Huskers dominate Wildcats in all phases in 56-7 victory
After three and a half years of gut-punch losses and disappointing performance, Nebraska exercised some demons against Northwestern on Saturday night.
Everything went the Huskers’ way - on offense, defense, and special teams - en route to a 56-7 destruction of the Wildcats.
Quarterback Adrian Martinez had four touchdowns to lead NU’s offense to more than 664 total yards and 434 rushing to score their most points in a game of the Scott Frost era.
Defensively, the Blackshirts held Northwestern to 275 yards (just 34 rushing), recovered a fumble, and racked up four sacks and seven tackles for loss.
In the end, it improved Nebraska to 3-3 overall and 1-2 in Big Ten play and provided some desperately needed confidence to kick off a crucial month of October.
The night could not have started any better for Nebraska, as its first offensive play from scrimmage was a 70-yard pass to Samori Toure down to the Northwestern five-yard line. That marked the second-longest play the Wildcats had allowed all season.
Martinez jogged untouched into the end zone two snaps later to give NU a 7-0 lead after just 50 seconds of play.
After a quick three-and-out by the Blackshirts, the Huskers struck big again with a 64-yard run by Jaquez Yant that moved the ball to the Northwestern four. That was the longest rush by a Nebraska running back on the year.
Martinez finished the job again with a one-yard touchdown run to push the lead to 14-0 with 9:19 to play in the first quarter.
Another quick Wildcat punt set NU up for an 11-play scoring drive capped by a 24-yard rushing touchdown by Martinez that made it 21-0 with 4:14 still remaining in the opening quarter.
Just when it looked like Nebraska was about to slam the door, Northwestern finally answered with back-to-back passes long passes from Ryan Hilinski to Stephon Robinson, the first a 32-yarder and then a 28-yard touchdown.
When the first quarter finally came to a close, the Huskers led 21-7 and had out-gained the Wildcats 246-100 in total offense, including 147-0 on the ground.
That momentum shift didn’t last long, as Nebraska answered with a methodical 10-play, 75-yard drive punctuated by a 5-yard touchdown run by Rahmir Johnson with 12:37 left in the second quarter.
Northwestern fired back with a 43-yard pass to Malik Washington to quickly get down to the NU 19. But after setting up a first-and-goal from the one-yard line, JoJo Domann blew up a handoff in the backfield, and Deontre Thomas jumped on a fumble at the 10.
The Huskers’ touchdown streak finally came to an end on their fourth series with a turnover on downs, but the defense got the ball right back by stuffing Northwestern on a fourth down at the Wildcat 43 on the ensuing possession.
Johnson barreled his way into the end zone for his second rushing touchdown from nine yards out with 42 seconds left to send Nebraska into halftime with a commanding 35-7 lead.
Nebraska ended up with an incredible 405 yards of total offense in the first half. The 35 points were the most NU had scored in a first half since its 38 against Illinois in 2018.
The train didn’t slow down at all going into the third quarter, and Zavier Betts took the Huskers' first offensive play of the second half for an 83-yard touchdown scamper around the left end to push the lead to 42-7.
On NU’s next series, Martinez hit Toure for a 38-yard scoring strike to make it 49-7. Martinez’s fourth total touchdown tied his career-high.
Backup quarterback Logan Smothers and the rest of the offensive reserves took over from there. The Huskers eventually added to their lead with a four-yard touchdown run by Sevion Morrison to give the game its final score.
Yant rushed 13 times for a game-high 127 yards, while Rahmir Johnson had 74 yards and two scores on 12 carries. Defensively, JoJo Domann had 10 tackles, two sacks, three tackles for loss, and two forced fumbles.
Next week, Nebraska will return to action when it plays host to Michigan for a 6:30 p.m. CT kickoff on ABC.