football Edit

Huskers dominate Maryland in 54-7 road victory

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – A team that hadn’t been on the right side of the scoreboard for 48 days, Nebraska finally got itself right on Saturday.

For the first time all season, seemingly every bounce went the Huskers way from start to finish in a 54-7 road rout of hapless Maryland.

Adrian Martinez racked up 194 yards passing, 94 yards rushing, and three total touchdowns while NU put up more than 500 yards of total offense. Defensively, Nebraska forced seven turnovers (three on downs), had six sacks, and held the Terrapins to just over 200 total yards.

Most importantly, the Huskers improved to 5-6 overall and 3-5 in Big Ten play with the win and also moved one victory away from clinching its first bowl berth since 2016 heading into next week’s regular-season Black Friday finale vs. Iowa.

Nebraska dominated Maryland in every facet on Saturday, keeping its bowl hopes alive with a lopsided road victory.
Nebraska dominated Maryland in every facet on Saturday, keeping its bowl hopes alive with a lopsided road victory. (Associated Press)

Nebraska was forced to punt from its 44-yard line on the opening possession of the game, but the Blackshirts got the ball right back when Carlos Davis forced a fumble on Maryland’s first play from scrimmage, and Marquel Dismuke recovered and returned it to the UM 24.

Dedrick Mills punched it in for the day’s first touchdown two plays later on a six-yard rush to give the Huskers an early 7-0 lead.

After NU’s third series was extended by an unusual “leaping the punt shield” penalty on Maryland, Martinez hit tight end Austin Allen for a 30-yard pass, and then Martinez finished it off with a one-yard rushing score.

The Huskers got the ball back again on the ensuing kickoff, as a pooch kick bounced around long enough for Collin Miller to recover at the Maryland 22. That led to a 29-yard field goal by walk-on kicker Matt Waldoch to make it 17-0 with 3:28 left in the first quarter.

Nebraska ended up outgaining the Terrapins 162-49 in total offense, had 11 first downs to UM’s two, forced two turnovers, and held the ball for nearly 10 minutes of the first quarter.

Things kept on rolling on into the second quarter, as a bad pass from Martinez bounced off the hands of two Maryland defenders and into the grasp of JD Spielman in the end zone for a 25-yard touchdown.

A 28-yard reverse pass from freshman quarterback Luke McCaffrey, who was lined up at receiver, to Spielman got NU in position to add to the lead, but Martinez was picked off in the end zone by Nick Cross to end the threat.

Maryland turned that spark into two big runs from backup quarterback Lance Legendre that moved the ball into Husker territory. But Legendre fumbled after a 16-yard gain – and was injured on the play – and Mohamed Barry recovered at the NU 31.

A 16-yard touchdown pass from Martinez to Spielman pushed the lead up to 31-0 with four minutes remaining in the half. The Blackshirts would then stuff Maryland on a fourth-and-one try from the UM 40, and that set up Waldoch for another 29-yard field goal as time expired to make it 34-0 going into halftime.

Nebraska ended up with 313 yards while giving up just 128 and six first downs and forcing five turnovers in the first half alone.

The 34-point advantage tied for NU’s largest halftime lead in a Big Ten Conference game (34-0 at Minnesota in 2011) and was its biggest halftime lead in a conference game since going up 41-0 at Iowa State on Oct. 6, 2001.

Waldoch added a third 29-yard field goal, and freshman Rahmir Johnson scored his first career touchdown on a one-yard run to extend Nebraska’s lead to 44-0 going into the start of the fourth quarter.

McCaffrey took over for Martinez at quarterback from there, and Harrison Martin – who just joined the team a few weeks ago – knocked in an 18-yard field goal to make it 47-0 with 12:10 left to play.

Nebraska put the finishing touches on the day a few minutes later when McCaffrey ran in a three-yard touchdown with 5:10 to go that gave the game its final score.

Maryland finally got on the scoreboard with a touchdown with 3:13 remaining. That ended NU’s hopes for its first pitched shutout since a 33-0 win over Arizona in the 2009 Holiday Bowl.