(Sports Network) – Garrett Gilbert ran for 71 yards and a pair of scores, as a disciplined Texas team held off the highly ineffective fifth- ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers, 20-13, at Memorial Stadium.
Gilbert carried the ball 11 times and added 62 yards through the air on 4-of- 16 passing for the Longhorns (4-2, 2-1 Big 12), who avoided their first three- game losing streak in 11 years by beating Nebraska (5-1, 1-1) for the sixth straight time.
Despite an ineffective offense, Texas used 94 Nebraska penalty yards and didn’t turn the ball over in the victory, the Longhorns’ ninth straight against the North division. Huskers quarterback and freshman sensation Taylor Martinez, who rushed for 241 yards last week, was pulled after running for just 21 yards on 13 carries and passing for 63 yards on 4-of-12 throws.
Nebraska had been seeking its first 6-0 start since 2001, but was denied in part because of their 10 penalties. Eric Hagg’s school-record 95-yard punt return for a score got the Huskers back in the game late, but Texas recovered an onside kick with three minutes left and ran off the remainder of the clock, aided by a substitution penalty on Nebraska that gave Texas a key first down.
Texas stopped Nebraska on fourth down with seven minutes to play, ahead by 14, and tried to run down much of the clock. The Longhorns managed to chew up 3 1/2 minutes of the remaining time before punting from the Cornhuskers’ 33. Hagg caught the kick around the five and chose to attempt to run it back, which turned out to be a good decision when he avoided several would-be tacklers en route to the end zone and a 20-13 game with 3:02 to play.
The Huskers went for an onside kick, which was easily recovered by Texas at the 42-yard line. Cody Johnson, who led the team with 73 yards rushing on 11 carries, ripped off a 24-yard run two plays later, helping the Longhorns run off the rest of the clock.
Texas got off to a quick start and built a substantial lead at halftime.
Nebraska couldn’t garner a first down on its initial possession, and Texas drove all the way to the Cornhuskers’ 10 before settling on a Justin Tucker 27-yard field goal for the early lead.
On the hosts’ next play from scrimmage, Roy Helu, Jr. fumbled the ball away, giving the Longhorns a 21-yard field. Five plays later, Gilbert took it in himself from three yards away for a 10-point advantage seven minutes into the contest.
The Huskers finally got in the board in the early moments of the second quarter on Alex Henery’s 45-yard field goal, but Gilbert capped a seven-play, 78-yard series with a one-yard run to the end zone to give Texas a 17-3 lead with 8:44 until halftime.
Nebraska’s offense failed to garner any more points before the half, punting on each of its last two possessions. The Huskers were pinned deep in their own territory on their first second-half possession, and the Longhorns took over on the Nebraska 32 following a punt and a personal foul.
A pass interference call on the next play helped set up Tucker’s 28-yard field goal for a 20-3 lead six minutes into the third quarter.
Nebraska’s first two series of the second half didn’t garner a first down, prompting the Cornhuskers to replace Martinez with quarterback Zac Lee. Lee had far more success than Martinez, immediately orchestrating a 16-play, 83- yard drive, but it stalled inside the Texas red zone, ultimately leading to Henery’s 28-yard field goal to cut the deficit to 14 with less than a minute left in the third.
Lee guided the Huskers into Texas territory again in the fourth quarter, but an incompletion on 4th-and-18 from the Longhorns’ 38 gave the ball away with seven minutes to play.
Texas has won its last nine true road games…The Longhorns have won their last four games in Lincoln…Nebraska has lost three straight conference home openers…Texas head coach Mack Brown has never lost three straight games while coaching at the school…The Huskers fell to 22-4 against unranked teams under head coach Bo Pelini…Lee finished with 25 yards rushing on 10 carries and 14 yards passing on 4-of-9 throws…Texas garnered 271 yards of offense, while Nebraska had just 202.