After slow start, Huskers steamroll Fordham in 52-7 win
Despite stumbling out of the gates until midway through the second quarter, Nebraska eventually accomplished what it was supposed to do with a 52-7 win over Fordham on Saturday.
The Huskers, who came in as 42.5-point favorites over the FCS-level Rams, racked up over 600 yards of total offense and 34 first downs over a whopping 94 plays from scrimmage in the victory.
Quarterback Adrian Martinez accounted for 287 yards of offense and three total touchdowns while completing 17-of-23 passes. Running back Markese Stepp led the way with 101 yards on 18 carries, as NU averaged more than 5.0 yards per rush.
It was hardly a perfect effort, though, as the Huskers only led 10-7 deep into the second quarter before finally breaking the game open. Still, the end result was exactly what Nebraska and the 85,938 fans in attendance needed.
After a punt on its opening offensive series, Nebraska needed a tipped interception from JoJo Domann at its own 25 to stop Fordham from taking the first lead. The Huskers finally got on the board with a four-yard fourth-down touchdown run by Adrian Martinez, capping a 13-play, 75-yard drive to make it 7-0.
But after another stalled NU drive and punt, the Rams marched down the field and tied the game on a 31-yard touchdown pass from Tim DeMorat to Fotis Kokosioulis with 14:14 left in the second quarter.
That was Fordham’s first touchdown against a power conference opponent since 1969.
Nebraska got its offense going on the ensuing drive but stalled deep in Fordham territory, thus settling for a 39-yard field goal by Culp.
The Rams once again moved the ball into scoring position on their next series and had a chance to tie it up on a 46-yard field goal try, but Marquel Dismuke blocked the kick to end the threat.
The Huskers capitalized with a four-yard touchdown scramble by Martinez that made it 17-7 with 3:56 remaining in the half. Fordham quickly got the ball back into NU territory, but Deontai Williams picked off DeMorat at the Husker 38 with 2:27 still on the clock.
Dismuke’s block was the first for Nebraska since Randy Gregory blocked a field goal against Minnesota in November of 2014.
Martinez connected with Samori Toure on passes of 30 and 23 yards to set up Sevion Morrison - who didn’t play at all last week at Illinois - for a one-yard touchdown run to send Nebraska into halftime with a 24-7.
The defense got the second half off to a good start by forcing a quick three-and-out, but Cam Taylor-Britt muffed the punt return, and Fordham recovered at the NU 34. However, it ended up all being for not, as Deontai Williams intercepted DeMorat again on a fourth-down pass.
Nebraska’s offense took from there and pushed the lead to 31-7 on a two-yard touchdown toss from Martinez to walk-on tight end Chancellor Brewington with 8:24 left in the third.
One drive later, Toure converted a fourth down with a 25-yard catch and then took an option pitch for an eight-yard scoring run to make 38-7.
The starters checked out, and the backups took over from there, and No. 2 quarterback Logan Smothers helped lead NU to a six-yard touchdown by Morrison to start the fourth quarter.
Marvin Scott barrelled in for a six-yard touchdown run to put a bow on the win, as the Huskers ended up out-gaining Fordham 309-71 while running 48 plays to 24 in the second half.
Next week, Nebraska will return to action when it hosts Buffalo for a 2:30 p.m. CT kickoff on Big Ten Network.