Running game: Burkhead impressive in return (A)

Even with that cumbersome knee brace, Rex Burkhead looked fine in his return from an MCL sprain. He tried a couple of jukes, but the brace — not the knee, Burkhead said — wouldn’t let him do what he normally might. Assuming he wakes up with no problems Sunday morning, it’s safe to assume Rex is back. The backups continue to impress. That’s the first career 100-yard running game for Imani Cross.

Passing game: Martinez flashes old habits; Kellogg debut solid (B)

It looked early like Taylor Martinez had reverted to his bad throwing habits. Example: He threw off his back foot on the pass in the flat to Burkhead. Martinez looked better on the 35-yard pass to Quincy Enunwa. As for Martinez's backup, Ron Kellogg? Not a bad showing in his first extended action (save for the interception). If Martinez went down with an injury, Kellogg would be your starting quarterback. “Right now,” offensive coordinator Tim Beck said. The shovel pass to Bell — in which Ameer Abdullah had a key block — was a play put in this week.

Against run: Huskers face little resistance (A)

Mind you, Idaho State is not a running team. Mike Kramer, the Bengals coach, reminded reporters as much after the game. “We don’t have a running game,” Kramer said. “We don’t try to.” So the 31 rushing yards on 29 attempts shouldn’t indicate that Nebraska is ready to shut down Montee Ball and Company next weekend.

Against pass: Eric Martin one-man wrecking crew (A)

Not even some blatant holding could stop Eric Martin, who abused the smaller Idaho State offensive linemen throughout the game. Martin had five tackles for loss, including 2½ sacks and (officially) one quarterback hurry. There is no stat for quarterback scares, but Martin did a lot of that, too. Credit the secondary for its part. “It wasn’t so much the pressure, it was more the coverage,” Kramer said. “The coverage was outstanding.”

Special teams: Good returns, but Maher questions remain (B)

The last time Nebraska scored touchdowns on offense, defense and special teams was in 2009 against Colorado. Abdullah’s punt return for a touchdown was Exhibit A on why Idaho State elected to use the rolling, rugby-style punts. Still have to wonder about Brett Maher’s inconsistency. Will he rediscover his groove in Big Ten play?

Management: Too many penalties no matter the opponent (C)

Of Idaho State's four first downs to start the game, three were by Nebraska penalty. Yeah, too many flags in this one. Nine, to be exact, for Nebraska. “Penalties kill us,” Beck said. “Any time we get penalties, it hurts our football team. Nothing good comes out of that usually.” I asked Beck specifically about the chop blocks, which Nebraska has been flagged for in most games this season. His response: “No comment.”

Play calling: Too many toys to tinker with (A)

Beck’s biggest problem Saturday was trying to figure out who to substitute, and when. It’s never an easy call in a early lopsided game like this. “It was hard,” Beck said. “Second quarter you kind of saw some lost rhythm, and again maybe a little bit in the third.” That’s what happens with the mixing and matching. “You want to run your offense, but by the same token, you want to get to … we’re a push-the-pedal-to-the-floor type of an offense, and it’s kind of hard to say, ‘OK, we’re not going to do that.’”

Overall: Huskers do what they are supposed to (A)

Nebraska gets an “A” for coming out and doing what it should do in games like these: not messing around and taking control from the beginning. That doesn’t always happen (See: South Dakota State, 2010). The Huskers looked focused, prepared and energized, even though the opponent was vastly overmatched. Won’t be the same story next week. Bring on the black helmets.