Lincoln, NE – Taylor Martinez hurled three touchdown passes and Imani Cross ran for two as the No. 18 Nebraska Cornhuskers won their 27th straight season opener with a 37-34 victory over the Wyoming Cowboys.
Martinez, the first Nebraska (1-0) quarterback to start four consecutive season openers, went 17-for-22 for 155 yards, three scores and an interception. He also picked up 80 yards on the ground while Ameer Abdullah led the Cornhuskers' rushing attack with 114 yards on 19 carries and Cross earned 105.
Brett Smith was terrific in defeat, racking up a career-high 383 yards and four touchdowns through the air and 92 yards on eight carries. Shaun Wick ran for 101 and a touchdown, and Dominic Rufran caught 11 passes for 120 yards while Jalen Claiborne caught a pair of touchdowns.
The Cowboys (0-1), who finished 4-8 in 2012, gained 602 yards of total offense.
"To come in and face a top-25 team like Nebraska and play like we did, it's definitely encouraging," said Rufran.
The visitors struck first on their second possession of the game. After forcing a Nebraska three-and-out, Wick broke off a 37-yard run, setting up a 6-yard touchdown toss from Smith to Claiborne.
Nebraska marched right down the field on its next possession but had to settle for three when Abdullah was stuffed for a loss on 3rd-and-1 from the Wyoming 4-yard line.
Following Stanley Jean-Baptiste's interception deep in Nebraska territory and subsequent 41-yard return, Martinez unleashed a 17-yard touchdown pass to Jamal Turner to help Nebraska claim its first lead.
Wyoming jumped back in front for the final time on Wick's only rushing score of the game, which capped a 5-play, 76-yard drive that began with a 47-yard scamper by Smith.
Later in the second, Abdullah's career-best 62-yard run down the left sideline set up Cross' 1-yard touchdown plunge, which put the Cornhuskers ahead for good.
Nebraska took a 17-14 edge into the locker room.
Cross found the end zone again early in the third period, this time from 31 yards out to give the home team a 10-point cushion.
Smith and Brandon Miller hooked up for a 22-yard touchdown strike late in the third quarter between two short touchdown passes from Martinez to Quincy Enunwa.
Trailing 37-21 with 6:02 left in the game, Smith fired a dart to Claiborne in the end zone, but a crucial two-point conversation try failed, leaving Wyoming in a 10-point hole.
Nebraska gave the ball back to Wyoming with 2:01 on the clock when Martinez was stuffed on a quarterback keeper on 4th-and-1, setting up Smith's 47-yard touchdown connection with Robert Herron less than a minute later.
Wyoming used two of its three timeouts and benefited from Cross falling out- of-bounds on second down, and forced a punt with just over a minute remaining.
The Cowboys' final possession started on their own 6-yard line, the worst starting field position of the night, and they were unable to get themselves into field goal range before the clock hit zero.
"We're one and zero and I'm happy we're one and zero. Obviously, we've got a lot of work to do," Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini said. "Whether you win by three or you win 65-0, it's never as good as you think it is and it's never as bad as you think it is."
Nebraska is coming off a 10-4 season in which they won the Big Ten Legends Division and played in the Big Ten championship ... The game's official attendance was a school-record 19,185 fans ... The Cornhuskers went 9-for-17 converting third downs while Wyoming made just 1-of-8 ... This is the first time in Nebraska's 27-game season opener winning streak that they won by less than nine points ... Nebraska outgained Wyoming 375-219 on the ground and improved to 7-0 all-time over the Cowboys.