By ERIC OLSON
AP College Football Writer
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Mike Riley wanted to get Terrell Newby going early and often against South Alabama. The plan went off without a hitch.
Newby ran for a career-high 198 yards and scored three touchdowns Saturday night, leading Nebraska past the Jaguars 48-9 and giving Riley his first win as the Cornhuskers’ coach.
“I felt confident coming out that first drive,” Newby said. “We got a great push up front, and the offense as a whole, once we get rolling, we can’t be stopped.”
The Huskers (1-1) bounced back from last week’s loss to BYU on a Hail Mary with a resounding victory over their opponent from the Sun Belt Conference. South Alabama (1-1), in its third year as a Football Bowl Subdivision program, dropped to 0-7 all-time against teams from the Power Five conferences.
Nebraska, prepping for next week’s trip to Miami, scored on three of its first four possessions, led 24-0 at half and finished with 561 yards.
“It’s good what we did,” Riley said, ``but obviously it’s going to get harder.’’
Tommy Armstrong Jr. threw for 270 yards and two touchdowns before giving way to Ryker Fyfe midway through the fourth quarter. Cody Clements accounted for the bulk of the Jaguars’ offense, passing for 271 of their 332 total yards.
Riley said early in the week that he wanted to establish the ground game after his offense generated only 126 yards rushing against BYU. The Huskers had rotated three tailbacks in that game, and they combined to average just 3.95 yards a carry.
Newby ran 28 times, finding his rhythm quickly against an overmatched defense. Newby ran 13 yards untouched for his first touchdown and carried on nine of the Huskers’ first 15 plays. On the 16th he turned a one-handed catch into an 8-yard touchdown. His third TD came on an 8-yard run.
“We’ve felt Terrell is our first-string back, and we thought it might be best just to let him play,” Riley said. “I think that was a good decision for us.”
Newby’s best and longest run was a 32-yarder in the third quarter. He ran three steps to his left and found no running room. So he turned around and darted down the right side, picking up a block from Armstrong.
Backup Imani Cross entered the game at that point, and he scored from 9 yards on his first carry for a 31-0 lead.
“Their offensive line plays really well, and we saw that on film,” Jaguars safety Roman Buchanan said. “That was the best offensive line I’ve ever seen.”
South Alabama managed only 19 yards rushing on 24 attempts.
Clements and Josh Magee connected for passes of 55 and 33 yards, and they had a 56-yarder for a touchdown erased by a hands-to-the-face penalty on center Joseph Scelfo.
“It’s very frustrating because it’s always the goal to put it in the end zone,” Clements said. “We had some great drives that we’ve just got to finish.”
Magee, who had six catches for 147 yards, ended up scoring late in the game on a 36-yard pass from Clements’ backup, Dallas Davis.
“When you play a team like this that’s very good, in my opinion, they expose your weaknesses,” Jones said. “They’re a great team, a great tradition. They’ve won five national championships. They exposed us at times, and we have to learn from that.”