Zac Taylor passed for 431 yards, the most important an 8-yard touchdown pass to Cory Ross in the second overtime that gave Nebraska a 27-20 victory over 23rd-ranked Iowa State in the first overtime game in the history of Memorial Stadium Saturday afternoon.
After the Cyclones scored on the first possession of overtime to take a 20-13 lead, the Huskers answered on Ross' 1-yard touchdown run. NU got the first possession in the second overtime and scored before holding ISU on downs to improve to open the Big 12 Conference on a successful note and improve to 4-0. Iowa State, which was trying to defeat Nebraska in Lincoln for the first time since 1977, fell to 3-1.
Taylor completed 36-of-55 passes for a school-record 431 yards to 10 different receivers. Ross had eight of the catches for 131 yards, a school record for running backs. Nebraska rushed for just 36 yards in 25 attempts.
"I couldn't be more proud of our staff, our players and what they accomplished in a lot of adverse situations," coach Bill Callahan said. "When you talk about execution under pressure, we typified that today. There was a lot of adversity, but I really felt in the long run that our team persevered. Everyone contributed to this one."
With the teams locked in a 3-3 struggle, Ross went 70 yards on a middle screen to give NU a 10-3 lead with 10 minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Iowa State answered when Bret Meyer, who completed 23-of-41 for 317 yards, threw a 2-yard scoring pass to Walter Nickel to cap a 65-yard drive. That made it 10-10 with 5:39 left in the third period.
Iowa State took its first lead on Bret Culbertson's 32-yard field goal with 2:01 remaining in the third quarter.
NU freshman Jordan Congdon, who had missed a 21-yard field goal in the first half, connected from 23 yards to tie the game at 13-13 with 7:20 remaining.
Taylor could have gone from hero to goat late in regulation. With the Huskers driving at the ISU 10, Taylor fumbled as he was tackled, and the Cyclones took possession at their own 22 with 1:30 remaining.
The Nebraska defense held, and NU ran out the final 20 seconds of regulation.
The Husker defense was led by sophomore middle linebacker Corey McKeon, who finished with 10 tackles, including two of NU's six sacks.
Nebraska completes its season-opening home stand by playing host to Texas Tech next Saturday at 3 p.m. That game will be televised by TBS.