Saturday’s game was Johnny Stanton’s first in almost two years. He tore the ACL in a knee five games into his senior year of high school in Rancho Santa Margarita, California. He redshirted last season at Nebraska.

LINCOLN — Redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Stanton is grateful he was able to get his first pass completion out of the way during Saturday’s blowout win over Florida Atlantic.

Nebraska could have run out the clock, but Stanton said coach Bo Pelini called a short, high-percentage throw for him on the last play of the 55-7 win. It went for 6 yards. But it’s a nice boost for Stanton’s confidence, just to say he had that experience in his debut.

“(Pelini) told me that he wanted to get that one pass,” Stanton said. “I was thankful for that.”

Stanton, who tore his ACL five weeks into his senior season, hadn’t played in a game in almost two full years before running NU’s offense on that final drive Saturday.

He was thrilled to be out there. But if the Huskers are rolling, Stanton said, he’d be just fine even if he didn’t play.

“The team success is the most important thing,” he said.

Marcus Newby ‘cautious’

Defensive coordinator John Papuchis said he thought Marcus Newby was “a little bit cautious” during his few stints as an edge rusher in Saturday’s opener, so there’s plenty of room for the redshirt freshman to grow.

Newby ran over a tailback on one of his rushes. He was double-teamed a few times. He drew a 15-yard face mask penalty as well.

But even so, Papuchis thought Newby was holding back a bit. Perhaps he was worried about opening up quarterback running lanes. Or maybe he was a tad overwhelmed because he went through a week of preparation at rush end, second-string linebacker and several special teams jobs. Could have been first-game jitters, too.

“I would expect as time goes on, he’ll turn it loose a little bit more and just let his athleticism take over,” Papuchis said.

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