Huskers Top Chattanooga, 40-7

Martinez, Maher, Meredith star for Huskers in opener

Taylor Martinez rushed for 135 yards and three touchdowns and added 116 yards passing to help lead Nebraska past FCS division foe Chattanooga, 40-7. First-time starter Brett Maher booted four field goals and defensive end Cameron Meredith had two sacks and an interception to power the Huskers past the Mocs.

Nebraska jumped out on Chattanooga 10-0 in the first quarter on a 7-yard Martinez rushing touchdown and a 50-yard Maher field goal. The lead expanded to 23-0 at the half on another Martinez option run - this time from 43 yards - and two more Maher field goals from 48 yards and 34 yards. Chattenooga's only score came to open the third quarter. Nebraska would score three times in the third, a Maher 21-yard kick, a three yard touchdown run by I-back Rex Burkhead (set up by an interception) and another long run by Martinez. Neither team scored in the fourth quarter, as substitute players filled in many key positions.

Analysis and Observations
- The much-speculated Husker offense looked...well, pretty much like last year's offense...at least to open the game, when they sputtered on a 3-and-out series and had to punt.

- Once they settled in, it became obvious that the traditional down-the-line option will be a staple of the new Husker offense. While we are yet to see the true triple option involving the fullback, there was a steady dose of speed option from Martinez. He executed it well at times and was able to break big runs.

- Well HELLO Brett Maher. Nothing like a 50-yard field goal to help people get over their Alex Henery hangover.

- None of the schemes matter if the offensive line can't move people around. Early in the game, Chattanooga had their linebackers standing in the gaps, and the Husker lineman struggled to adjust and create space for the backs.

- On the outside, sophomore Quincy Enunwa (4 catches 58 yards) out shined the more experienced Brandon Kinnie. Enunwa made some nice catches in space and leveled a defensive back with a crack back block. Kinnie, on the other hand, was thrown to a handful of times and had two dropped balls and one he completely short-armed. Kinnie will need to step up against better competition.

- Mid-way through the first half, Nebraska increased its offensive tempo significantly, and the Husker players - Martinez in particular - seemed to respond. They were in a better rhythm and performed with more precision.

- Defensively, Cameron Meredith was a stud for NU. The Husker defensive end created consistent pressure, recorded two sacks and had an interception on a ball initially tipped by Jared Crick. Meredith got nicked up a bit in the first half, and it was good to see him return to the field full speed.

- As always, Crick was hard to block and Lavonte David was all over the field. Table stakes.

- The Mocs picked on Andrew Green, first-time starter at cornerback. On their only score, Green got his feet crossed up and tripped. It will be reassuring for NU to get Alfonzo Dennard back at that spot.

- Another emerging star on defense: Damion Stafford. The backup safety saw significant time in the second half and made a handful of highlight worthy tackles. The talent is undeniable. It will be interesting to see how the NU coaches develop and use the Juco transfer this year.

- Maher showed his ability to be a "complete" kicker for Nebraska by booming not only field goals but also doing a nice job with his kickoffs and launching a long punt in the second half.

- Freshman Jamal Turner made the most of his one opportunity with the ball. He took a simple short throw and made a 19-yard highlight-reel run. He will be fun to watch.

- In his fourth quarter action, Brion Carnes looked very much like a freshman, misplaying several option runs and fumbling a pitch. It will take time for him to get game ready. It's good to see the coaching staff using this chance for him to see the speed of the college game.

- Just in case anyone was wondering, Martinez has his wheels back. When he gets loose, he's gone.

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Comments 25 comments so far

Agreed, it felt like last year and the year before that.  Defense loads the box and the offense is big hit then alot of misses.  Until we have a legimate passing game, expect to see the same defensive schemes all year.  Bummer

I think the passing game could be fixed quite easily.  Teach Martinez how to look off receivers instead of giving them a 10 second stare down before he throws them the ball.  Carnes knows how to look off receivers.  Maybe the coaching staff should have Martinez watch some film of QB’s that look to the third passing option to draw defenders off of the primary receiver to give him time to get open, then come back and throw to him quickly before the opposing D can adjust.  This is an easy fix guys.

Wow. After being more excited and pumped for this upcoming season more than any in other recent memory, by far, I can honestly say, I feel like all the air has been forced out of me…by a heavy punch to the gut! I would be laughing my head off and licking my chops if i were any of the teams in the B1G…and they are believe me. I remember this feeling and it sucks. We can forget the B1G tittle…did you see Wisconsin the other night? Unless we get a LOT better in 3 more weeks, they are going to tear us a new one. same with Ohio State and any other team that is even half way good. And after seeing the Huskers yesterday, and realizing how far down they are starting (much worse than anyone had any idea of), they simply can’t get that much better in that short a time. There is no way, unless you believe in miracles. I couldn’t be more disappointed. You call this a new look offense Mr Beck? Please.
I thought from the beginning that he was a bad pick. They should have went out and got Dana Holgerson or someone like that but no, not with Pelinis ego. We get an offensive coordinator that hasn’t even called a play in college football. Nice going Bo. Ya, that was good ole “old fasion” Nebraska football alright…Bill Calahan style.
Yes, you can say “we had to start a lot of freshmen and hey, it just takes time”. Bunk. How did we get in that predicament after 3 years of this coaching staff…too much emphasis on defense maybe? Probably just slipped everybodies mind that you have to pay attention to the offensive line. But Nebraska was always known for it’s defense right? Wrong. Nebraska has always had good defenses, sometimes even great defenses and great Black Shirt traditions, but we were known for our awesome “scoring explosions”, triple option running attacks, and well, awesome offense (see 1995).
We were SOOOOO much better last year…anyone remember how we started out last year? We were kicking but and taking names. We were lighting up the highlight reels and seen on ESPN as world beaters. Or does everyone just still remember how it ended after Taylor got hurt? I hate to say it, but the Sean Watson attack, that btw no-one was bitching about through the first 8 games, was 100% better than this high school effort. They were firing on ALL 8 cylinders and had defensive coordinators pissin’ their pants. The Pelini era will be marked by good defense and lousey offense.

I don’t think it’s that bad.  The box was loaded, and we needed to pass the ball, period and end of story.  It can be fixed quickly.  Multiple receiver routes and as I said above, the QB has to be able to look off receivers and comb back on check downs.  We have to open the box with successful deep passing.  We saw some of that Saturday.  Look at the pass interference penalties we drew.  I think if you consistently do that until the defense stops selling out at the line of scrimmage, Nebraska’s offense is going to be pretty good.  There is too much to defend.  Our linemen need to learn how to get downfield and mash some linebackers too.  Soften them up.  More fullback trap to beat them up.  I don’t think Beck was trying to call good plays.  I think the staff was more concerned with getting the newbies to be efficient without many penalties.  Mark my words, this will be important in the B1G.

I believe that the playcalling will be vanilla in the Fresno State game too, so I hope everyone is prepared for the same as yesterday until the Washington game.  I do expect more practice at passing the ball next Saturday.  Please Coach Beck, please teach Martinez how to look off receivers.  If he can’t do it, scrap it and let Carnes play, I have seen him do it.  Call heavy dose of passing and play Carnes.  O-line, better bring your Lunch pails this week.  You have the most work to do…..they were way smaller than you and pushed you around.  Get up and play harder.  Nuff said.

Two things: 1. It was the first game!
              2. WE WON!
Bo will whip the boys into shape over the next three weeks and we will be ready for Wisconsin. 
I think that it would do all Husker fans good to actually be patient, and understand how fortunate we are.
I live in Oregon and both the Stinkin’ Ducks and the Beavers got beat yesterday and there is NO ONE bitching.  Fans out here are what fans in Nebraska used to be like. 
Stop feeling so entitled and enjoy your team.

Not griping, just pointing out that there are simple fixes here that if tweaked….this offense could really hum by the time we see Wisconsin.  PS….I was a fan…..in the 80’s through the 90’s and still today.  I haven’t changed.  Still appreciate my team the same as I did back in 95 and 97.  I just love talking football and putting in my 2 cents worth from time to time.  I watched some good teams, had friends that played at Nebraska, and I have been around a lot of winning football at NU.  I am telling you, this offense will be good.  Ideally, quick fixes I stated above will do that.  Again, I think the coaches called simple plays and the only focus was getting less penalties and turnovers.  The offense did exactly that.  No timeouts because of late play calls on O.  Less false starts.  I was extrememly pleased to see improvement there.  I expect the line will get downfield more and attack those linebackers.  Pop in some film of the 95 Orangebowl and watch Rob Z do it right.  They are going to get it….trust me, we have the size.  Now that you have proven the line has cleaned up its penalties, I think the coaches are going to turn them loose for punishing linebackers.  Still, we need to improve our passing.  Past quarterbacks were really good at play action fakes.  Efficient passing draws interference penalties as we saw yesterday, or gets you big yards.  Teams will have to stop stacking the box if we are consistent there.  Again, having fun talking football, not griping.  Sorry if I made you feel that way Oregon Husker.

Am i expecting to much to soon or am i loosing patience with Pelini hinting that were at the gates of greatness but just not yet able to open it. No matter what” what i saw Saturday was the same old Husker football a Team with a handful of good players and a bunch of also rans.
  All i can say from watching other games yesterday is Nebraska is over ranked and like many others have tried to tell you there not going to win the Big 10. I see just from judging other games and don’t say well it was first game jitters or Pelini will get it fixed which by the way i’m still waiting for. Any how mark my words and this is not because i want things to turn out this way but i keep out of the emotionalism of most fans and just watch the facts unfold them selves. Oh yes don’t forget the other teams will get better also from there first game. What i see is a Wisconsin win a highly probable Ohio State victory and a almost certain Penn State win.

  Lets stop drinking the Kool aid and face it Pelini is not a good head coache, but a above average defensive coach. He needs to go grab the best offensive Coach he can grab as Beck to me is questionable. Better yet Nebraska do your untmost best and try and hire Chris Petersen away from Boise States now there’s a coach. Thank God Husker fans that Boise State and Nebraska were unable to get together for a series. Hoping i’m wrong as can be but this time i’m certain i’m not..

@LastNut

Go back and read ALL of George McFly’s posts.  What he said has made the most sense of anyone here.

Without the threat of a pass…they’ll load the box and DARE Martinez to throw.  Remember that there were 4 catchable balls in the game that were DROPPED.  Put those as receptions and add the yards he would have gotten and He’d have passed 15-22 with over 150 yards.  That’s enough to keep a defense from stacking the box.  When they stop stacking the box, then we can run smashmouth. 

The young line will get it eventually…this was their first start and possibly the first time many of them played in front of 85,000 screaming fans…I’m surprised we didn’t get any false starts or holding calls…but we didn’t.  That shows discipline in the line…even if they had a lack of execution.

I think people will see leaps and bounds being made next game and the game after.  I think optimism will return to everyone before the Wisconsin game.

I am in line with some in that I was somewhat disappointed because I was licking my chops to see the AMAZING revamped offense.  Honestly, if you can take out the first 1.5 quarters, the passing game actually did improve as the game went along.  Once he started hitting some of those quick outs, he did pretty well (Note, I didn’t say perfect).  I still am a believer in Taylor’s arm.  He lit up OK State and when he got stuffed by TX, he did a fine job passing….  At least up until the 5th…  6th… 7th… pass drop (all of which were on the money).  The defensive center will tighten up, I am sure of that.  Maybe not perfect but I will take bend-but-don’t-break all day long.  The only concern I have left now is the offensive line.  That was a truly scary thing to watch.  I am sure that will get at least good enough to get some yards up the middle.  The rest I think will get better pretty quickly.  BTW, PE in Charleston, You are a typical fair weather fan so throw your fit all you want…

@dkdevine - my sentiments exactly. 
@George McFly - my thoughts were not aimed at you, they were directed at PE in Charleston.
All I am saying, is, let the season play out.  Granted, we were not at the late 90’s dominance standards, but frankly, I don’t think we will ever be again.  All I was trying to say was, enjoy what we have.  Enjoy the new opponents, enjoy the fact that we have one of the top 10 coaches in the nation, and enjoy that we have one of the top 5 defenses in the nation.  Count your blessings Husker fans, and remember fondly the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, because we may never be there again.

Crazy fans, too quick to jump ship!! Settle down people, it’ll be just fine.

I think some people are forgetting the difficulty of schedule we face this year as compared to last 2 years.  The last 2 years we needed to come out and destroy every low quality team we played to gain points.  Tim Beck is not going to come out and show everyone his REAL offense in any of these first 4 games.  I hope no one really thinks that the speed option every 3 plays is going to be the staple of this offense.  WAKE UP, we are just running bs plays against the teams we know we will beat because we don’t Wisconsin and Ohio State to have any idea what we are going to run.  I absolutely agree that Martinez’s decision making in the passing game was dismal.  There were at least 2 times where he threw the ball directly at a defender.  He needs to look off the defenders.  This is going to get more difficult as we will be facing real pass rushes and he will have less time.  He also needs to wait and let the play develop down field before he starts running, and he needs to run to keep the play going and keep his eyes down field.  Bottom line, we will look better on offense as soon as we can reveal the real playbook.  All we can do is pray that Martinez wakes up and learns how to manage the passing game.

@ Last Nut, you need to pump the breaks there pal.  Tim Beck is a good choice.  He coordinated the passing for 2008 Kansas, did Saturdays play calling look anything like a scheme that attacks and keeps the D of balance? NO! and that is on purpose.  Just wait for Washington, we may see a glimpse of the offense then.  As far as Wisconson goes, no one seems to remember the fact that UNLV was running all over them.  Their defense looked terrible.  Everyone needs to chill out and wait until this decoy offense is in the trashcan.  Just pray Martinez figures out how to manage the pass!

PE IN CHARLESTON

Fairweather much?? last year T Mart was a gonna win the Heisman then he dosnt deserve to be on the field.. Now NUs gonna role the Big Ten, and after a typical shabby first game you give up on em…

Young players playing, and theres no way the teams going to show its entire offensive playbook game one..

Grown up or start taking your Bi0 polar meds!!

twauto22 - Like I just got done answering you in the other article, I am certainly not a fair weather fan…I’ve stayed my position. I’m a huge T Magic fan and I know, well, hope this team can still roll, so what are you talking about Taylor not deserving to be on the field? I never said anything like that. He’s the least of our problems and I think he is a good passer…if you count the 4 drops, he’s 15 for 22 and maybe 150 yards or so as dkdevine put it. That IS enough to keep defenses honest and keep them from stacking the box. His problem is the receivers can’t catch. I am very hopeful for this season for the record, but these coaches are absolute offensive boneheads if there ever were any. If you are old enough to remember TO’s offenses, then you know what I mean. I disagree with Oregonhusker that we will never see the dominance of the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s again…the 2000’s were the only decade we didn’t field a dominant team. We are there defensively now in fact and that’s good, but that’s also why it is so frustrating to see this happening now…such a disparity now between the offense and defense and it doesn’t need to be. Go the the “the good the bad and the unknowns” article, I just answered tweater22 statements and explains things. Oh, and huskermania, I hope you’re right…that the offensive line is our only problem. I too was licking my chops waiting to be blown away…that’s why I’m so disappointed now. It didn’t happen, and guess who’s licking their chops now? Our opponents.
We’re just talking and venting here a little guys. We’re all Huskers fans.

Is doesn’t make you a fairweather fan to state the truth. And I don’t care if this isn’t the “real” offense, just being vanilla or whatever. The fact is no matter what plays are called they should look good executing them and they looked average at best, not even average just sloppy.

PE In Charleston

I apologize for giving you so much crap Im just tired of Husker fans bouncing from saying were the top team in the country to the next week saying how horrible our coaching staff is..Again I apologize to you because I was taking it on you for what other fans were mostly writing
But. ITs the first game people give the new coaches a chance before throwing them under the bus.. Fisher is a hell of a prep coach and I think other than Kinnies drops our wideouts looked better than last year.. Also going after a big name guy isnt always the answer… Pelinis style has him bringin in people he feels comfortable with and that he believes will stay with him for the long run…

Twautoo22 - No offense taken…get it? Never mind.
You gotta remember, this is serious. All eyes are on us right now and wee looked like the laughing stock. Nowhere near our top 10-11 ranking. That doesn’t sit well with me and it shouldn’t sit well with Husker Nation.
Ya, I know Pelini wants people who will stick with him and think they way he does, but is that really a good plan? Or do you go out and get the best you can? Whatever happened to “May the best man win”? Can they even coach or is that secondary? Hmmm…I don’t know. I understand the “his team now and all of his guys” and all that. I get that. I really do. Bellacheck is the same way with the Patriots. His guys are all over the NFL. We have seen NO evidence whatsoever that Rich Fisher or Tim Beck can coach though. I know it’s early, but after Saturday? Ouch. I was half expecting them to come out gunning for a multitude of receivers. Kinda like Oregon with a lot of sets and schemes and a lot of different looks and players involved. Nope. We didn’t even see much speed I don’t think. Did we even attack anything, or go where they anyone wasn’t? Why didn’t they do that? Because they can’t. Not yet at least. We saw that. That would have sent a message to our future foes…that this is a new brand of football, we’re fast, powerful, we can pass and are good at it. It would force them to game plan around that as well as defending the run. The problem now is they know we are a one dimensional team. They’re gonna stack the box big time now. The cats out of the bag unless Pelini has something up his sleeve and all this is all planned of course like they say. And if it is, great! Man did they fake it well! This will be the greatest hoax in college football history if it is.
I’ll try to stay more positive.

Hiding part of the playbook so they won’t know what we are going to run? Good thing no one else seems to know this is the way is should be done, especially since we’ve heard that line before. What about showing a balanced attack so 1) they can’t spend ALL day working on defending what we do well and so far is the ONLY thing we can do. 2) what about situational game reps? Who can execute flawlessly when they haven’t tried to execute the same thing in a game situation? My balloon lost a bunch of air….

Im sick of this “that wasn’t our real offense, we were just keeping it vanilla.” excuse! Im not saying that’s not what they did, im sure they held stuff back, ok, whatever. The point is if we were just keeping it simple and vanilla shouldn’t we have looked dominant and sharp against a weak opponent??? If that was the simple offense how in the *%$# are we gonna execute the “real” offense and succeed? LOL. let me guess im just a fairweather fan right? I guess a real fan is just supposed to say hey! Great game! No matter what and never point out any flaws ever. Love the huskers to death its called taking off the blinders and being real

Hey George mcfly…if the passing game is such an easy fix what’s taking so long? They have had plenty of time before Saturdays game to do all the things you said , and they have had 3 years to teach Taylor to look off receivers man and he still isn’t. Not such a easy fix for him I guess.

Actuall ben
Taylor Martinez started at Wr in camp his freshman year and also got a look at Db before heading to Qb . so he hasnt got 3 years.. even if you dont count that , hes still on year 3 not there yet..

Also I have no problem with you guys saying the offense isnt were you guys want it.. No problem what so ever.. Just dont say how awesome it is when we make Fresno look stupid and then come back the next weekend when we dont look good at washington and say how horrible we are that you called it from the begining

Also if you guys want to give the coaches at new positions crap , give them more than one game.. If they are still playing like this week 7 then by all means give them a little shit, but if any of you have ever coached or played a game before then realize not everything clicks on week one

IF…IF they make fresno look stupid on D i will come post how awesome it was and don’t tell me I can’t. What because im not happy with the way the came out against a WAY inferior opponent im not allowed to praise them when they do it right? That’s ridiculous. Justified criticism does not mean you aren’t a fan and it Doesn’t mean i’ve given up on the team. Excuse me for not having my fan blunders on and telling it like it is. Wow.

Guys,

How many 18 year olds did we have on the line?  This was their 1ST GAME playing in front of 85k people.  Jitters, loss of focus, mistakes, missed blocks, etc. are all a part of something like that.

I remember when I started my first game as a FRESHMAN in college…I dropped a punt return and tripped and fell on a slot reverse.  The next game I had over 90 yard receiving and a 46 yard punt return.

What I am saying is this…THE SKY ISN’T FALLING PEOPLE.  Get off this “we’re gonna suck this year” train…it was the 1st game people…cut them some slack.

I get it, we sucked for many years and it really drained the life out of many fans…so much so that they wail and moan at ANY sign that things will suck once again.  Part of being a top 10 team is having top 10 fans…those are fans who don’t sit around psychoanalyzing every single play of the previous game and trying to cast fear, uncertainty and doubt in every nook and cranny of the Husker offense. 

My advice to all of you…STOP.  More data is needed before we make the decision that the Huskers are going to crap the bed.  Until then, zip the lips…stop the fingers from dancing on the keyboards, and have some faith in your team…they need you to believe in them just as much as they need to believe in themselves.

AND btw, there is NO justified criticism after one single game….no matter how much of a fan you are or aren’t.

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