Lincoln, NE - Earlier in the week, Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini said he preferred playing all Division 1-A opponents, but understood games against FCS foes were necessary because of scheduling conflicts.
On Saturday, fans and the media got an understanding why Pelini feels the way he does.
From The Opening kickoff, Nebraska dominated all phases of the game against Idaho State on Saturday afternoon, winning the first quarter 35-0.
The Huskers scored on offense, defense, and special teams, pulling most of their starters by the middle of the second quarter.
Pelini was asked in the postgame what he could learn from watching a game like this?
"Not a lot. I said to the team last night, 'We'll find out how mature we are as a football team.' How were they going to approach the game? Were we going to go out there and do what we're capable of doing, regardless of who the opponent was, and to play the kind of football we're capable of playing?" said the fifth-year head coach. "I thought we did that early on. It's really easy to have a letdown or look ahead, but it's first things first. You have to have respect for the game and how you play it. I thought our guys did that."
Idaho State head coach Mike Kramer didn't have as many nice things to say about his team after the 73-7 loss, but the Bengals got $600,000 for their trouble.
After spraining his MCL in week one, running back Rex Burkhead returned to the field for the Huskers on Saturday, showing he is still a threat despite wearing a knee brace.
The Nebraska coaching staff had a plan to get the senior 10 to 15 – the number actually turned out to be nine.
"I thought he did really well. I thought he looked good. He had a really good week of practice. Rex is a special player. I think he felt really good. He felt comfortable," said Pelini about their plan for his use. "We did that and we pulled the plug, so we got out of it what we wanted to get out of it going into it. He felt really good."
Burkhead rushed eight times for 119 yards and two scores – rushing for an average of 14.9 yards per carry.
"It felt good just to get back out there in a game atmosphere and being out on the field with my teammates and stuff. It was fun just running around, getting more comfortable with the knee," said Burkhead. "You kind of get comfortable in practice and stuff, but it's not the same in the game where you are getting tackled. It felt good and it came out clean.
"The brace is a little restricting, so I can't wait to get it off. Hopefully that's next week, but you just got to deal with it. It is there and it is for a good cause and a good purpose."
A true freshman walk-on starter?
"I think he's grown and got better. I think we are going to need some more help at the position as the season goes on," said Pelini. "There are things he can add to the mix and he's shown he is really capable of doing some good things for us."
Janovich's stat line read: three carries for six yards, with one catch for eight yards.
"It felt really good, I have been waiting for a long time to get out there," said Janovich. "Coach Brown talked to me about it and I said I was fine with it. I was ready for it.
"I was really excited to go. I was ready to get a hat on somebody or get a few carries."
Not many freshmen are asked to make an impact in year one, let alone walk-on freshman – Janovich knows it.
"This summer I worked as hard as I could to prove I could be just good as anyone else," said the freshman.
Who is the No. 2 QB?
Nebraska offensive coordinator Tim Beck wouldn't rule out the possibility Huskers fans could see freshman quarterback Tommy Armstrong later this year, but for now, it appears Ron Kellogg is the Huskers backup quarterback.
"He has a great understanding of the offense. He can really throw the football. He does a really good job in the passing game. He understands where to go with the ball. He's a good decision-maker. We kind of have co-No. 2's between him and Tommy (Armstrong) and the longer the season goes on, the more it clarifies itself and Ronnie's the guy," said Pelini during the Nebraska postgame. "We're glad he was able to get a lot of snaps today, and I have a lot of confidence in what he can do. He's a leader out there, he runs the offense well and he can really manage the team very well."
Kellogg took the majority of the snaps in the second half, throwing 3-for-5 for 19 yards, an interception, and a touchdown. It was the second time this season he saw work behind starter Taylor Martinez.
"I thought it was pretty important, just for a backup stand point. I did a lot of mental reps during the first three games. But to go out there and actually fill out a couple of passes kind of helped my confidence a little bit," said Kellogg. "Coach Beck told me throughout the week to be ready, so I went in with the same mindset, having the mental game aspect down. Being able to go out there and actually perform was something that I've been dreaming about since I could walk, so it was pretty fun."
More to come on Big Red Report Saturday night and Sunday morning.
Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini's postgame presser:
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