Taylor Martinez threw for a career-high 354 yards and matched his high with five touchdown passes to lead No. 17 Nebraska to a 49-20 victory over Southern Mississippi on Saturday. The Huskers won their nation-leading 27th straight opener. Nebraska played the last three quarters without Rex Burkhead. The 1,300-yard rusher last season went out with a sprained ligament in his left knee after opening the scoring with a career-long 57-yard run. Backup Ameer Abdullah ran 15 times for 81 yards and made an acrobatic catch for an 11-yard TD.
Damon Bullock ran for 150 yards and scored on a late 23-yard touchdown run to lead Iowa to an 18-17 victory over Northern Illinois in the season opener on Saturday. The Hawkeyes simply got all they could handle from the reigning Mid-American Conference champions but came out on top after trailing most of the way. They were down 17-12 when Bullock ran untouched around the left end to put them ahead by one. That happened after Iowa downed a punt at the NIU 1, pinning the Huskies against the goal line.
Robert Marve passed for a career-high 295 yards and matched a career best with three touchdowns to help Purdue defeat Eastern Kentucky 48-6 on Saturday in both teams’ season opener. Marve started because previously declared starter Caleb TerBush was suspended one game for violating team rules. He hadn’t thrown three touchdowns since 2008, when he was the starter at Miami. Akeem Shavers ran for 74 yards and O.J. Ross caught eight passes for 71 yards. Purdue gained 542 yards against coach Danny Hope’s alma mater, where he was the head coach from 2003 to 2007.
Montee Ball rushed for 120 yards and a touchdown, and No. 12 Wisconsin needed a big defensive play to survive a fourth-quarter scare from Northern Iowa in a 26-21 victory Saturday. Wisconsin’s defense didn’t allow Northern Iowa on its side of the 50-yard line until the 4:27 mark in the third quarter – but then the Badgers nearly melted down. Leading 26-7 in the fourth quarter, Wisconsin allowed Northern Iowa quarterback Sawyer Kollmorgen to throw a pair of long touchdowns to David Johnson, cutting the lead to five.
Nebraska is set to cruise control as it leads by a score of 42-17 at the end of the third quarter. The Huskers held Southern Miss to 15 yards through the air during the quarter. Nebraska, which is currently on a 21-point run, opened up the lead, 35-17, after Taylor Martinez and Kyler Reed combined for an 18-yard touchdown to end a seven-play, 77-yard drive.
Purdue held Eastern Kentucky to 28 total yards during the third quarter and the Boilermakers continue to hold a commanding 41-6 lead. Purdue sniffed out the Colonels’ rushing attack in the quarter, holding Eastern Kentucky to 17 rush yards. The Boilermakers expanded their lead to 41-6 thanks to an eight-play, 88-yard drive that ended when Robert Marve and Gabe Holmes hooked up for an eight-yard touchdown.