LOS ANGELES — The Zac Taylor express came to at least a temporary stop Saturday night at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
The Nebraska senior quarterback had been red hot in opening the season with victories over Louisiana Tech and Nicholls State, but completed 8 of 16 passes for 115 yards in NU's 28-10 loss to Southern California.
"Zac's performance was very solid," Nebraska coach Bill Callahan said. "I thought he made some good decisions. There was one throw early on. Other than that he pretty much had a solid day. He'll learn from this performance as well."
Callahan said the Huskers didn't feature the passing game as much Saturday night because the game plan was to try and pound the ball against the Trojans.
"We wanted to come in here, run the football and establish our running game," Callahan said. "There were some opportunities that we did throw the football. We'll improve in terms of throwing the football and doing what we want to do."
Taylor wasn't too impressed with his own performance against the No. 2 and 4 rated Trojans.
"It wasn't very good," Taylor said. "I never thought I got myself into a rhythm."
The only time Taylor seemed to find that rhythm was late in the third quarter. Taylor connected with Terrance Nunn on a 21-yard play down to the USC 36, then hit Matt Herian inside the five.
"We hit Herian deep," Taylor said. "There were some other stuff we did, but we were successful running the ball and we just stuck with it."
The pass to Herian eventually led to a fourth-down 1-yard TD run by Taylor on a naked bootleg early in the fourth quarter to pull the Huskers to within 21-10.
Taylor said the Huskers felt like they had a chance at that point but didn't get the job done.
"They're a good second half team. We knew that," Taylor said. "But we're a pretty good team in the fourth quarter. We showed that last year. We felt comfortable if we just hung around we could make a game out of it. We just didn't take advantage of our opportunities."
Taylor was sharp in Nebraska's first two games, a 49-10 win over Louisiana Tech and a 56-7 victory over Nicholls State. In those two games, he completed 72.6 percent of his passes (41 of 56) with seven touchdowns and just one interception.
Taylor stood seventh in the country in pass efficiency rating at 184.24 through two games. His passing efficiency of 213.77 against Nicholls State was the eighth-best in school history.
He also threw a career-high four touchdowns against the Colonels and completed 12 straight passes at one point during the game.
Taylor completed 11 straight passes in the opener against Louisiana Tech while throwing for 287 yards, his third-highest total of his career. He added 202 more yards against Nicholls State for his eighth career game over 200 yards.
With 489 yards passing in the first two games Taylor now had 3,142 career passing yards to rank seventh on NU's all-time career list. If he is able to duplicate his 2005 passing total (2,653 yards) he would break the school record for career passing yards of 5,035 set by Dave Humm from 1972 to 1974.
Taylor posted the top two single-game passing totals in school history last year with 431 yards against Iowa State and 392 vs. Colorado. He set school records last season for most pass attempts (55) and completions (36) in a game against Iowa State, and most pass attempts (430) and completions (237) in a season.
Taylor was just one off the school record for touchdowns in a season with 19 a year ago. He needs just 60 more yards to move into fifth in all-time passing yards at Nebraska.