Like it did for the 89,000-plus in attendance, the thought entered Scott Frost's head.

The first-year Nebraska football coach watched as Minnesota scored 22 straight points to pull with 28-22 midway though the third quarter Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

After all, fans had seen the Huskers drop 10 straight, and most recently, they saw NU let a late 10-point lead at Northwestern turn into defeat.

"I even thought it myself," Frost said after the Huskers' 53-28 win. "I've seen this movie before."

But Nebraska (1-6, 1-3 Big Ten) responded in a big way. A four-play drive, capped by Stanley Morgan's 35-yard touchdown catch, gave the Huskers some breathing room.

NU freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez said the offense knew what it had to do when Seth Green's 4-yard touchdown pulled the Gophers to within a touchdown.

"We never lost faith," Martinez said. "I was confident we were going to go down there and score and win the game."

The Gophers tried to answer with a long drive and reached the NU 3-yard line, but a turnover on downs kept some distance between the two teams.

"One of the things we talked about is when you’re in that situation, what are you thinking?" Frost said. "I asked each one of them what were you thinking. Were you thinking we were going to get this done? Let’s go end this or were you thinking, ‘Oh, no, what might happen?’ We want our guys to play with a desire to excel and no fear of failure all the time. We can’t be worried about that. I think our team responded to that situation better today than it has since I’ve been here."

Getting back at the Gophers: Carlos Davis said he tries to forget a lot about 2017 — a 4-8 season that resulted in the end of the Mike Riley era.

It was hard, however, to forget about the 54-21 pounding at the hands of the Gophers in Minneapolis last November.

"If we could, I wish we would have put 60 on them (Saturday), kept it going," said Davis, a junior defensive lineman. "Just thinking about last year (and) what happened to us last year.

"It just sits in the back of your head. I try not to remember much from last season, but I remember definitely losing to Minnesota."

The 53 points posted by NU Saturday was its most against a Big Ten Conference opponent since joining the league in 2011.

"It hurt last year to see them run up the score on us, so it's a little bit of payback," Morgan said.

Huskers target Morgan more: Frost wanted to see Morgan get more chances Saturday, and the senior from New Orleans delivered.

Morgan finished with a career-high 10 catches for 163 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including a 67-yarder that iced the game.

"In our offense the ball is going to go where it's supposed to go based on what they give you a lot of times, and then we try to sprinkle some things intentionally to try and get people the ball," Frost said. "I was kind of disappointed the ball didn't find Stanley a lot last week and you see what kind of player he is."

Morgan had just two catches in the loss at Northwestern. On Saturday, Morgan had two catches by the midway point of the first quarter.

Morgan said coaches moved Morgan around more this week.

"It's kind of tough being out there underneath over-the-top coverage," he said. "It's kind of tough to get the ball out there. So the coaches just moved me around more and just put more emphasis on that, and I appreciate them for that."

Washington coming into his own: Maurice Washington’s role in Nebraska’s offense increased steadily over the first half of the season, and the freshman back put together his best game yet on Saturday, rushing for 109 yards and a touchdown.

The 6-foot-1 back showed his electrifying skill set against Minnesota with cuts and speed and even a successful spin move, but it’s the way he’s carried himself that’s impressed his roommate and friend Cam Taylor.

“He’s grown a lot since he’s been here,” the freshman cornerback said. “Maturewise, a lot. Schoolwise, footballwise. All around.”

Washington now has 296 rushing yards (5.6 per carry) and 92 receiving yards on the season and has scored a touchdown in each of the past two weeks.

Spielman’s historic pace: JD Spielman had just one catch after halftime, but still finished with eight for 77 and a touchdown.

The sophomore reached 100 career catches, doing so faster than any player before him.

His season totals of 42 catches and 614 yards put him on pace for 82 and 1,052, respectively, and 12 touchdowns. Those totals would break Morgan’s 2017 yardage mark (986) and Marlon Lucky's reception record (75 in 2007) and tie Quincy Enunwa’s touchdown mark (2013).

For the fans: Inside the walls of Nebraska's football facility, the Husker players knew what type of team they had.

The record said different, of course, which could make quotes about "being close" and "almost there" start to seem a little hollow at times.

Often, those quotes would come from Mohamed Barry, the junior linebacker who has been as vocal a representative of this team as anyone.

Saturday provided the payoff to Barry's words.

"I was just proud. Like I said, this win was for the fans — the loyals, the people that never naysayed us. I’m happy they stuck with us. The whole stadium was still packed, they were hyped the entire game," Barry said. "This was for them because they deserve to be happy tonight. They deserve to have a great night tonight. Because after all we endured, it’s paying off today. And I’m proud of our fans and I’m proud of our teammates."

No flag, no problem: Dicaprio Bootle got in the way of Minnesota's fourth-down pass into the end zone, literally — the ball hit him in the back and fell to the ground incomplete to give Nebraska possession.

Did the defensive back worry a flag was coming?

"No. You know me. I'm always confident that it's not a PI (pass interference) even if people tell me sometimes it's a PI," Bootle said. "I'm confident in my abilities. … The last couple weeks, I've been getting some really bad calls on some guys."

Barry agreed with his teammate.

"All year he's been doing those plays, and finally they didn't throw a flag," Barry said. "So I expect him to make that play because he's been making that play all year. This time the refs got it right, and we got it."

Quick hits: Barry finished with a team-high 11 tackles, marking his fourth double-digit tackle effort of the season. … Freshman placekicker Barret Pickering hit a 32-yard field goal in the third quarter, giving him two conversions in a row dating to last week. … UM receiver Tyler Johnson finished with 11 catches for 184 yards, marking the second straight week a receiver has done at least that much damage against NU. … Nebraska had just two tackles for loss and one sack. 

[Photos: Huskers take down Gophers for Frost's first win]

Reach the writer at 402-473-7436 or cbasnett@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraCB.