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What's the rush?

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LINCOLN — Nebraska's offensive line hopes this is the start of something big.

Finally, Nebraska produced Nebraska-like rushing numbers. The Huskers racked up 288 yards — 47 more than they averaged in their first two victories this season — during a 44-13 victory over Utah State Saturday night at Memorial Stadium.

"Tonight was huge for the offensive line," Nebraska senior center John Garrison said. "It was the big night we needed. We put points on the board. It gives us a swagger that we're back."

This is a good time for Nebraska's confidence to be running high. The tune-ups are over for the No. 9 and 8 Huskers (3-0). A primetime showdown at Penn State looms Saturday night.

"We're just going to keep coming and coming," Nebraska freshman backup I-back Cory Ross said. "The holes are opening up nice. I couldn't ask for anything better."

Nebraska's rushing total came in a more diverse fashion than it did in wins against Arizona State and Troy State.

Senior I-back Dahrran Diedrick rushed for 93 yards. Junior quarterback Jammal Lord had 59 yards on just nine carries. He entered the game with 40 rushing attempts.

"We did try to limit his reps a little more," Nebraska coach Frank Solich said about Lord.

Junior Josh Davis had 51 yards. Ross carried nine times for 42 yards and scored a 13-yard touchdown with 2 minutes, 8 seconds left in the third quarter.

"The offensive line did great today," Lord said. "The o-line pushed people around. It gave everyone holes to run through and gave us time to throw. It showed in the score."

Diedrick didn't mind sharing the rushing load with the younger backs. Diedrick, the Big 12 Conference's defending rushing champion, had 16 of Nebraska's 54 rushes.

"I'm glad those guys are getting to play," he said. "We're all close. We cheer for each other. It's good to get all the I-backs on the field. They do a good job."

Nebraska rolled up 184 first-half rushing yards against an Aggie defense that allowed 282 in a 23-3 season-opening loss to Utah last Saturday.

"They do such a nice job of blocking the option," Utah State coach Mick Dennehy said. "I think we sat in one thing a little bit too much and put a little bit of pressure on our safeties to get to the quarterback. They did a very good job of blocking."

Davis and Lord busted off 28-yard runs, while Diedrick had a 22-yard gain.

"I think we defended them well at times during the game and other times we looked pretty bad," Utah State sophomore linebacker Robert Watts said.

Diedrick believes Nebraska's offensive line has matured since the opener two weeks ago.

"They're starting to do a good job," Diedrick said. "You don't have to knock somebody 10 yards down the field to do a good job. This is just the beginning."

Now that some kinks have been worked out, Garrison hopes the offensive line can build upon the Utah State success.

"We're gelling. We're completely gelled," he said. "Now, it's about taking steps each week."

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