LINCOLN, Neb. — Better late than never.
The offensive outburst promised some 10 months ago with the hiring of native son Scott Frost as head coach finally arrived on Saturday at Nebraska, as the Cornhuskers trounced the Minnesota Golden Gophers 53-28 at Memorial Stadium for the first win in seven games under Frost.
“It’s long overdue,” Frost said.
The last Power 5 team to win this season, Nebraska produced its highest point and yardage totals in a conference game since it joined the Big Ten in 2011. In the process, Frost’s team snapped a school-record losing streak of 10 games that dated to Oct. 28 of last year.
Frost got a Gatorade shower after the victory, directed by true freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez, who completed 25 of 29 passes for 276 yards and three scores. He joined running backs Devine Ozigbo and Maurice Washington in topping 100 yards on the ground, as the Huskers rushed for 383 en route to 659 yards of total offense.
“I’m thankful we’re finally here,” Martinez said, “but we haven’t arrived.”
Defensive coordinator Erik Chinander presented Frost with a game ball in the locker room.
“I’m so proud of this team,” Frost said. “They could have quit a long time ago. They could have shut it down.”
Nebraska found numerous ways to lose in opening 0-6. Most painful, perhaps, was the overtime defeat a week ago at the Northwestern Wildcats. The Huskers held a 10-point lead in the final minutes.
On Saturday at home, they entered as the third favorite since 1991 with a record of 0-5 or worse against a foe with a mark of .500 or better. The previous two such favorites lost, but Nebraska jumped to a 28-0 lead on Minnesota before surrendering 22 straight as backup QB Tanner Morgan — who replaced true freshman Zack Annexstad at halftime — led a pair of third-quarter touchdown drives.
Nebraska got a fourth-and-goal stop on the first play of the fourth quarter and later an interception in the end zone from linebacker Dedrick Young to help ice the win.
“They deserve to be excited,” Frost said, “but there’s going to be a day around here when we’re not celebrating one win.”
Frost said he grew emotional as he exited the field to a huge cheer from the fans, nearly all of whom remained after the NCAA-record 365th consecutive sellout in Lincoln.
“First of many,” Huskers linebacker Luke Gifford said. “[Frost] is going to win a lot of games here.”