APTOPIX Bethune-Cookman Nebraska Football

Bethune-Cookman running back Isaac Washington (34) is tackled by Nebraska linebacker Mohamed Barry, linebacker Caleb Tannor (4) and defensive lineman Ben Stille (95) during the first half of a game Saturday in Lincoln.

LINCOLN — Not an easy job looking for storylines from Nebraska's 45-9 win over FCS opponent Bethune-Cookman in Lincoln on Saturday.

This young Husker team is looking to go places. Playing another game coming off its first win of the season against Minnesota is huge just to build that winning feeling.

Nebraska has won two in a row and, at this point, that's all that matters.

Let's be real — Nebraska hardly broke a sweat but you can feel the confidence building.

NU was dominant, as it should have been.

As rocky as the first six games of 2018 were, dare I say Nebraska has become a dangerous team at 2-6.

Does it mean NU goes on the road to upset Ohio State this week? That's a tall task considering OSU will be coming off a bye week after an embarrassing loss at Purdue.

Still, Nebraska will have the Buckeyes' attention — as they should.

NU is a team that definitely has found its identity.

This is an explosive offense with a whole host of playmakers, including Adrian Martinez, Stanley Morgan, JD Spielman, Devine Ozigbo and Maurice Washington.

The Nebraska defense is improving but still remains a question mark.

Legitimately, NU may have the best offense in the Big 10.

Maybe you could call Bethune-Cookman a tune-up game, but it felt more like a scrimmage.

Near the end of the fourth quarter the stadium was half full and Nebraska was playing reserves across the board.

Bethune-Cookman was severely outmatched and this was more about NU finding a way to keep focus and execute — that's what it's all about in the next four weeks.

Scheduling a game to make up for the Akron lightning storm makes sense, but it would have been more beneficial to face a division one opponent that could press this young team.

By and large Nebraska did what it had to for one half of a football, and set it on cruise control in the second half.

Nebraska's top units played a pretty good first half, building a 38-3 lead.

In the second half, we got our first look at Central Florida transfer quarterback and Wahoo native Noah Vedral, who scored his first Husker touchdown on a running play.

Vedral played the entire second half and showed his athleticism. Maybe the young guy is rusty, but he struggled mightily in the passing game — finishing just two of nine through the air and one interception.

When the top units played, the overall execution was solid.

Nebraska had 364 yards of total offense in the first half, while holding the Wildcats to just 166.

Martinez led Nebraska on five scoring drives in the first two quarters, including two touchdown passes to Morgan.

Martinez had 213 yards through the air and one interception. On the ground, Ozigbo has now established himself as one of the top three backs in the league.

In one half of football, Ozigbo ran for 110 yards on 11 rushes, including a 14-yard touchdown run on Nebraska's first possession.

Nebraska needed that 12th game, but it was difficult striking a balance between finding a good opponent and staying healthy heading to Columbus, Ohio.

Right now, Nebraska is as healthy as any team in the country.

NU was able to take a breather of sorts against a team not stacked with talent.

The college football world will yawn, but Husker fans will remember a workman-like effort and a Nebraska team putting the game away in the first half.

Nebraska did what it had to do and buried the Wildcats early. It wasn't unexpected, but NU was able to give its top units on both sides of the ball some reps and even a little rest at a time in the season where everyone is banged up.

The rest of the road is difficult, but it's conceivable this Nebraska team could reach a bowl.

Purdue dismantled Ohio State 49-20 and I would make the case that Nebraska's offense is better than the Boilermakers'.

The Buckeyes are struggling mightily in the ground game and have turned exclusively to the air to win games. In the loss to Purdue, Ohio State threw the ball more than 70 times.

That's a team facing a mighty struggle finding balance. It's at least a window for this Nebraska team.

It will come down to whether this Nebraska defense is ready for the big time yet — that's an open question.

Crazier things have happened.

NU then hosts Illinois and Michigan State in back-to-back winnable games, before heading to Iowa City to face the Hawkeyes the day after Thanksgiving.

Nebraska isn't where it wants to be, obviously.

Yet the fact we're discussing even remote chances of qualifying for a bowl at this juncture is progress.

NU will be a sizable underdog next week, but it would be unwise for Ohio State to sleep.


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