Martinez leads Nebraska past South Dakota State
Lincoln, NE (Sports Network) - Taylor Martinez tossed a score while Rex Burkhead ran one in, as sixth-ranked Nebraska took a 17-3 win over South Dakota State at Memorial Stadium.
Martinez went just 6-for-14 passing with 140 yards and was picked off twice for the Cornhuskers (4-0), who have next week off before opening Big 12 play at Kansas State on October 7. Martinez added 13 carries for 75 yards, Burkhead had 14 carries for 66 yards and Roy Helu Jr. had 19 carries for 59 yards. Kyler Reed caught Martinez's touchdown pass.
"Obviously, I'm not pushing the panic button because this is the same football team that went out to Washington last week and played pretty good football," said Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini. "You have to have consistency. For us to show up like that at home today, I'm embarrassed. Like I said, it's my fault."
Thomas O'Brien went 12-for-28 with just 95 yards and two interceptions for the Jackrabbits (0-3), who have dropped all three of their games this season by double-digits. Kyle Minnett carried the ball 28 times for 112 yards in the loss.
"I am tremendously proud of our football program, but however you measure it, take it up a degree higher than that, I'm disappointed," said South Dakota State head coach John Stiegelmeier. "Two teams play, one finished first and one finished last. In addition I am tremendously proud of their attitude and they don't settle for playing close, moral victories. They go try to win football games. I'm very proud of them."
The first quarter passed without a score as Nebraska's offense had trouble getting itself on track and its defense stuffed South Dakota State on a 4th- and-goal at the one-yard line.
The Cornhuskers had the ball at their own 33 to start the second quarter and on the first play of the frame, Martinez hit Mike McNeill for 64 yards to get the ball down to the Jackrabbits' three-yard line. On the next play, Burkhead punched the ball in for a 7-0 lead.
South Dakota State was held to a three-and-out on its next touch and Nebraska needed just four plays to get into the end zone. On 3rd-and-6 at the South Dakota State 33, Martinez avoided the rush and lofted the ball down the right side for Reed, who was wide open in front of the end zone and took the ball in for a 14-0 lead with 10:46 left in the first half.
After an exchange of punts to start the second half, the Jackrabbits went on a long drive that saw the team eat up almost five minutes of the clock. The 12-play, 73-yard march was capped on a 35-yard field goal from Kyle Harris with 5:11 left in the third to make it a 14-3 game.
The Cornhuskers kept the ball for the remainder of the third quarter and on the first play of the fourth got a 30-yard field goal from Alex Henery for a 17-3 advantage.
After being held to no points on the ensuing possession, the Jackrabbits nearly made it a seven-point game as Derek Domino picked off Martinez and returned it to the end zone, but an illegal block call brought the ball back to the South Dakota State 33, and O'Brien was picked off three plays later.
The Jackrabbits were forced to punt on their next touch and O'Biren was intercepted on the next possession. Nebraska killed off the rest of the clock.
It was the first time since 2005 that Nebraska went through its non- conference matchups undefeated...The only previous meeting between these schools was in 1963 when Nebraska took a 58-7 win...The Jackrabbits play at Northern Iowa next Saturday...The Cornhuskers have picked off the ball 10 times this season.
09/26 00:06:41 ET