Nebraska-New Mexico State: 330 Is Magic Number for Huskers

SportMonkAnalyst ISeptember 16, 2008

The Husker offense combined for 330 rushing yards in Saturday's game against New Mexico State—surprising, since that number is 93 yards more than Nebraska's totals from the first two games this season COMBINED.

It's not because Nebraska rushed 300 extra times this game to notch that total—Nebraska's 7.5 yards per carry against New Mexico State was also almost as much as the first couple games combined.

This begs the question: Is Nebraska's rushing attack back?

Senior RB Marlon Lucky led the Huskers with 103 yards on 15 carries and two TDs, adding some spice by also throwing his third career touchdown pass to senior quarterback Joe Ganz on a familiar favorite trick play.

Sophomore Quentin Castille had 75 yards on 10 carries, and Ganz had 69 yards on just five carries. Freshman Marcus Mendoza and sophomore Roy Helu Jr. combined for 64 yards to round out the spectacular day for the Huskers.

The Huskers started the game sluggishly, not getting anything done on offense until the first score with seconds left in the first quarter. But the next touchdown, thrown by Lucky to Ganz, broke open the game for the Huskers.

The play was the same one that helped Eric Crouch and Nebraska seal a victory over Oklahoma in 2001 at Memorial Stadium, probably my all-time favorite Husker moment.

The New Mexico State Aggies were able to move the ball with ease for the first part of the game against Nebraska's defense, but the Huskers held strong when it counted in the red zone. In fact, the only Aggie score came on a Nebraska second-team fumble that was returned to near the five.

In my opinion, the Huskers defense held strong, aided by Aggie turnovers in the red zone to prevent scores.

My player of the game? It should be obvious: Joe Ganz. He was 13 of 17 for 158 yards and a passing touchdown, had 69 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown, and was on the receiving end of Lucky's pass for another touchdown.

Ganz became only the third Husker player to score all three ways in one game, joining Heisman winners Johnny Rodgers (1973 against Notre Dame) and Eric Crouch (1999 against California).

I just wish Ganz could have tossed a TD to Lucky so the number of players accomplishing this feat could have doubled in just one game. But Ganz had a great day and was certainly the game MVP.

Going into a bye week and looking forward to Virginia Tech the following weekend, Bo & Co. have some tape to go over with the Huskers, successes to build on, and problems to fix.

Anyone can tell that the Pelini Era has already been a tremendous change from the previous regime. I look forward to seeing what Bo & Co. will accomplish the rest of the season.