The Huskers were sharks amid a sea of red at TCF Bank Stadium and the Gophers were the seemingly helpless victims that sank 41-14.
Playing in front of a homecoming crowd that appeared to contain more red shirts than maroon and gold, Minnesota lost its 15th straight game to the Huskers.
Nebraska played a tough game in the first half and used the second half as practice. After running the ball down Minnesota’s throat for the first 30 minutes, it threw deep fade routes and toyed with the Gophers’ defense in the second half.
The Huskers dominated the Gophers in a business-like fashion as though they were playing a high school team, while chants of “Go Big Red” were shouted from the crowd. Nebraska exposed the Gophers lack of size, speed and playmaking ability all afternoon.
Nebraska’s running attack was led by Rex Burkhead, who ran for 117 yards and a touchdown. He has now scored a touchdown in every game this season. Nebraska ran for 346 yards on the day overall.
Minnesota committed penalties, turnovers and played poorly overall.
Quarterback MarQueis Gray threw for only nine yards in the first half. He completed nine passes for 122 yards overall with zero passing touchdowns and three fumbles. He gained 54 of those yards and completed five of those passes on the final drive against Nebraska’s second team defense.
The highlight of the afternoon for the Gophers was a double reverse flea flicker for a 53-yard completion from Gray to Da’Jon McKnight. That set up Minnesota’s only score, when Gray stumbled into the end zone for a one-yard touchdown run after he recovered his own fumble.
Gray lifted his arms and shimmied after the score and relished one of his few opportunities to celebrate.
Minnesota’s defense played strong to begin the game. It held Nebraska to a field goal on the opening drive -- the first time it has held an opponent from scoring a touchdown on the opening drive since playing North Dakota State.
The Gophers’ defense then held Nebraska to a fourth-and-one on the next drive, but a controversial play, in which Nebraska fumbled the ball forward, rewarded them a first down.
Nebraska’s quarterback Taylor Martinez completed the drive with a touchdown pass.
Next the Huskers ran a reverse to redshirt freshman Kenny Bell to open its third drive for with an 82-yard touchdown and the rout was on. Nebraska had a 17-0 lead and never looked back.
Minnesota showed some life in the second quarter when Kyle Henderson ran down Nebraska’s Brandon Kinnie from behind after a 61-yard gain and tackled him two yards shy of the end zone. The Gopher’s defense then kept Nebraska out of the end zone and forced them to kick a field goal.
The momentum garnered from the defensive stop was almost immediately lost when Gray fumbled inside his own 20-yard line and Nebraska’s Austin Cassidy returned it for a touchdown that made the score 27-0.
The one time the Gophers were able to pass midfield in the first half, they attempted a conversion on fourth-and-two, but a miscommunication caused a fumbled snap and Nebraska took over on downs.
Gray shrugged his shoulders and tossed the ball over his shoulder to the referee. Nebraska then drove down the field methodically for another touchdown that set the 34-0 halftime score.
Minnesota came out aggressive in the second half, getting its only touchdown and its only defensive stops of the game, but Nebraska used a 17-play drive for 91 yards to quickly answer.
Then Nebraska brought in its second team and rested its starters for the remainder of the day.
Nebraska’s Burkhead extended his touchdown streak. He has now scored a touchdown in every game this season. Nebraska ran for 346 yards on the day overall.
The Gopher’s offense was able to score a late touchdown against Nebraska’s second team defense.
The Huskers slowly picked apart Minnesota but the Gophers didn’t do themselves any favors with untimely penalties and mistakes.
Minnesota had five penalties for 55 yards, four fumbles and one fumble lost for a touchdown return.
Nebraska’s 15-game win streak dates back to 1963 and it has outscored the Gophers 145-14 the last three games.
Minnesota has been outscored 144-31 in Big Ten play this year. The Gophers will host Iowa next week at TCF Bank Stadium.