Huskers roll Jaguars for first win of Riley era
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[rl]There was no hangover a week after the Mike Riley era opened with a Hail Mary gut punch, as Nebraska picked up Riley's first win as a Husker with an all-around domination of South Alabama, 48-9, on Saturday night.
Junior running back Terrell Newby highlighted the victory with a career performance, rushing 28 times for 198 yards to go along with three total touchdowns. On defense, the Blackshirts forced three turnovers and held the Jaguars to just 19 yards rushing in front of another sellout crowd of 89,822.
Nebraska wasted no time jumping all over South Alabama to open the game, as junior safety Nate Gerry picked off a pass on the Jaguars' first possession to set the tone. The Huskers' offense then responded by marching 75 yards on 10 plays and capping it off with a 13-yard touchdown run by Newby.
After a quick three-and-out by USA, Nebraska punched in another touchdown on its second drive of the night on an eight-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Tommy Armstrong to Newby with 6:05 remaining in the first quarter. Later on in the second, the Huskers pounded out a nine-play 91-yard drive and Newby registered his third score of the game with an eight-yard run that pushed the lead to 21-0.
South Alabama would respond by putting together its most productive drive of the half and moving the ball all the way down to the NU 4. But the Jaguars couldn't capitalize on four straight plays inside the Husker 10-yard line, with an incomplete pass on fourth down giving Nebraska the ball back on downs with just under two minutes to go before halftime.
The Huskers were quickly forced to punt, but USA returner Jalan Thompson muffed the catch and long snapper Jordan Ober jumped on it at the Jaguar 45-yard line with 16 seconds to go. Kicker Drew Brown would then drill a 42-yard field goal as time expired to send the Huskers into halftime with a 24-0 lead.
The big story of the first half was Newby, who took every snap at running back and set a career high with 118 yards on 17 carries with three total touchdowns in the first two quarters alone. Nebraska out-gained South Alabama 277-184 in the first half, and the Blackshirts held USA to just 10 rushing yards on 12 attempts.
Nebraska would add to that score later in the third quarter, as a 32-yard run by Newby set up a nine-yard run by senior running back Imani Cross (which featured a nifty spin move) to make it a commanding 31-0 lead.
South Alabama finally got on the board with a 36-yard field goal by Aleem Sunanon with 6:04 left in the third, but that was after a 56-yard touchdown pass by USA was negated by a costly personal foul penalty. Brown would answer with a 25-yard field goal to make it 34-3 to open the fourth quarter.
The Huskers weren't done there, either, as Armstrong connected with junior wide out Jordan Westerkamp for a 21-yard touchdown pass pass that pushed the lead to 41-3 with just over 10 minutes left to play. The damage would continue when defensive tackle Kevin Maurice created a sack/fumble and NU recovered at the Jaguars' 1-yard line.
Two plays later, backup quarterback Ryker Fyfe found receiver Alonzo Moore in the back of the end zone to go up 48-3. Fyfe would later get picked off at midfield and South Alabama would turn it into their lone touchdown of the game on a 36-yard pass to Josh Magee with 3:36 remaining, but a botched snap on the PAT would leave the score at 48-6.
Nebraska will hit the road for the first time this season next week when it travels to take on Miami for a 2:30 CST kickoff on ABC.
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