Quarterback Adrian Martinez threw for three touchdowns and running back Devine Ozigbo ran for two scores as Nebraska earned its first victory of the season with a 53-28 win over Minnesota in front of the 365th consecutive Memorial Stadium sellout in Lincoln, Neb.
The win marked the first for Nebraska head coach Scott Frost and snapped a skid that had stretched 357 days and 10 straight games dating to Oct. 28, 2017. The Golden Gophers now have lost four straight.
Martinez, a true freshman, came into the game averaging 291.4 yards of total offense per game, second in the Big Ten to Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins. Martinez finished the game 25 of 29 and 276 yards to go along with three scores.
Three Cornhuskers finished with more than 100 yards rushing. Ozigbo ran for 152, Martinez ran for 125 and Maurice Washington ran for 109. Nebraska outgained Minnesota by a margin of 659-474.
The Cornhuskers (1-6, 1-4 Big Ten) took control early against Minnesota (3-4, 0-4).
Nebraska marched down the field taking the opening kickoff 75 yards in seven plays. Ozigbo finished off the drive with a 40-yard scamper for the score.
A holding call on the Gophers’ first possession negated a 37-yard touchdown strike from Zack Annexstad to Bateman Rashod. The Blackshirt defense stiffened and forced a punt.
On the Cornhuskers’ next possession, Ozigbo took a handoff from Martinez and broke through the right side, rumbling 59 yards for his second score of the first quarter.
Momentum started to shift near the end of the first half with Annexstad finding Demetrius Douglas from 13 yards out for the Golden Gophers’ first score. The two-point conversion was good and Minnesota trailed 28-8 at halftime.
But that would be the end of the day for Annexstad, who was held out the rest of the way for an unspecified injury.
Tanner Morgan replaced Annexstad and Minnesota took the kickoff to start the second half 75 yards in a little over a minute with Mohamed Ibrahim plowing in from the 1-yard line to cut the deficit to 28-15.
Seth Green scored from the 4-yard line on the Gophers’ next possession and Gophers trailed 28-22.
Nebraska responded when Martinez and Stanley Morgan hooked up on a 35-yard touchdown and two-point conversion to put Nebraska back up 36-22.
DiCaprio Bootle came up with two plays on defense to stymie the Gophers in the end zone. Bootle perfectly defended Morgan’s fourth-and-goal fade pass to Chris Aultman-Bell, allowing the Cornhuskers to maintain a 36-22 lead.
The Cornhuskers took the ball down the field and Nebraska cashed in with a 32-yard field goal from Barret Pickering.
After Douglas returned the kickoff 87 yards to the Nebraska 13, Bootle came up big again, breaking up a pass at the goal line, which led to an interception by Dedrick Young II.
It took three plays for the Cornhuskers to put the icing on the cake. Martinez found Morgan behind the defense for a 67-yard touchdown and a 46-22 lead.
The Cornhuskers play host to Bethune-Cookman on Saturday in what is a makeup game for having their first game against Akron canceled. The Gophers have a short week and welcome Indiana to Minneapolis on Friday.
—Field Level Media