NCAA FB

No. 25 Huskers' Burkhead returns vs FCS's Idaho St

Share This Story

   
 

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP)

Updates. With AP Photos.By ERIC OLSONAP Sports Writer

Rex Burkhead is back just in time to test his left knee before Big Ten play starts.

Really, the only unknowns about No. 25 Nebraska's game against Idaho State on Saturday are how many carries Burkhead will get and how effective he'll be after missing two games with a sprained ligament.

The Cornhuskers (2-1) managed just fine in his absence, having run for more than 250 yards three straight games. Their stable of running backs becomes four deep with Burkhead, and offensive coordinator Tim Beck said all of them are part of the plan against the Bengals.

''Just because Rex is back doesn't mean we're going to push those guys to the wayside,'' Beck said.

The Huskers probably will employ their power running game against the Bengals (1-1), much the way they did in last week's win over Arkansas State.

With Wisconsin visiting next week, there's no need to show too much of the offensive repertoire against a Football Championship Subdivision team that has lost 33 straight road games and 45 of its last 51 games overall.

Nebraska coach Bo Pelini plans to be on hand for the entire game. Last week an ambulance took him to a hospital for tests in the middle of the Arkansas State game. He complained of heartburn and dizziness. Pelini said heart problems were ruled out, and he was given a clean bill of health.

This is the third year in a row Nebraska has played an opponent from the FCS.

Pelini said the challenge for his team is to improve while people outside the program write off the game as an easy win.

''What can we do today to make ourselves better?'' Pelini said. ''We have a long, long way to go as a football team right now. We have to stay hungry.''

No one is hungrier than Burkhead, who all but begged the coaching staff to let him practice during the two weeks he was held out.

''I hate just watching everything go on,'' he said, ''but at the same time it puts it in a different perspective.''

Burkhead, named All-Big Ten last season after rushing for 1,357 yards and 15 touchdowns, was injured on his third carry against Southern Mississippi. Pelini said Burkhead probably could have played last week, but there was no need to bring him back before he was 100 percent.

Ameer Abdullah, Burkhead's top backup, has become the Big Ten's second-leading rusher, with 122 yards a game. He had career highs with 30 carries, 167 yards and two touchdowns against Arkansas State.

Imani Cross is averaging 7.1 yards a carry, Braylon Heard 6.8 and quarterback Taylor Martinez 5.9.

''I think that's one of the great things about our backs is that it doesn't matter who is back there,'' offensive lineman Jeremiah Sirles said. ''All of them can make plays. If we've got Rex, Imani, Braylon or Ameer, all of those guys are huge playmakers. We're just going to block the best that we can and make holes so they can make plays.''

Idaho State ranks 118th out of 121 FCS teams at stopping the run, largely because Air Force of the Football Bowl Subdivision ground out 484 yards against the Bengals three weeks ago. The Bengals' 3-4 defense gives up 50 pounds a man to the Huskers on the line.

Idaho State runs a spread offense that attempts 60 passes a game. Kevin Yost has completed 74 percent of his passes for 803 yards and four touchdowns, with one interception, in two games. Derek Graves has caught 30 passes for 269 yards, and three other receivers have at least 12 catches.

''We're putting up video-game numbers in our offense simply because that's the way we want to play,'' Bengals coach Mike Kramer said.

Two years ago, South Dakota State of the FCS came to Lincoln and made it a four-quarter game before losing 17-3.

Martinez said the Huskers can't count on beating the Bengals in a walkover, even though that's what the fans expect.

''This is like their Super Bowl game,'' Martinez said. ''They're going to throw everything out there at us. They'll give us their best shot.''

Tagged: Arkansas State, Idaho, Arkansas, Nebraska, Taylor Martinez, Rex Burkhead

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by

College Football Pick'em on FOX


NCAA FB Videos

Sumlin annoyed by media's Manziel questions Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Kevin Sumlin responds to questions about life after Johnny Football by toying wi...

AJ Pasquale's journey back to UCLA Posted: Jun 17, 2014
UCLA football ops intern AJ Pasquale describes his own personal journey after th...

Winston issued adult civil citation Posted: Apr 30, 2014
Get the latest news surrounding Jameis Winston's recent shoplifting fiasco.

Get Inside the Locker Room with Scout.com

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/759777/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_759000/ff_759777_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Michigan_State_Spartans/browse/featuredproduct/760171/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_760000/ff_760171_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White
    Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_USC_Trojans/browse/featuredproduct/761373/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_761000/ff_761373_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/829709/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829709_xl.jpg&w=100 64.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimso..
    Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_LSU_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/829740/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829740_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple
    Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_Sooners/browse/featuredproduct/830935/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_830000/ff_830935_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson
    adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/861243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861243_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue
    adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Nebraska_Cornhuskers/browse/featuredproduct/861247/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861247_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapback Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1087345/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1087000/ff_1087345_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapba..
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1093431/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1093000/ff_1093431_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash