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Not Even a Storm Can Stop Nebraska : Cornhuskers: Reserves spark a 59-28 rout of Utah State in a game delayed 19 minutes by lightning.

From Associated Press

A pair of reserves sparked 14th-ranked Nebraska’s offense to a record 44 first downs and a near-record 800 yards in a 59-28 rout of Utah State.

Running back Derek Brown, a sophomore from Anaheim, ran for 175 yards in 23 carries after starter Scott Baldwin was injured on a 29-yard scoring run less than five minutes into the game. And quarterback Keithen McCant, a fifth-year senior, came off the bench in the second quarter to replace starter Mickey Joseph, accounting for two touchdowns as the Cornhuskers ran for 630 yards and passed for 170.

“I thought coming in we’d be able to move the ball offensively,” Utah State Coach Chuck Shelton said. “We just didn’t stop them. That’s about as good of offensive execution as you’ll see in a first game. They’ve got a Big Eight offense.”

Both totals were the second-best in school history, topped only by the 677 yards rushing and 883 overall against New Mexico State in 1982, when Nebraska also set the previous national record of 43 first downs.

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The season opener for Nebraska was delayed 19 minutes in the second half when a severe storm with lightning swept through the Lincoln area. Officials ordered the players off the field with 2:10 remaining in the third quarter and Nebraska leading, 40-20. The 176th consecutive sellout crowd of 76,115 scattered as well.

“Keithen did a nice job out there today, especially since he’s never played before when the game was in doubt,” Nebraska Coach Tom Osborne said. “He handled it well.”

McCant came in for Joseph at the start of the second quarter to complete six of 10 passes for 101 yards and one touchdown and run for 87 yards and another touchdown.

Utah State quarterback Ron Lopez completed 23 of 41 passes for 373 and three touchdowns, with two interceptions.

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