Nebraska Blows Off Pesky Cyclones 35-17

Marlon Lucky passed and ran for touchdowns and Bo Ruud scored on an interception return for the second straight week, leading Nebraska to a 35-17 victory over Iowa State Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium.

Sam Keller and Thomas Lawson also teamed up for two touchdowns as the Huskers won their conference opener for the 11th time in 12 years. Nebraska is now 4-1 on the season and 1-0 in the Big 12.

A week after being booed for giving up 610 yards in a 41-40 win over 23-point underdog Ball State, the Huskers looked ripe for more catcalls early against the Cyclones (1-4, 0-1).

The Huskers scored 28 straight points to wipe out a 10-0 deficit and won their eighth straight against a Big 12 North opponent.

"We've been taking a lot of heat, but we've taken the mindset that we know what we're capable of and we're trying to get better," said Ruud.

"We just had a couple down weeks. We've got a lot of room to improve. That wasn't even our best football."

The Cyclones ran a school-record 102 plays from scrimmage and held a 20-minute possession advantage, but Nebraska still came away with the win.

The Huskers turned over the ball on their first three possessions and were called for a number of bad penalties while falling behind the three-touchdown underdogs.

Nebraska coach Bill Callahan was satisfied with how the Blackshirts responded to the offense's turnovers. "We put them in a bad position in that first quarter."

But the Cyclones, again, couldn't sustain success. Last week they blew an 11-point lead in the last 5:25 at Toledo. Saturday, they saw a 10-point lead disappear in a 3:26 span late in the first half.

Lucky threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Sean Hill and Lawson caught a six-yard TD pass from Keller to make it 14-10. Lucky scored on a 41-yard run to put the Huskers up 21-10 early in the third quarter.

"One thing I'm proud of is the way we rally around each other," Keller said. "There was a lot of things the defense went through last week, and they carried us this week. They were on the field a lot, out there battling, fighting, making tackles, making picks."

"I'm proud of the way they responded and the way the offense got a rhythm going at the end of the first half."

Ruud broke the game open after the Cyclones moved from their 36 to the Nebraska nine. The senior linebacker intercepted Bret Meyer and, with defensive tackle Shukree Barfield throwing a key downfield block, zigzagged his way down the Iowa State sideline 93 yards to the end zone.

"When you have the opportunity to make that play, you have to make it," Ruud said. "Luckily, I had some blockers down the field."

Last week, Ruud's 34-yard interception return keyed the Huskers' fourth-quarter comeback over Ball State.

Lucky went over 100 yards for the third time in five games, running for 107 yards on 16 carries.

Iowa State's Jason Scales, filling in for the injured J.J. Bass, ran for a career-high 115 yards on 31 carries. Scales, who hadn't played since the opener against Kent State, scored on runs of three and six yards.

Keller was 18-for-28 for 219 yards, with one interception. Meyer, who was intercepted three times, was 26-for-51 for 281 yards.

Nebraska got off to a rough start with Lucky and Cody Glenn fumbling and Keller throwing an interception. A roughing-the-punter penalty and an offsides on another punt kept two Iowa State drives alive.

From all that, the Cyclones netted only three points, on Bret Culberton's 30-yard field goal.

"When the (ISU) defense is playing that good and getting us the ball back, it's disappointing that we didn't do more with it," Meyer said.

Iowa State's first touchdown came after a Nebraska punt to near midfield in the second quarter. Scales scored his first TD to finish a six-play, 48-yard drive that put the Cyclones up 10-0.

"We got up 10-0 and the game was kind of unfolding the way we'd hoped it would," said Cyclones coach Gene Chizik.

"But then the momentum swung there towards halftime. A couple of plays later in the half really turned the game around."

Cortney Grixby's 51-yard kickoff return set up the Huskers at the ISU 47, and the Huskers moved to the 20 before Lucky rolled right after taking a pitch, pulled up and threw to Hill in the end zone.

It was the second time Lucky had thrown a TD pass. He also passed for one against Texas last year.

Keller, operating in the two-minute offense, moved the Huskers 82 yards in 10 plays, with Lawson giving the Huskers the lead with his first touchdown reception late in the first half.

Scales' second touchdown pulled Iowa State to 28-17, but the Cyclones' comeback bid ended when Grixby returned a late interception 41 yards and Keller threw a four-yard touchdown pass to Lawson.

The Cyclones are winless in eight road games since October 2005 and in 15 visits to Lincoln since 1977.

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