WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Nebraska's medical staff was busier than usual during the first quarter of the Huskers' victory over Purdue.
Injuries to offensive lineman Spencer Long, wide receiver Sam Burtch and tight end Cethan Carter kept physicians and trainers occupied.
Long's injury was first and one of the worst. The junior from Elkhorn needed to be helped from the field after trainers unhooked the brace on his left knee following a play during Nebraska's first touchdown drive at Ross-Ade Stadium.
After being helped from the field by two staff members, Long laid down behind one of the Husker benches, then was escorted to another bench to sit for further examination.
Long then took a few slow steps to another bench before a large bag of ice was taped to his knee. He eventually was given crutches, then changed into shorts and a shirt to watch the remainder of the game from the sidelines.
Carter was clutching his midsection after he caught a pass and landed on the ball instead of the turf. He was the only one of the three players who returned to the game.
Burtch was involved in a four player pile-up as he and teammate Quincy Enunwa went for a pass, both covered closely by Purdue defenders. Enunwa was coming in for the throw from Ron Kellogg as Burtch was finishing running his route to the ball.
Enunwa popped right up, checked on his teammate then headed back toward the huddle.
It took several minutes before Burtch was able to walk off the field. The sophomore from Murdock, Neb., made a couple of attempts to get off the ground but needed more time. Once on the bench, trainers were checking Burtch under his pads around his shoulder and neck.
In the third quarter, Burtch was escorted to an ambulance at the south end of Ross-Ade Stadium for further evaluation.
Martinez still in a boot
For the third consecutive game, Taylor Martinez watched from the sidelines while wearing a boot on his left foot as he continues to recover from a turf toe injury.
Martinez provided counsel and guidance for Tommy Armstrong, his replacement at starting quarterback since the Sept. 21 South Dakota State game. Armstrong had his roughest day as a Husker, completing just 6 of 18 passes for 43 yards and throwing three interceptions.
As he left the field following pregame warmups, Martinez acknowledged encouraging words from the crowd with a wave and nod of the head.
Scoreboard says it all
Purdue defenders apparently were a chatty bunch much of the first half.
As he headed toward the locker room for the halftime break, wide receiver Quincy Enunwa vented his frustration at the talk, taking into account the Huskers were leading 21-0.
“They talking (expletive),” Enunwa shouted twice. Smiles and a couple of shakes of his head accompanied the words as he was one of the last Huskers headed up the ramp.
Huskers remain stoic
There were more fans wearing red than black and gold in Ross-Ade Stadium, even more so after the Huskers took a 21-0 halftime lead.
Purdue fans behind the Nebraska bench were attempting to distract Husker players with taunts about missed catches and penalties.
The players didn't bother to peek into the crowd. When the student section tried to organize other taunts, the efforts were, at best, half-hearted and attracted very few participants.
Both when the Huskers took the field to begin the game and as they left following the 44-7 victory, chants of “Go Big Red” echoed throughout the stadium.
NU fans have SJB's back
Many of the Nebraska faithful in the south end zone also gave Husker defensive back Stanley Jean-Baptiste a standing ovation as he left the field in the second quarter.
The senior from Miami was flagged for a personal foul infraction after his hit on Boilermaker running back Dalyn Dawkins. It was deemed as targeting with his helmet.
Fans dressed in red booed the call after viewing several replays of the hit shown on the video board.