LINCOLN — After starting the season 0-6, Nebraska found a way to hold on for its first win of the season over Minnesota 53-28 on Saturday.
After the final whistle blew, the former Nebraska quarterback and now head coach Scott Frost was doused in a Gatorade bath.
“First of all, it was cold. I took it like a man, I saw it coming, but I’m glad the guys are so excited,” Frost said. “There’s going to be a day around here when we’re not celebrating one win, and we’ll keep working toward that.”
As Frost ran off the field, he almost teared up getting ready to deliver a speech to the team in the locker room.
Nebraska defensive coordinator Erik Chinander walked in with the game ball and tossed it to Frost as the whole team surrounded him with excitement.
“This feels great,” Frost said. “This is what it’s supposed to feel like.”
Nebraska used multiple weapons on offense to score 53 points, the most since joining the Big Ten Conference.
The Huskers gained 383 yards on the ground and 276 yards in the air.
The Nebraska running game was clicking all day and, for the fifth time in school history, the Huskers had three players rush for over 100 yards.
Devine Ozigbo carried the ball 12 times for 152 yards and had two touchdowns.
“As a running back, and just as a person who loves playing this game, I want the ball in my hands as many times as possible if it’s going to help the team,” Ozigbo said.
Freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez ran the ball 15 times for 125 yards and had one rushing touchdown.
Martinez accounted for 401 yards of total offense with 276 yards going in the air. He completed 25 of 29 passes and threw three touchdowns.
“I think everything was working on the ground. When you have three different guys who are running it, including myself, it makes it tough on the defense and how they are going to stop us,” Martinez said. “I feel really good right now. Really big credit to the coaches and the guys I have around me.”
The third 100-yard rusher, Maurice Washington, carried the ball 14 times for 109 yards and one touchdown.
It was a windy day with gusts getting up to 29 miles per hour, but that didn’t stop the Nebraska passing game.
Stanley Morgan Jr. caught a career high 10 passes for 163 yards and two touchdowns.
While Morgan Jr. had a career day, alongside him JD Spielman caught eight passes for 77 yards and had one touchdown. Spielman increased his career totals to 103 receptions and is the first Husker to reach the milestone before his senior year.
“They moved me around more. It’s kind of tough being out there underneath over–the-top coverage,” Morgan Jr. said. “So the coaches just moved me around more and just put more emphasis on that, and I appreciate them for that.”
The Nebraska Cornhuskers found themselves in a similar situation to last week, scoring on the opening drive of the game.
Nebraska started on its own 25-yard line, drove down the field and ended the drive with a 40-yard touchdown run by Ozigbo.
Minnesota’s opening drive looked promising and originally included a 37-yard touchdown pass, but it was brought back because of a holding call against Jared Weyler. The Huskers forced a third-and-19 when the Huskers collapsed the pocket, Ben Stille took down Zack Annexstad forcing Minnesota to punt.
Nebraska continued to roll on offense when Ozigbo ran for a 59-yard touchdown extending their lead to 14.
During the rest of the first half the Huskers took a commanding 28-8 lead going into halftime after a 3-yard Martinez rushing touchdown and a 9-yard pass from Martinez to Spielman.
Minnesota came out of the locker room in the second half with some steam and cut the lead down to 28-22 and had all of the momentum.
“I even thought it myself (about thinking back to last week), I’ve seen this movie before,” Frost said.
Nebraska’s offense needed an answer and it did.
With the drive starting on the Huskers’ own 26-yard line, Martinez found Morgan Jr. for a 6-yard gain and then Washington broke a 22-yard gain to get to the Nebraska 46-yard line. They handed Washington the ball for an 11-yard gain, moving the ball into Minnesota territory.
On the next play, Martinez rolled to the right and threw the ball downfield as Morgan Jr. veered to the middle of field before waltzing in for the touchdown.
The Gophers tried to respond, taking the ball all the way down the field but coming up short on fourth-and-goal on an incomplete pass by Tanner Morgan intended for Autmen-Bell. It was broken up by Dicaprio Bootle.
In the start of the fourth quarter, Nebraska drove down the field in 13 plays, taking off 6:08 before getting a 32-yard field goal by Barret Pickering to extend the lead to 39-20.
Nebraska continued to gain momentum when linebacker Dedrick Young picked off Morgan on the goal line leading to a touchback.
Nebraska had first-and-10 when Martinez found Morgan Jr. again for another touchdown, this time for 67-yards.
“It hurt last year to see them run up the score on us, so it’s a little bit of payback,” Morgan Jr. said.
Minnesota responded with a 3-yard rushing touchdown while trying to cut back into the game, but once again Nebraska drove down the field and stuck the nail in the coffin when Washington ran for a 3-yard touchdown, ending the game with a score of 53-28.
“When Mo (Washington) scored, I knew it was done,” Frost said. “That’s what I want our guys to do, is have a killer instinct when we got somebody on the ropes to finish.”
Nebraska had 659 yards of total offense while Minnesota had 474.
Nebraska had two penalties in the first half including an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against Brenden Jaimes and a false start to end the half. The Huskers had a total of six penalties for 43 yards compared to Minnesota’s eight for 80 yards.
Nebraska snapped a 10-game losing streak and this is the first win dating back to when the Huskers beat Purdue 25-24 on Oct. 28, 2017.
The is Frost’s first win since the 2018 Peach Bowl when he coached UCF to a 34-27 win over Auburn, but most importantly he won his first game as the head coach for the University of Nebraska.
“Our guys have deserved and played well enough to win some other ones, and we found some unbelievable ways to lose games that I’ve ever seen,” Frost said. “This leaves me shaking my head, but sometimes when you break through the dam, the flood waters come.”