LAWRENCE, Kan. — Two quarters were all Nebraska I-back Cory Ross needed to put in a game's worth of work on Saturday.
Ross came off the bench to rush 19 times for a career-best 108 yards during Nebraska's 24-3 win against Kansas. His production — plus a rare touchdown by fullback Steve Kriewald — enabled the Huskers to pull away from the Jayhawks, who were determined to pull off an upset.
"I knew what I can do with the opportunities I got. I thank God for that," Ross said. "There was some creases I just ended up hitting. It felt good to get out there."
With Nebraska clinging to a touchdown lead at halftime, Ross entered the game in place of Josh Davis and David Horne. He carried nine times for 66 yards on the Huskers second and third drives of the second half while displaying quickness and good balance.
"I thought Cory Ross did an excellent job coming in as a running back for us," said Nebraska coach Frank Solich. "He looked very strong and very quick in the second half."
Davis and Horne combined to rush for 58 yards on 12 carries in the first half. Bringing Ross in was a plan that was predetermined by Solich.
"You have to prepare for anything," Ross said. "When you go out there you have to make the most of your opportunities and do what you can. I felt like I did."
Ross' long run was 11 yards. His dive to the end zone set up a 4-yard touchdown run by fullback Judd Davies that increased Nebraska's lead to 17-3 late in the third quarter.
Ross' performances sparked chants of "Cory, Cory" from Nebraska fans who congratulated the sophomore from Denver following the win.
"Cory Ross had a great game," Kriewald said. "He was really the spark that got us going there in the second half.
"He came out and really played to his potential. He showed what he can do and had a great game."
Ross was slowed by a thigh bruise last week. The player with the Barry Sanders-like build showed no signs of the injury while starring on the same field that his older brother played on. Roger Ross was a receiver at Kansas from 2000-01.
"It takes 11 players on that offense to get things rolling," Ross said. "They were blocking very well. When I saw the creases I just hit them. When I picked up yards it felt good."
Kriewald increased Nebraska's lead to 10-0 when he scored on a 1-yard run with 12 minutes, 54 seconds left in the first half. The touchdown was the first for the North Loup-Scotia graduate since he crossed the goalline on a 24-yard run against Colorado on Nov. 23, 2001.
"It's been a while," the junior said. "My freshman year was the last time I scored a touchdown."
Kriewald almost scored again in the third quarter. He wound up fumbling the football after colliding with Kansas safety Tony Stubbs as the two players met near the Jayhawks end zone. Stubbs recovered the fumble for a touchback.
"I knew I hit the guy on the goal line. He stuck me right in the gut,” Kriewald said. "I didn't really feel it, but it wasn't good.”
Kriewald took time to sign autographs after finishing with 27 rushing yards on a career-high six carries.
"It was great," Kriewald said. "There was good protection up front. The guys made it really easy up there. It was nice."
Kriewald and Davies combined to score all three of Nebraska's touchdowns. Their production mirrored that of the running backs, who proved that they were also all capable of contributing.
Nebraska finished with 290 rushing yards on 53 attempts.
"All our backs are good," said Nebraska quarterback Jammal Lord. "No matter who is in the backfield the coach expects them to get the job done and so do I."