Taylor Martinez threw for a career-high 354 yards and matched his high with five touchdown passes to lead Nebraska to a 49-20 victory over Southern Mississippi in the season opener Saturday afternoon in Lincoln.
The Huskers won their nation-leading 27th straight opener.
NU played the last three quarters without Rex Burkhead. The 1,300-yard rusher last season went out with a sprained ligament in his left knee after opening the scoring with a career-long 57-yard run.
Backup Ameer Abdullah ran 15 times for 81 yards and made an acrobatic catch for an 11-yard TD. Southern Miss backup quarterback Anthony Alford carried 15 times for 84 yards in his first college game.
The Golden Eagles, with first-year coach Ellis Johnson, scored their first touchdown on Tracy Lampley's 100-yard kickoff return. They tied it 14-14 on first-time starter Chris Campbell's 24-yard pass to Dominique Sullivan.
Nebraska's go-ahead TD came on Martinez's 9-yard pass to Jake Long.
"I think that Nebraska is a really good team, so I am not trying to take anything away from them," Johnson said. "They probably have a shot to make it a long way in their conference. But I was disappointed. A lot of young guys on our defense showed their youth rather than their talent at times."