskers beat Jayhawks 20-3
Story by Jeff Packer and Rich Schneider
Photo by Marcus Scheer
Senior kicker Alex Henery and the Blackshirt defense carried Nebraska to a 20-3 win over the Kansas Jayhawks Saturday night. Spoiling former Husker quarterback and assistant coach Turner Gill’s return to Lincoln as Kansas head coach.
Despite outgaining the Jayhawks by 310 yards, the Cornhuskers were plagued by costly turnovers and drive-killing penalties. Nebraska gained 397 yards while the Husker defense held the Jayhawks to 87 yards, the lowest total for a Husker opponent this season. The Jayhawks only points of the night came after a Taylor Martinez fumble on Nebraska’s own 47 yard line in the third quarter.
Juniors Lavonte David and Jared Crick led the team with two sacks each and 19 total tackles.
The Jayhawks’ first four drives were ended by Nebraska sacks, two of which were recorded by David. “I thought we had a good mix of blitz and four man pressure,” Coach Bo Pelini said after the game.
Freshman quarterback Martinez gained 76 yards on 11 rushing attempts while leading an inconsistent offensive attack. It was his first action since injuring his ankle in the first half against Missouri on Oct. 30.
“We weren’t efficient enough. We took ourselves out of drives,” Pelini said. “When you’re not getting explosive gains, you better be efficient.”
A Nebraska offense that has relied on the big play throughout the year used two nine-play drives to score its only touchdowns of the night. Sophomore Rex Burkhead scored from four yards out in the wildcat formation and senior Roy Helu Jr. scored on a 20-yard run in the second quarter to put Nebraska up 14-0.
Henery’s two field goals, of 42 and 24 yards, were the only points Nebraska managed in the second half. Henery’s final kick took the Huskers to a three-score lead with 6:28 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Saturday’s game was the final installment of the NCAA Record 105th consecutive games played between the Huskers and the Jayhawks. The two have met 117 total times, the third most among NCAA Bowl Subdivision schools.
Gill, a former All-American quarterback under current Husker Athletic Director Tom Osborne, was an assistant coach at Nebraska from 1992 to 2004. Until Saturday the Jayhawks’ head coach had been 17-0 in the series between Nebraska and Kansas.
Nebraska is now 9-1, its best start since the Huskers won their first 11 games in 2001.Ne