It was Bill Snyder's 71st birthday. The last game against Nebraska as a member of the Big 12 conference was supposed to be a lot closer than this.
That was before Nebraska unveiled another episode of the Taylor Martinez show. Martinez had been impressive earlier in the season, touching off explosive runs in a 56-21 demolition of the Washington Huskies, but had a lackluster performance against lowly South Dakota State.
It left fans wondering what they'd get from the Husker offense heading into the Big 12 finale in Manhattan, Kansas. They weren't left wondering for long as Martinez scored on Nebraska's first possession in the first quarter.
His first run of 14 yards looked like a warm up to what would come next. Martinez exploded for three more touchdown runs of 35, 41 and 80 yards, finishing with 241 yards rushing. He set Nebraska's single game record for rushing by a quarterback, the yardage total good enough for the eighth best rushing total in school history.
Martinez threw just seven passes, completing five, for 128 yards, including a 79-yard touchdown pass to Kyler Reed in which Reed had burned the Wildcat secondary so badly he had to wait for the ball, yet still outran the defenders to the end zone.
Nebraska's Roy Helu Jr had eight carries for 110 yards, including a 68-yard touchdown run that came on the possession after Martinez' 80-yard run. The Huskers ground attack totaled 451 yards on the night on 41 carries, averaging 11 yards per carry.
On the other side of the ball, the Blackshirt defense held Kansas State to 180 yards rushing, with Daniel Thomas being limited to 63 yards on 22 carries for a 2.9 yard per carry average. The performance answered the question of Nebraska's ability to stop the run after allowing two 100-yard rushers in the first four games of the season.
Lavonte David and Dejon Gomes provided excellent performances, finishing with 16 and 12 tackles, respectively. David was all over the field. It was as if the Wildcats looked where he was and ran right at him, then purposefully threw the ball to receivers he was covering. David's performance was even more incredible given that he had joined the team as a JUCO transfer in the fall and was not expected to start until Nebraska lost two projected starting linebackers (Will Compton, Sean Fisher) to injuries.
Kansas State's only touchdown came late in the fourth quarter when Carson Coffman hit receiver Chris Harper as the Wildcats went for it on fourth down. On the previous play, Kansas State's Brodrick Smith was injured and left the game fitted with a leg cast.
Nebraska's Alex Henery added two field goals, including a 40-yarder, to complete the scoring.
After weathering through a 2009 season in which Nebraska's offense couldn't get out of it's own way most of the time, the Huskers may have built one of the best offenses in the nation to match their already stellar defense. The performance against Kansas State has to leave Husker fans and the rest of the Big 12 wondering just how good this team might be.
Nebraska's next task is to beat Texas on October 16th. Nebraska hasn't beaten Texas at home since 1931, and currently has a six-game losing streak against the Longhorns.