Updated

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- After what was a rough night against South Dakota State, Nebraska running backs coach Tim Beck said the offense went to work on improving execution.

"We've just got to be better and more consistent at what we do, because we can be tough to stop at times when we're executing on all cylinders," he said.

Thursday was a case in point, as Nebraska rolled up rushing numbers not seen at NU since the 2001 season. Even more impressive, with 451 yards, Nebraska was the first K-State opponent since 1989 to surpass 400 rushing yards.

Quarterback Taylor Martinez was huge, but with 110 yards on eight carries Thursday, Roy Helu had his third 100-yard game this season and the 10th of his career. With 2,574 yards, he's now within 125 of reaching Nebraska's career top-10 list for rushers.

Helu's 68-yard TD run in the third quarter was the longest run of his career. Five of NU's touchdowns covered more than 35 yards, including 35-, 80- and 41-yard runs by Martinez. Nebraska's redshirt freshman QB now has 12 runs of 20 yards or longer this season.

"It's really a unit effort, but he's at the helm taking responsibility for that," Helu said.

The 241 rushing yards by Martinez rank as the eighth most productive night in school history and are the most by any Husker since Calvin Jones' school-record 294-yard performance at Kansas in 1991.

Martinez broke the quarterback single-game rushing record of 234 yards by Jammal Lord against Texas in 2002.

A passing grade

Kyler Reed had a long wait for Nebraska's longest pass play in eight years.

A wide-open Reed had to come back to catch an underthrown ball from Martinez, but after making the catch near the K-State 40-yard line, the sophomore tight end raced down the sideline for a 79-yard score to put NU in front 38-6 late in the third quarter.

"I think we had a fake on to Rex (Burkhead), and that really drew the safety and the corner up, and allowed me to get over the top," said Reed, who has scored on two of three receptions this season. "When you're running the ball like we were, it really helps the tight ends, especially, on those play-action passes."

Nebraska hadn't had a pass play cover as many yards since Lord connected with Matt Herian for an 80-yard touchdown against Colorado in 2002.

Cherry on the mark

After briefly losing his job for the season opener, McCook native Josh Cherry is 5-for-5 on field goals since returning to the Wildcats' lineup. Cherry connected twice Thursday, hitting from 46 yards and a career-long 48.

Nebraska's Alex Henery also connected twice and has made 12 straight field goals.

Injury report

  • Kansas State wide receiver Brodrick Smith was carted off the field after trainers placed a splint on his left leg. Smith was gang tackled as Nebraska attempted a goal-line stand midway through the fourth quarter.
  • Marcel Jones missed a fifth straight game for Nebraska. The Huskers' junior right tackle has been out with a sore lower back.

A numbers game

Nebraska's six straight road wins are the most since the Huskers won 10 straight from 1996 to 1998. Now 11-1 since losing to Iowa State last year, the Huskers have their best 12-game record since winning 13 in a row in 2000 and 2001.

Reach Todd Henrichs at 402-473-7320 or thenrichs@journalstar.com.