LINCOLN, Neb. - Mike Grant proved to Coach Tom Osborne that he should be Nebraska's starting quarterback. Then he proved it to Utah.
Grant passed for two touchdowns and ran for two more yesterday as the No. 11 Cornhuskers breezed to a 49-22 victory over Utah.
Nebraska visits Washington in two weeks.
Grant started four games to begin the 1990 season before injuries cost him the job, and he sat out last season as a redshirt.
Yesterday, he completed 12 of 22 passes for 121 yards, including touchdowns of 14 yards to running back Calvin Jones and 11 to tight end Gerald Armstrong.
"He's won the job three times," Osborne said. "You don't win the job here three times without being a good football player. The competition is intense. . . . We don't ever hand anything to anybody."
Grant also rushed five times for 63 yards, including touchdown runs of 16 and 6 yards. He had another pass dropped in the end zone by tight end William Washington and had a 35-yard touchdown throw to Washington called back on a penalty.
"I think my teammates have confidence in me," Grant said. "It was just the outsiders and fans who wondered what I could do. I hope that after today that they have more confidence in me. I really hope they're on my side now."
"He did just what he said he'd do," running back Derek Brown said. "He had a lot to prove because he'd missed awhile. I think his confidence level is a lot higher than it has been."
The Cornhuskers rolled out to a 35-0 halftime lead on 267 rushing yards. Touchdowns were scored one of Grant's runs, Jones' 14-yard reception, a 57-yard sprint by fullback Lance Lewis, a 26-yard run by Brown and a 6-yard run by backup fullback Andre McDuffy.
"I was a little surprised it went like it did," Osborne said. "I didn't suspect it would be pretty well put away by the half. Hopefully we're good."
He should ask Utah Coach Ron McBride.
"They're a good team," he said. "They executed on offense and they executed on defense. That's the difference. They executed their offensive packages and their quarterback, Grant, did a nice job of doing the things he had to do. This is another good Nebraska team."
Utah's Frank Dolce completed 12 of 21 passes in the first half for 108 yards, but Nebraska picked off four passes, two by John Reese. Dolce finished 21 of 38 for 207 passing yards.
Utah had only four first downs in the first two quarters and didn't get a rushing first down until 5:25 remained in the third period.
"I guess I was impressed with our defense," Osborne said. "I think we showed signs of being a good football team. I think our defense is much better than it was last year. I think we're a pretty good defensive football team."
FORMER 'HUSKER SHOT -- OMAHA, Neb. - Former Nebraska player Scott Baldwin was shot by an Omaha police officer late yesterday and was in critical condition early today at a hospital, police said.
Baldwin, 23, was found not responsible by reason of insanity in the beating of a Lincoln woman in January.
Baldwin allegedly was involved in a string of disturbances last night that culminated in the shooting.