Joe Broekemeier had a long wait between playing in a football game.

"I was telling the guys that it had been eight years since I'd been in an actual game," the Husker senior from Aurora said Friday. "It was my freshman year, in the state semifinals against McCook, in 2002. That's awhile ago."

Friday, in his first game for the Huskers, Broekemeier caught three passes for 34 yards.

"I was just glad I didn't drop it (the first pass thrown his way). I got hit right away and it happened fast," Broekemeier said. "Cody (Green) made great throws and that helped."

Broekemeier came to Nebraska to play baseball, which he did for three years before he could no longer pitch.

"I knew I couldn't really throw very well any more. I was getting to the point I had to give up on that," Broekemeier said. "I joked around with a couple of (football) players I was pretty good friends with and then all that joking ends up coming true."

After redshirting in 2009, Broekemeier worked as a quarterback on the scout team, but then switched to receiver during preparations for the Holiday Bowl.

He said he was told Monday that he would likely see some playing time. The likelihood increased when Niles Paul broke his foot Tuesday.

"Niles going down was a big loss for us. Being able to come in and make a couple of catches and help out was great," the 6-foot-4 Broekemeier said. "There was a lot of anxiousness before the game because I was excited. Once we got on the field, I didn't have many nerves. I had to think of what my assignment was and do my job. That makes everything slow down."

Although he was obviously happy to get into a game and contribute, Broekemeier was clear about how he viewed his status with the Huskers.

"I've always told the coaches all along that even if I never got in a game, I never would regret the decision to come over and play football after leaving baseball," he said. "The football coaches have been fantastic this whole time. If I never got in, I was still happy because of everything I'm a part of. Getting in and making a catch was awesome."

His ability on a football field came as no surprise to folks in Aurora. He just had a bit of bad luck on the gridiron.

He suffered a back injury his sophomore year that kept him out for a month. Then in his first practice back, he broke his throwing hand.

Before his junior year, he hurt his elbow in the state American Legion baseball tournament and couldn't throw.

"With all the stuff I had going on with baseball, I didn't want to risk getting hurt playing football," he said.

The older brother of Aurora quarterback Tyson Broekemeier, Joe said this was a tumultuous football season for the family. Tyson suffered a concussion in the state quarterfinals and couldn't play in the semis against eventual champion Crete. The younger Broekemeier led Aurora to back-to-back Class B football titles in 2008-09.

Henery tied at the top

Alex Henery moved into a tie with Kris Brown at the top of Nebraska's career scoring list after his performance Friday.

"It's cool to be up there with some of those great guys," Henery said. "My teammates all wanted to kick one (field goal) late, but it wasn't the right thing to do. It's good to get a win.

He kicked a 42-yard field goal and added six extra-point kicks. He has 388 career points.

"I was reading this morning about all the NCAA accuracy records that he holds," said Nebraska special-teams coach John Papuchis. "To hopefully become the all-time leading scorer in a week speaks for itself."

Martin at D-end

Eric Martin,who knocked a Colorado player out of his shoe on the kickoff following the Huskers' first touchdown, also played at rush end after Cameron Meredith injured an ankle.

"We were hoping to get Eric in on third-down plays anyway, but with Cameron going down, the opportunity presented itself even more," rush ends coach Papuchis said. "Eric did a nice job and it was a good opportunity to get his feet wet playing defensive end for the first time.

"He's a relentless competitor and you do have to harness that in a little bit. That's part of the reason we moved him there. We wanted a speed guy off the edge that presents a matchup problem. I think he has a bright future at that spot."


Rex Burkhead's 2-yard touchdown run in the second quarter ended Nebraska's TD drought at seven quarters plus 4 minutes 18 seconds. The previous touchdown was by Roy Helu late in the second quarter of Nebraska's win against Kansas on Nov. 13. ... Lavonte David pushed his season tackle total to 128, tied for sixth on the NU list. He's 21 tackles from the Nebraska single-season record of 149 by Barrett Ruud in 2003. David also has nine pass breakups. ... Eric Hagg intercepted his team-leading fifth pass of the season.

Reach Ryly Jane Hambleton at rhambleton@journalstar.com or 402-473-7314.