Lincoln. Neb. Kansas University didn't win a game Saturday night at Nebraska's Memorial Stadium, but the Jayhawks did win some respect.
"I think some people might not have thought too much of Kansas, but they proved tonight that they are a good football team," Nebraska I-back Cody Glenn said.
Nebraska's 17-0 first-quarter lead even took the Cornhuskers by surprise, one week after a 56-0 victory over Troy.
"I couldn't believe how it was happening, with all the big plays," Glenn said. "It was like we were continuing last week's game."
And it was as if KU were resuming last season's game at Texas.
Fullback Dane Todd wasn't ready to say the Cornhuskers (4-1) were lulled into thinking they had the game won after building the big early lead.
"I don't think that we became complacent," Todd said. "We did a couple of things wrong. We made a couple of mistakes. We had some big turnovers, which is uncharacteristic, and Kansas did a great job of capitalizing. They played all four quarters really well, but we were just able to pull it off."
KU's offense awakened in remarkable fashion, but the Jayhawks' defense never was able to slow the big-play tendencies of the Cornhuskers.
Nebraska finished with 511 total yards, and 228 of them came on three touchdown receptions. Zac Taylor threw a 75-yard scoring strike to Terrence Nunn and touchdown passes of 78 and 75 yards to Frantz Hardy.
The Cornhuskers, whose shaky defensive performance called into question their standing as the favorite to win the Big 12 North, will go a long way toward determining their title chances in the next three weeks.
Nebraska plays its next two games on the road, traveling to Ames for a game against Iowa State next week and then visiting Manhattan to play Kansas State. Then the Huskers play host to Texas on Oct. 21.
"They had big plays, and we didn't communicate," Nebraska safety Andrew Shanle (two interceptions) said of Saturday's game. "They took advantage of our mistakes, but we'll get better from this experience."
Taylor (15-for-33, no interceptions, four touchdowns) didn't give himself high grades for his performance.
"It wasn't my best game," he said. "I missed some throws I shouldn't have. : They are a smart team. They find ways to hit you. I thought the protection was great, though."
The protection of opposing KU quarterbacks usually is praised afterward, which is a contributing factor in the big plays the secondary allows.