LINCOLN, Neb. -- Niles Paul ran back a kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, allowing Nebraska to break open a close game and go on to beat San Jose State 35-12 Saturday.
The Spartans made it 14-12 with a field goal early in the fourth. On the kickoff, Paul made a move to his left and headed up the sideline untouched.
Nebraska's Joe Ganz was 17-for-25 for 216 yards and an interception.
San Jose's comeback hopes all but ended on the first play after Paul's return when Zach Potter and Phillip Dillard knocked first-time starting quarterback Kyle Reed out of the game with a sack.
Before Paul's kick return, San Jose played the Huskers on even terms or better. All the Huskers (2-0) had managed to that point was one long scoring drive and nose tackle Ndamukong Suh's 49-yard interception return.
San Jose coach Dick Tomey said last week that he backed out of a game at Tennessee in order to replace it with the trip to Lincoln, where the Huskers have won 43 of 45 nonconference games.
It didn't look like a bad move for a while.
San Jose outgained the Huskers 353-315 overall and though they trailed 14-9 after three quarters, they easily could have led if their kicking game hadn't cost them seven points the first half. Will Johnson missed an extra point and a 41-yard field goal and Jared Strubeck bounced a 32-yarder off the right upright.
San Jose State sacked Ganz twice on Nebraska's first series, then Reed drove the Spartans 59 yards in five plays for a 6-0 lead. Yonus Davis broke a 24-yard run before Reed, a transfer from California, passed 14 yards to Jalal Beauchman and ran 12 up the middle for the touchdown.
Davis led the Spartans with 58 yards rushing.
Quentin Castille scored from 3 yards to cap a nine-play, 86-yard drive that gave the Huskers the lead, and then Suh intercepted a pass tipped by Potter and ran it back 47 yards to put the Huskers up 14-6.
The Huskers were fortunate to lead at half after allowing three sacks and getting called for six penalties, including three straight false starts by receivers.
San Jose made it a two-point game after Castille fumbled at midfield and Strubeck kicked a 27-yard field goal.
On San Jose's first play from scrimmage after Paul's return, Potter and Dillard broke through to bring down Reed hard. Myles Eden entered and could get nothing going.
Reed completed 18 of 26 passes for 161 yards and an interception.
After Helu, who finished with 59 yards, gave the Huskers a 28-12 lead, Eden hit Kevin Jurovich with a 55-yard pass to set up the Spartans at the Nebraska 10. But Eden was intercepted by Potter, and the Spartans never threatened again.
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