LINCOLN, Neb. -- Turns out, Nebraska can play with a lead, too.
After three consecutive come-from-behind victories, the No. 14 Huskers bolted to an early lead and left no doubt in a 38-14 victory over Minnesota before 85,330 fans at Memorial Stadium on Saturday.
Nebraska (9-2, 6-1) remains tied with Michigan atop the Legends Division of Big Ten Conference, and the Huskers can clinch the division title with a victory Friday at Iowa, or with a Michigan loss at Ohio State on Saturday.
Taylor Martinez completed 21-of-29 passes for 308 yards for Nebraska, while the defense recorded held Minnesota to 177 total yards, providing the Huskers their most dominant and complete performance of the season.
Martinez, who became Nebraska's career passing leader, did his work against a Minnesota pass defense that entered the game ranked sixth in the nation, allowing 168 yards per game.
The junior quarterback has 6,140 career yards, surpassing Zac Taylor' record of 5,850 yards, set in the 2005-06 seasons.
Kenny Bell caught nine passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns, and had another long reception to set up a touchdown.
Nebraska had a 3-0 lead when Bell, a sophomore, ran a post route into the end zone and caught a 36-yard touchdown pass from Martinez in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Bell made a diving grab for a 29-yard reception to the Minnesota three-yard line. Freshman running back Imani Cross scored on the next play, putting Nebraska ahead, 17-0.
Cross scored again before halftime, this time on a one-yard run, coming after Quincy Enunwa juggled and caught a Martinez pass for a 29-yard gain to the one-yard line.
Bell tacked on his second touchdown in the third quarter, when he caught a screen pass and, behind a block from Enunwa, ran 30 yards down the sideline and into the end zone for a 31-0 lead.
Stanley Jean-Baptiste intercepted a deflected pass and returned it 48 yards for a touchdown, stretching the margin to 38-0 entering the fourth quarter.
Minnesota (6-5, 2-5) broke the shutout on MarQueis Gray's one-yard touchdown run with 7:39 remaining in the game.
Backup quarterback Max Shortell hit Andre McDonald on a 26-yard pass, the Gophers' longest play of the day, to highlight the 58-yard scoring drive, also Minnesota's longest of the game.
The Gophers added a late touchdown after recovering a fumble against Husker reserves at the Nebraska six-yard line, setting up Gray's six-yard touchdown run.
NOTES: Nebraska honored retiring athletic director Tom Osborne, who has been a part of 500 football games at the school, as assistant coach, head coach and athletic director. ... Nebraska led, 10-0, after the first quarter, its first lead after one quarter since an Oct. 6 loss at Ohio State. ... Minnesota started left guard Zac Epping at center, replacing injured starter Jon Christenson. Tommy Olson started at left guard in place of Epping. ... Nebraska played a fourth straight game without injured running back Rex Burkhead, who dressed.