LINCOLN — Nebraska I-back Imani Cross joined an elite club in Saturday's win over Idaho State.
The freshman from Gainesville, Ga., carried the ball 12 times for 100 yards. Cross also scored Nebraska's final touchdown of the 73-7 win on a 20-yard run.
“It was good to know that I was able to do that today,” Cross said. “But I feel like more than the stat, I just want to get better every week. I think there was improvement from last week to this week, but there are still things I need to work on.”
It was the first triple-digit game of Cross' career, and he was happy to share the credit for his success with his teammates.
“Everybody on the offensive line did a wonderful job,” Cross said. “That's the reason I was able to get in the end zone. That was the reason my holes were there, and we took advantage of the opportunities the offensive line gave us. I really appreciate those guys.”
Cross also was excited to have a healthy Rex Burkhead back leading Nebraska's stable of I-backs. The Plano, Texas, senior had 119 yards on eight carries and scored two touchdowns in his first game back since being injured in the Sept. 1 opener against Southern Mississippi.
“Oh, it was great,” Cross said. “Rex is a great leader, Rex is a great guy and we appreciate him a whole lot. He's my role model, and I look up to him every week and take notes from him and try to take things from his game and implement them into mine and make sure I'm improving as well.”
Gretna's Janovich not only takes field, but he earns start
Freshman fullback Andy Janovich had a bonus surprise in his first game as a Husker.
Not only did the Gretna graduate shed his redshirt Saturday, Janovich also earned his first start.
And he had only about 20 seconds to think about it.
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“Coach (Ron) Brown told me Wednesday that I was going to play,” Janovich said. “I didn't even think I was going to start today. I thought Mike Marrow was going to start, but if it was a pass play I was going on.”
Janovich ran a route on that opening play, but the ball didn't come his way as quarterback Taylor Martinez instead kept the ball and rushed over left end for an 11-yard gain.
Late in the first quarter, with the Huskers already up 35-0, Janovich caught a first-down pass from Ron Kellogg III for an 8-yard gain. He also had three carries for 6 yards.
“Ever since I was a little kid I've wanted to do this,” Janovich said. “Now I'm getting my chance.”
Huskers know they need to cut down on penalties
One category where the Huskers had big numbers Saturday was an area where smaller numbers are preferred — penalties and penalty yards.
Nebraska racked up nine penalties totaling 104 yards, numbers that easily exceeded the previous season highs of seven flags for 60 yards against UCLA.
Three of Saturday's penalties were pass interference calls against the Huskers. That's something NU defensive backs coach Terry Joseph said will be addressed this week.
“I thought for the most part we were in position,” Joseph said. “Obviously we have to clean up the pass interference. For the most part, you want to get through a game like that and play clean. Looking at it from the press box, guys were in position.”
Rome's return probably will be against Wisconsin
One player who is working his way back into the rotation at his position is defensive tackle Chase Rome.
The sophomore from Columbia, Mo., temporarily left the team Sept. 12 after starting the Huskers' first two games. Rome didn't play in Saturday's 73-7 win over Idaho State, a game in which 33 NU defenders made the stat sheet.
Nebraska defensive line coach Rick Kaczenski said he used the players who were around for all of the preparations for ISU. He said Rome wasn't back until Tuesday.
When asked if Rome could have played, Kaczenski said that question would be best answered by head coach Bo Pelini.
“You probably have to ask Coach with that,” Kaczenski said. “We just wanted to get the guys who had prepared for the Idaho State week. That's probably an executive question.”
As the Huskers prepare for their Big Ten opener next weekend against Wisconsin, Kaczenski expects Rome to work his way back onto the field.
“We're working with all those guys with the defenses we're calling,” Kaczenski said. “We're going to get all those guys in. He's going to be back up, working with us and with the first two groups. He's back with us, he's part of us and we're expecting him to get right back in the midst of things.”
Kreikemeier sees time against Idaho State
After battling injuries and seeing other players move ahead of him on the depth chart the past few seasons, linebacker Micah Kreikemeier returned to the field in NU's win over Idaho State.
The senior from West Point Central Catholic, the first recruit to commit after Bo Pelini was hired to replace Bill Callahan in 2007, said he was happy to get some playing time.
“It was like the old days,” Kreikemeier said. “We got to cheer each other on, get rewarded and play in games like that. It was pretty cool.”
Kreikemeier was credited with an assisted tackle on the kickoff following Nebraska's ninth touchdown, a 27-yard run by Braylon Heard.
Heard takes advantage of chance, rushes for 74 yards
Heard's touchdown run was the biggest for the sophomore from Youngstown, Ohio, on a busy day. Heard, who also is listed as a defensive back, carried the ball seven times for 74 yards.
Not one to concern himself with his number of carries, Heard said he's happy just to get the chance to help the Huskers whenever he can.
“I never complain,” Heard said. “When I get out there, I just take advantage of the reps I get. It's always fun getting in there.”
Stanton confirms he suffered ACL tear on Friday
Nebraska quarterback recruit Johnny Stanton confirmed via text to the World-Herald Saturday that he tore his ACL in his high school game Friday night. He'll miss the rest of his season. Santa Margarita (Calif.) Catholic — the No. 2 team in the country according to USA Today — won the game 35-27. Stanton is scheduled to make his official visit to NU next weekend for the Wisconsin game.