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2009 Sep 26

ULL GAME: Texas Freshman Connection

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By HuskerLocker

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The best play of Rex Burkhead’s young career at Nebraska shouldn’t have happened.

The freshman running back scored a touchdown on a 24-yard shovel pass reception with a nifty feat of speed, moves and toughness in the waning moments of NU’s 55-0 win over Louisiana-Lafayette.

Burkhead caught a short, forward flip from fellow true freshman Cody Green, eluded one defender, broke the tackles of three more, and stiff-armed a fifth tackler at the five-yard line to score the second touchdown on his career.

“I was hoping to get the first down,” Burkhead said. “But I was fortunate to stay up.”

Too bad Green called the wrong play in the huddle. He misread the signals from the sidelines, called a shovel pass, watched it work thanks to Burkhead’s effort and trotted over to the sidelines, where a smiling Zac Lee awaited him.

“Coach (Shawn) Watson told me the exact same thing,” Green said. “He said, ‘Nice job of running the offense. I think I’ll hand over the reins to you and you can call your own plays. Because you just did now.’ It was supposed to be a regular pass to get the first down. But, heck, my shovel pass went for a touchdown. So I was happy for it.”

So was Burkhead, who accumulated 108 all-purpose yards for the night, throwing in his two punt returns for 55 yards. It was the most extensive action he or Green - the most ballyhooed of NU’s 2009 recruiting class – has seen this year.

“It was awesome,” Burkhead said. “Every time you get in the end zone. When 86,000 fans roar, it’s a great feeling.”

Green, a native of Dayton, Texas, scored a touchdown of his own on a 24-yard zone read play that looked like his 49-yard showstopper in the first game. Green completed 7-of-8 passes for 62 yards and the touchdown to Burkhead.

On Burkhead’s score, Green thought the Plano, Texas native was already down. He glanced up at the HuskerVision screen – Green calls it the “big board” – to watch a replay. Instead, he watched Burkhead’s touchdown.

“That kid’s got something right there,” Green said. “I think that little guy has probably the best center of gravity I’ve seen in just a freshman or any young guy that’s been playing. The kid doesn’t go down. For nothing.”

Tags: rex burkhead, cody green, ull week

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