LINCOLN — Nicholls State received a check for $350,000 and a 56-7 drubbing for coming to Memorial Stadium and playing Nebraska.

And while the game could be looked at as a downer for the Colonels — especially losing quarterback Vince Montgomery in the first series — coach Jay Thomas looked at the bright side.

"Earlier in the week I wanted to thank Nebraska for giving us the opportunity to come and play and to help our program," he said. "And that's what this does. It's been great for our fans to come and be a part of this atmosphere.

"It's been good for our players to come and have the opportunity to play here. Now they've got something when they go on they can tell their kids they played here. And they can tell their grandkids they played here."

Things got off to a rough start for Nicholls State, which plays at Nebraska's season opening opponent Louisiana Tech next week.

The NCAA Div. I-AA Colonels lost Montgomery on a double whammy of a play 2 minutes, 31 seconds into the game.

A bad snap gave the ball to the Huskers and left Montgomery on the ground with an apparent leg injury.

"It seemed like we had something going there and then when he went down it was a big swing," Thomas said. "Certainly we hate that Vince got hurt but it was good to get Chris (Bunch) out (there). We got him a ton of work today. He was going to play anyway. We were going to split them 50-50 and he just ended up playing a lot more than we expected."

The loss of Montgomery wasn't what the overmatched Colonels needed.

"It affected us a lot," defensive back Toney Edison said. "That's the guy that usually makes all the play calling. That's the one that the team's comfortable with, but Bunch…is a good quarterback as well. But it had us down a little bit."

Bunch finished 0 of 3 passing and rushed 11 times for 13 yards.

"I prepare myself to get ready for something like this, the starting quarterback going down," Bunch said. "I practice all week so that if something goes wrong, I have to go in and take over the offense, so that's what I tried to do today.

"I tried to keep them in the game, let them know that Vince was down but that I was trying to come up and back him up — just keep the offense going."

But it isn't easy being thrown into a game in front of 84,076 mostly hostile fans.

"First time (in), it was nice, it was nervous," Bunch said. "But after a few plays I got the nervousness out of me and I just started focusing on what I had to do."

But Nicholls State couldn't get things going offensively and found it just as tough to stop the Nebraska offense.

"They're fast," Bunch said. "That's all you can say. They're fast. Our line did the best job they can do, but they were just too fast and big."