A sellout crowd of 41,031 packed Bulldog Stadium to watch the now No. 24 ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers (3-0, 0-0 Big Ten) take on the Fresno State Bulldogs (0-3, 0-0 MWC) on Saturday night.
Fresno State lost its third straight game falling to the Cornhuskers 55-19.
Nebraska’s offense got off to a great start. They had a 14-0 lead before three minutes into the first quarter. Quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. threw a 70-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp for one score, running back Ameer Abdullah ran 57 yards for another and the Bulldogs found themselves down big early once more.
That was the theme of the night as the Cornhusker offense had their way with the Fresno State defense. Armstrong Jr. was 12-of-21 for 260 yards and three touchdowns. Nebraska got it done on the ground as well. Running back Ameer Abdullah had 110 yards with one touchdown. Armstrong Jr. had 65 yards on nine carries, as well.
Fresno State got on the scoreboard due to a safety. Quarterback Brian Burrell pooch-punted to Nebraska, who misplayed the ball, it was fumbled out of the back of the end zone for the safety, making the score 14-2 Nebraska.
Nebraska then added a 38-yard field goal, a 22-yard field goal and a special teams touchdown before the half was over. Punt returner De’Morney Pierson-El torched the Bulldogs for 150 yards and a score in the return game. His biggest was an 86-yard punt return in the second quarter that went for a score. A 27-yard field goal by Fresno State gave Nebraska a 27-5 lead to end the first half.
Nebraska opened the second half by scoring another touchdown on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Armstrong to tight end Cethan Carter to end a four-play 75-yard drive and bringing the Cornhuskers lead to 34-5. Nebraska scored three more times on offense while Fresno State scored twice more, making the score 55-19 to end the night.
The Huskers were able to increase the score with a 62-yard run from running back Amani Cross and a 23-yard touchdown pass to tight end Sam Cotton. They also added a garbage-time score on a10-yard pass from back-up quarterback Ryker Fyfe to wide receiver Christian Bailey.
Burrell led the Bulldogs on offense for the whole game this week. Brandon Connette was held out because of an injury he sustained in last week’s loss to Utah. Burrell, who had been sharing time with Connette in the previous two games, played well and went 30-of-59 for 241 yards passing with one touchdown through the air. He also had 59 yards and a touchdown on the ground, as well. After the Huskers went up 14-0, the Bulldogs never got closer than a 12-points.
Fresno State coach Tim DeRuyter said after the game, “Tough football game against an excellent football team, outcoached, outplayed… we’ve got to regroup from here.”
Fresno State takes on Southern Utah next Saturday at Bulldog Stadium.
Kickoff is 7:00PM PST.