WACO, TX - OCTOBER 24: The Baylor Bears during a huddle at Floyd Casey Stadium on October 24, 2009 in Waco, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
He then strolled toward the tunnel and acknowledged a few of his newest fans from Nebraska, looking like an experienced veteran instead of an 18-year-old freshman who led the Cornhuskers to crucial conference victory.
Green guided Nebraska to points on its opening three drives in his first career start while Jared Crick paced the defense with a school-record five sacks as the Huskers ended a two-game losing streak, beating Baylor 20-10 Saturday.
"I was really comfortable," Green said. "Coach (offensive coordinator Shawn) Watson set up a really great game plan for me to go out there and pretty much show off what I have."
Playing in front of about 50 family and friends, Green was 12 of 21 for 128 yards passing and rushed for 43 yards as the Huskers (5-3, 2-2 Big 12) jumped out to a 20-0 lead.
It had been a different story the past two weeks for the beleaguered Nebraska offense.
The Huskers had scored just 17 combined points in recent home losses to Texas Tech and Iowa State, and they matched a school record with eight turnovers against the latter.
The former high school star from Dayton, Texas -- which is north of Houston and about 200 miles southeast of Waco -- became the first player since Tommie Frazier in 1992 to make his first start as a true freshman.
"That was a really helpful thing to know that I have friends and family out here," Green said. "I know other guys on the football team from Texas and they had a (lot) of friends and family here. It was like a homecoming for all of us."
Justin Blatchford returned a blocked punt for a touchdown and Dontrayevous Robinson added a rushing score. Crick and the defense made sure the Huskers held onto the lead and beat Baylor (3-5, 0-4) for the 10th straight time.
Baylor lost its fourth in a row and hasn't beaten Nebraska since 1956. Clifton Odom returned an interception for a touchdown in the third quarter to bring the Bears within 10.
"It couldn't have started any worse than it did," Baylor coach Art Briles said. "That isn't how you want to start a football game, especially against a team that has a pretty good defense."
Nebraska coach Bo Pelini promised personnel changes earlier this week after watching his offense sputter in consecutive lackluster performances. The biggest move came at quarterback, where junior Zac Lee had started the first seven games of the season.
"You've got to go with your gut," Pelini said. "You've got to give yourself the best opportunity to win the football game. Today, we felt that was Cody Green. He did some good things."
Green got a hand from the Huskers' special teams before he even took the field.
Eric Martin came up the middle and blocked Derek Epperson's punt on the first series of the game. Blatchford scooped up the loose ball at 25 and dove into the end zone right in front of the red-clad Nebraska contingent.
Green scrambled for 10 yards to earn a first down on third-and-5 during Nebraska's opening offensive series, which ended in Alex Henery's 45-yard field goal.
Green was 3 of 5 passing on his second drive, including a 22-yard toss to Kyler Reed that set up another Henery field goal.
Green dropped a perfect throw just over Niles Paul's shoulder for 45 yards, giving the Huskers the ball at the Baylor 1. Robinson scored two plays later, extending Nebraska's lead to 20-0 with 9:28 left in the first half.
Nebraska had 273 yards of offense, 30 fewer than what it averages in conference play. The Huskers, though, capitalized on their opportunities, something they didn't do when they turned the ball over four times inside the 5 last week.
Ben Parks kicked a 41-yard field goal to cap the Bears' first possession after halftime, then Green made his biggest mistake of the game.
Odom stepped in front of Khiry Cooper and intercepted Green's pass, returning it for a touchdown with 3:27 left in the third.
The Bears drove inside the Nebraska 20 twice in the fourth quarter but came away with no points. Parks missed a 24-yard field goal and turned the ball over on downs as Baylor failed to cut into Nebraska's lead.
Nebraska's defense constantly badgered quarterback Nick Florence, who started the season third on the depth chart before he was forced into action because of injuries.
Florence, 19 of 38 for 222 yards, was intercepted twice and sacked seven times. David Gettis caught seven passes for 124 yards.
Crick broke Mike Rucker's school record for sacks. Rucker had four against Texas Tech in 1996.
"It was a big day for all of us up front and the defense as a whole," Crick said. "I really can't take any credit. It's just guys up front doing work."