Iowa CITY , Iowa - The Avengers might be the hot super hero with the kids these days, but there is only one Superman. And on Friday afternoon, Nebraska senior running back Rex Burkhead showed there is only one Burkhead.
The 2011 first-team All-Big Ten running back hadn’t played in nearly a month, but it didn’t stop him from physically and emotionally carrying the Huskers to a 13-7 win on the road to clinch the Big Ten’s Legends Division.
Burkhead, who has been nagged all season by a MCL sprain and has missed the last four games, didn’t take a snap in the first half, but was asked by head coach Bo Pelini coming out of halftime if he was ready to play.
“I said, absolutely, let’s do this,” said Burkhead, who carried it 16 times for 69 yards and a score. Burkhead was healthy. He wasn’t slowed. To be honest, it looked like he had been playing all season.
“I thought it would be a mental boost for us,” Pelini said. “I went into the game thinking we are only going to play him if we needed him. I thought we needed him at that point.”
Message board posters and tweets from Huskers fans suggested Pelini should use him if healthy, but the move came as a shock to some.
“I had no clue until I looked back there (the huddle) and saw him. I thought awesome,” said quarterback Taylor Martinez. “After those runs when we were pinned, you could just see the confidence slowly growing. We needed those runs from him.”
Now with the rust out of the way, Burkhead will set his sight on the Big Ten Championship in Indianapolis, Ind. next Saturday.
“Everything was moving fast when I got out there,” said Burkhead, who feels the decision will help him going into this week. “No problems what so ever…I think it will help me.”
If Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz wasn’t a believe, he is now.
“I don’t know if they had one more valuable player than Burkhead,” Ferentz said. “He’s a tremendous football player. They’ve got a lot of special football players, but to me he does something special for them.”
Rex Burkhead post game presser:
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