Lincoln, Neb. ? The No. 9/8 Nebraska football team practiced for an hour and 40 minutes in shorts and helmets on Thursday afternoon at Memorial Stadium on another hot and humid day, as the Huskers finish preparations for Saturday?s 6 p.m. kickoff with Utah State.

"It has been a hot week for these guys, but they have worked through it," Head Coach Frank Solich said. "Tomorrow?s practice will be light and we are playing a night game on Saturday, so they should have plenty time to get fresh again. It has not been an easy week for them, but I like the way they have pushed through it, in terms of their work ethic on the field."

NU?s 22nd-ranked pass efficiency defense will face a talented group of receivers and a solid passing attack when Utah State visits Lincoln on Saturday. The Aggies are led by All-American wideout Kevin Curtis, who led Division I-A with 100 receptions 2001. Curtis also racked up 1,531 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns. The Utah State passing offense ranked 13th nationally in 2001, averaging 288 yards per game.

"Curtis will be a very big part of their (Utah State) offense, but he?s not the only receiver they throw to," Solich said. "They are a very athletic group and very proficient. They will do a lot of things to hurt you, and if you are not prepared, they have the people to get it done."

Junior I-back DeAntae Grixby returned to practice much quicker than expected for the Huskers after suffering a minor knee injury early last week.

"He got much better, much quicker than first anticipated and that is really very good for us," Solich said. "That will enable him to get back into the flow of things on both the offensive and special teams side of things."

Utah State is scheduled to walk-through at 1:30 Friday afternoon with Head Coach Mick Dennehy scheduled to meet with the media prior to the walk-through. The first 15 minutes will be open to the media. Nebraska will walk-through at 3:30 with Coach Solich also addressing the media at the beginning of practice. The first five minutes of the Nebraska walk-through will be open for cameras to shoot.