Saturday night marked another epic night in Laramie as the #9 Nebraska Cornhuskers rolled into town for a collision with the young Wyoming Cowboys. The last time the Pokes and Huskers met was 1994, when the Cowboys made the trip to Lincoln to face the #2 Huskers. The Pokes led at halftime, but a furious comeback eventually gave Nebraska the win and they eventually went on to win the national championship that season. After 16 years the Huskers finally made a trip to Laramie.
A sea of red invaded War Memorial Stadium on Saturday night and the Huskers got on the board early as running back Rex Burkhead scampered off on a 45 yard touchdown run to put the Huskers up early 7-0. The Huskers again scored midway through the second quarter as the Huskers drove 80 yards down field and quarterback Taylor Martinez ran into the endzone from 8 yards out to put Nebraska up 14-0. The Cowboys would respond on their next possession when quarterback Brett Smith fired over the middle and hit wide receiver Mazi Ogbonna on a slant and scored from 48 yards out to close the gap 14-7, and that was the score going into halftime.
The third quarter did not start as well for the Cowboys as the Huskers drove down field in a hurry on a short kickoff by the Cowboys and a personal foul on safety Luke Anderson allowed the Huskers to score from 16 yards out on another Burkhead touchdown. Nebraska added a field goal to go up 24-7, and that’s how the third quarter finished. The Cowboys had one scoring opportunity erased with WR Chris McNeill hit a Nebraska defender from behind, away from the play, to draw a 15 yard personal foul and end a threat the Cowboys put together.
The fourth quarter got under way and the Huskers were able to put the game away early in the quarter when Taylor Martinez threw a 8 yard touchdown pass to Kenny Bell to go up 31-7, ending the Cowboys chances for victory. The Cowboys would score once more as Brett Smith hit Robert Herron over the middle for 10 yards and another Cowboy touchdown. The Huskers added one more of their own to go up 38-14, and that’s how the game ended for the Cowboys.
True freshman quarterback Brett Smith showed flashes of great for the Cowboys as he remained poised in the pocket and escaped trouble many times to make plays for the Cowboys. He was playing beyond his age in this game and led the Pokes when he needed to. The Cowboy offense showed that they can move the ball on anyone, even the vaunted Blackshirts. The Cornhuskers flexed their muscles, but dominating both lines of scrimmage, but the Pokes were still able to rush for 137 yards, but the Huskers rushed for 333. Leading the rushing for the Cowboys was Alvester Alexander who ran for 55 yards.
Up next for the Pokes is a much needed week off. They will go into the bye week at 3-1, and will head on the road to face a surprisingly good Utah State team who took Auburn to the final tick, and lost most recently to Colorado State in overtime. The Pokes will need to win this game if they want a shot at the post season. Not a must win game, but would certainly go a long ways into helping their quest for the post season.