No Surprises in Lincoln
November 17, 2012

The Minnesota Gophers were 20-point underdogs for their game at Nebraska, and from the beginning the game followed the script as the Cornhuskers built a first-half lead and cruised to a 38-14 win. The game was the first for the Gophers in Lincoln since Nebraska joined the Big Ten last year. And while the Gophers still have an edge in the series (29-22-2), Minnesota hasnít beaten the Cornhuskers in more than 50 years.

The teams first met in 1900, and Minnesota dominated the matchups for many years, winning all 10 of the games played between 1940 and 1949. The Gophers’ last win came in their last national championship season of 1960. Minnesota remained competitive with Nebraska through most of the 1960s, and the teams remained regulars on each other’s schedules until the mid-1970s though by this time there was little suspense as to the outcome of the games. The Cornhuskers, who won their first national title in 1970, remained a power while the Gophers had headed in the other direction. An 84-13 Nebraska win in 1983 marked the nadir of Minnesota futility. Three more meetings over the next six years produced three more blowouts, and the Gophers avoided the Cornhuskers until they became conference-mates in 2011.

Nebraska won easily in Minnesota last year and werenít challenged in the follow-up match. With a no-huddle offense, the Cornhuskers took little time to get near the Gophers’ goal line though all they came away with was a field goal. Nebraska made it all the way on its next drive as Kenny Bell beat cornerback Michael Carter to haul in a 36-yard touchdown pass from Taylor Martinez. The rout was on.

Imani Cross finished two drives with short runs into the end zone in the second quarter. He nearly got a third touchdown, but Minnesota linebacker Mike Rallis stopped him short of the goal line on the final play of the half. The statistics matched the 24-0 halftime score with Nebraska racking up 306 yards from scrimmage to 60 for the Gophers. Martinez completed 17 of 23 passes for 221 years. Minnesota freshman quarterback Philip Nelson was 6 for 13 for 50 yards, accounting for most of the offense as the Gophers gained only 10 yards on the ground on 11 carries.

The Cornhuskers scored on another long pass from Martinez to Bell and a 48-yard interception runback by Stanley Jean-Baptiste in the third quarter. With Nebraska’s starters on the bench the Gophers, with Max Shortell coming in for Nelson, scored a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

Bell had 9 catches for 136 yards, and Ameer Abdullah led Cornhuskers runners with 89 yards. Martinez finished with 21 completions out of 29 attempts for 308 yards. Nelson completed only two passes in the second half and had two intercepted, although both were on-target passes that were not only dropped but deflected into the arms of Nebraska defenders.

The Cornhuskers played before their 325th sellout at home, a streak going back to November 3, 1962. At halftime Nebraska honored athletic director and former coach Tom Osborne, who is retiring at the end of the year.

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