Both sides traded three-and-outs to open play, before Nebraska's special teams posted the first big play of the game. Josh Bullocks came through and blocked Iowa State punter Tony Yelk's attempt. The Huskers then capped off a seven-play touchdown drive on a one-yard plunge by Jammal Lord on 4th-and-goal at the one. NU took a 7-0 lead at the 6:04 mark of the first quarter.
Although they would get gains of 11 and 13 yards on the opening plays of two possessions, the Cyclones could not get going offensively. ISU faced 3rd-and-10 on its opening three drives, and failed to convert on all three.
Despite a penalty that put them at their own 21-yard line, the Huskers needed just three plays to go up 14-0. Isaiah Fluellen carried on first down for nine yards, then after a 31-yard gainer for Lord, scampered 39 more into the end zone on a reverse with 2:53 remaining.
Another special teams mishap put the Cyclones down three touchdowns. Demorrio Williams blocked a Yelk punt on 4th-and-5, then Bullocks picked it up and ran into the end zone for a 21-0 lead with 51 seconds remaining in the quarter.
More costly mistakes from ISU gave NU prime field position for another touchdown drive. Austin Flynn was sacked and fumbled into the hands of Bernard Thomas at the Cyclone 21-yard line. Three plays later, Josh Davis trotted in from a yard out, making it 28-0 with 8:46 remaining in the quarter.
Flynn and Lance Young helped the ISU offense finally reach Husker territory late in the half. The two hooked up for gains of eight and 13 yards, with each play giving the Clones a fresh set of downs.
The Huskers opened the half with an eight-play drive into Cyclone territory. Reserve quarterback Joe Dailey carried five consecutive times for 20 yards, but NU's drive would stall out at the ISU 34 when Ross Pilkington was stopped one yard short on 4th-and-2.
ISU's ensuing possession ended on a T.J. Hollowell interception, which he returned to the Cyclones' 42-yard line. But Jason Berryman returned the favor when he picked off Dailey and returned the ball back to the ISU 41. The inept Cyclone offense could not capitalize on the opportunity, though. Flynn did manage a 17-yard completion to James Wright on 3rd-and-10. Nebraska ended those hopes by sacking Flynn for four yards and batting down a pass, which would eventually bring out Yelk on 4th-and-14.
The Husker offense went scoreless through the third session and had not scored since the 8:46 point of the second quarter.
A false start penalty on 4th-and-1 helped to lengthen Nebraska's scoreless streak early in the final session. ISU put together its longest drive of the game, a 10-play effort that only amounted to 31 yards. The possession ended when Flynn's fourth-down pass to the sideline was nearly picked off at midfield.
NU looked poised to end its offensive drought on the following drive, which took over on downs at the 50-yard line. Fluellen's 20-yard run put the Huskers just outside the red zone. Back-to-back rushes for 13 yards followed, but then Berryman ended it all by recovering a fumble at the ISU 10.