8:00 PM ET, October 7, 2006
Jack Trice Stadium, Ames, IA
AMES, Iowa (AP) -- No. 22 Nebraska went Old School on Iowa State, using a punishing running game and smothering defense to pick up its first road win of the season.
Nebraska's defense, which was lit up by Kansas for 574 yards last week, looked more like the Blackshirts of old Saturday. The Cornhuskers (5-1, 2-0 Big 12) held the Cyclones to just 53 yards rushing.
"Our defense really rose to the occasion, and I'm proud of our offensive line," Nebraska coach Bill Callahan said. "We wanted to start fast and finish strong, and that's what we did."
Nebraska blew leads of 17-0 and 24-7 against the Jayhawks, needing overtime to survive, 39-32. According to linebacker Corey McKeon, the Blackshirts were "feeling great" after responding to one of the worst defensive performances in Nebraska history.
"Last week we played a half, and then we quit a little bit...This week, we knew had to come out and play four quarters of physical football. That's exactly what we did." McKeon said.
Iowa State (3-3, 0-2) fell to 0-3 against ranked teams and two games back in the Big 12 North standings, with a trip to Oklahoma looming next week.
The Cyclones were expected to compete with Nebraska and Missouri for the division title. But after losing three of its last four, Iowa State's once-promising season is quickly turning sour.
"There is still half the season left, but you're not going to win many Big 12 games scoring 14 points," Iowa State Dan McCarney said.
Facing a Cyclones defense ranked 108th in the nation against the pass, Nebraska found its groove running the ball early -- then stuck with it once it had the lead. The Cornhuskers used the running part of the West Coast offense to build a 21-7 halftime lead.
"Any time you win in the Big 12 North on the road, they're huge wins. They're hard to come by," Nebraska coach Bill Callahan said. "If you can run the ball, and take the crowd out of it, have them sit on their hands, that's what you want to do as an offense."
Glenn's five-yard TD run with 1:33 left pushed Nebraska's lead to 28-7. Todd Blythe caught a 13-yard TD pass with six seconds left to round out the scoring.
Iowa State had chances to cut the lead in the second half, but twice failed to convert fourth downs in Nebraska territory -- and missed a third when it was stopped on a faked field goal try. Quarterback Bret Meyer, who finished 18-of-39 for 262 yards, also threw an interception that sailed 10 yards over his receivers' head.
Zac Taylor, who threw for a Nebraska-record 431 against the Cyclones last year, finished an efficient 17-of-21 for 131 yards. But the one time the Cornhuskers leaned on their senior quarterback, he came through with a crucial score.
Ahead by 14-7 with 1:15 left in the first half, Nebraska got the ball at its own 40 with no timeouts. Led by Taylor, the Cornhuskers marched to the Iowa State 28 with 10 seconds left.
The Cyclones came with a blitz, but Taylor hung in long enough to lob a 28-yard TD strike to Maurice Purify to put the Cornhuskers ahead by 14 at halftime and silence the second-largest crowd in Iowa State history.
Callahan said that they were contemplating settling for the field goal, but decided to take one crack at the end zone.
The risk paid off.
"It really gave us momentum. It was a huge play," Callahan said. "It set the table going into the second half."
Jackson's 1-yard touchdown run gave Nebraska a 14-7 lead. The 68-yard drive looked like a carbon copy of Nebraska's opening possession, as the Cornhuskers marched down the field behind Jackson, Glenn and an offensive line that opened massive holes for both of them.
Meyer tied the game at 7 with a 1-yard plunge.
Nebraska marched 80 yards on its first possession to take a 7-0 lead with Glenn rushing for 49 yards -- including a 36-yarder on third-and-1. He finished it with a 3-yard TD run.
"They really just couldn't stop us," Jackson said. "Our offensive line just kept pounding."
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Nebraska ended the first half with two TD scores to grab the 21-7 lead. The Huskers never relinquished the lead, even though they were held scoreless in the third quarter.
Gameball goes to... Cody Glenn. Nebraska's sophomore running back streaked for 147 yards on 19 carries. Glenn also scored twice -- in the game's first minutes and in the final minutes.
Stat of the game... 250: Nebraska ranks 14th in pass offense, but the Huskers proved they could get the job done on the ground, racking up 250 yards of offense and three rushing touchdowns.