LINCOLN, Neb. - Wyoming turned two fourth-quarter turnovers into touchdowns, but the Cowboys couldn't complete a stunning comeback, as No. 18 Nebraska won 37-34 on Saturday night for its nation-leading 28th consecutive season-opening victory.
Nebraska (1-0) used a punishing, ball-control running game in the second half to build a 37-21 lead, but its young defense couldn't slow Wyoming.
Junior quarterback Brett Smith completed 29-of-43 passes for 383 yards and four touchdowns, including a 47-yard strike to Robert Herron with 1:32 remaining that pulled the Cowboys within a field goal.
Nebraska recovered an onside kick but couldn't run out the clock and punted to give Wyoming possession at its 6-yard line with 1:07 remaining. The Cowboys, though, couldn't get the ball past their 31-yard line before time ran out.
Sophomore running back Ameer Abdullah rushed for 114 yards on 19 carries to lead Nebraska before leaving the game in the third quarter.
Nebraska, with the help of sophomore Imani Cross and true freshman Terrell Newby, rushed for 375 yards and had touchdown drives of 15 plays, 67 yards and 13 plays, 82 yards in the second half. That took a combined 11 minutes, 44 seconds off the clock.
Cross had two touchdown runs, including a 31-yard jaunt when he spun off two defenders, and Taylor Martinez had touchdown passes of 3 and 7 yards to Quincy Enunwa, as Nebraska built a 37-21 lead.
But Martinez threw an interception that led to a Wyoming touchdown, and fumbled on a fourth-and-1 play in Wyoming territory that would've all but sealed a Nebraska victory with 2:01 remaining.
Wyoming scored in only three plays, making a record Memorial Stadium crowd of 91,185 pretty nervous.
Nebraska trailed twice in the first half but held a 17-14 lead at halftime.
Wyoming used two big plays on both of its touchdown drives, gashing a young Nebraska defense. Running back Shaun Wick ran 37 yards on Wyoming's second drive of the game to set up Smith's 6-yard touchdown pass to Jalen Claiborne for a 7-0 lead.
Nebraska led 10-7 following Pat Smith's 24-yard field goal and Martinez's 17-yard touchdown pass to Jamal Turner on a fade route in the end zone.
Two possessions later, Brett Smith ran 47 yards on a draw play, sparking another touchdown drive that Wick capped with a 6-yard run for a 14-10 lead.
On its second-to-final possession of the first half, Nebraska needed only three plays to score, using a 62-yard run by Abdullah and consecutive runs of 17 yards and 1 yard by Cross to go in front 17-14.
NOTES: Wyoming, which averaged 125.2 rushing yards per game last season, surpassed that total less than 3 minutes into the second quarter. The Cowboys had 173 rushing yards at halftime. ... Abdullah had a career-long 62-yard run in the second quarter. ... Wyoming's Smith had a streak of 183 consecutive passes without an interception snapped in the second quarter when Stanley Jean-Baptiste picked him off at the goal line. Smith's streak dated to last October.