No. 7 Huskers ready to take on resentful Big 12
Talk about a parting shot.
No. 7 Nebraska made sure its long and lopsided association with Kansas State ended just as it began 99 years ago, with a humiliating defeat for the outmanned Wildcats.
So now it's one down and seven to go in Nebraska's farewell tour through a resentful Big 12. This final lap around the track got off to a roaring start with a 48-13 rout of Kansas State on Thursday night behind an unstoppable Taylor Martinez. Now the Huskers get to stay home for their next outing on Oct. 16 against Texas, the Big 12 school they probably would most like to crush as they head out the door for what they say will be more money and greater prestige in the Big Ten.
Lingering resentment toward the Longhorns, many believe, helped persuade the Huskers to bolt the Big 12 in the first place and turn their backs on partnerships that in many cases had lasted 100 years or more. Ahead of the season, many thought the other Big 12 teams would circle the calendar for the Huskers, hoping to give Nebraska a swift kick out the door.
But Martinez and his mates administered a goodbye beatdown to K-State that perfectly reflects the entire rivalry that began in 1911 with a 59-0 Husker blowout. After that, Kansas State managed to win just 15 of the next 94 against its neighbor to the north.
The crowd for this last up-close look at the Huskers was sufficiently cranked up.
But only for a while. Martinez put an end to that when he began rushing for a Nebraska quarterback record of 241 yards and scoring four touchdowns. The Huskers quieted the crowd - and even sent a big chunk home early.
"The fans were saying some pretty harsh things when we got here, so we had to shut them up," said wide receiver Niles Paul.
The Huskers know what awaits them on the road this year. With an arrogant air, they make it known that they plan to be prepared.
"We just are going to finish with a bang, win the Big 12 North and the Big 12 Conference and then leave," Paul said.
After Texas, the Huskers will be at Oklahoma State, home against Missouri, at Iowa State, home against Kansas and at Texas A&M before hosting Colorado, which is leaving the Big 12 for the Pac-10.
Then it may be the conference championship game, the last Big 12 championship game since the league is going to 10 teams and will no longer play a North-South format.
"It is our last time, so we have to put a stamp on everything," said Nebraska safety P.J. Smith. "We just go out and work hard every day."
Did anyone think Nebraska would not know what to expect every time it went on the road in the Big 12 in this final season? They were sure ready for Kansas State, rolling up 587 total yards behind the remarkable quickness of their redshirt quarterback.
"We've just got to keep raising the bar and raising our standards," said coach Bo Pelini. "Even though we ran for a lot of yards, there's a lot of aspects of execution, technique, a lot of things we can get better at. And we're going to need to as we keep going through Big 12 play because there's a lot of challenges ahead of us."