Taylor Martinez Starts as Huskers Top Hilltoppers

Nebraska Beats Western Kentucky 49-10

When Bo Pelini said this week that he'd decline to name a starting quarterback to avoid a "media circus" it seemed a bit of a clue. After all, if returning starter Zac Lee were named the top QB, why would there be any hysteria? It took just three plays with Taylor Martinez under center to see why he became the team's new #1. His 46-yard scamper got Nebraska off to a quick 7-0 start after the Blackshirts sent the Hilltopper offense three and out. He connected on a 28-yard pass to Rex Burkhead on NU's second drive to set up a 20-yard Burkhead touchdown run. Both drives were aided by strong field position.

For the remainder of the first half, things slowed for Martinez. It was Cody Green who led the third touchdown drive of the half, which was set up by a 31-yard Niles Paul punt return and punched in by Roy Helu. Then two hurry-up drives by Martinez went three and out just prior to halftime. Things heated up again after the break for Martinez as he took the Huskers 68 yards in four plays, most of them on two Martinez runs, including the score. He'd score for a third time later in the third quarter.  Green looked much more comfortable to start the season as he threw a touchdown pass to Paul in the 4th quarter.  Zac Lee didn't appear until very late and mostly handed the ball off.

Defensively, Lavonte David made it clear what all the buzz was about. He had 9 tackles by halftime. The secondary seemed like the ballhawks they are made out to be, forcing two turnovers. The defensive line didn't make you forget Ndamukong Suh, but they were effective. All-in-all a good outing for the D, even if it wan't five times better than last season.

The passing of Martinez wasn't enough to silence any debate over who the starter ought to be, but it was effective enough. The threat of his runs was enough to keep Western Kentucky guessing. His passing was adequate to keep the defense honest. His passing number would have been better if not for some dropped passes.

Cameron Meredith finished the game in street clothes. Dejon Gomes limped with an apparent ankle tweak. It may not be clear the extent of the injuries until NU takes the field against Idaho next weekend. 

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Comments 22 comments so far

The defense wasn’t good this time around…especially against the run.  If they play like this against someone like Kansas State, they’re going to lose.  I sure hope they improve because this was not a good blackshirts defense…they were lucky UWK didn’t score more.

Taylor Martinez is going to be a special player for Nebraska.

What was going on with the D? Very, very inconsistent.  WKU receiver’s should not be wide open against us. 229 Offensive yards, 176 of those rushing?  14 First downs?  At times it seemed to me that their QB Rainey was having is way with us.  I could be way off because I only got to listen to the audio stream, but I think we may need to be concerned a little when playing next week.  As far as the Offense I would grade them out at a B.  Great job for Martinez.  What a way to start.  I think we should be able to score a little more this year.  If the D keeps playing Average then it may be O that helps win games this year.  Am I over reacting?

The offense was really looking good. The defense looked decent to start out, then slowed down, not sure if it was the 2 injuries, or just resting the players. Another thing I noticed was the kick coverage. We were kicking the ball 3 and 4 yards deep into the end zone, there returner was actually returning it and getting out to the 25-30 yard line, that was very disappointing. Although, I did love the forced fumble right before the goal line, that was great hustle from the D


remember too that this offense is up against a D that isn’t really a good one.  so it might look better than what it really is :/

I got chills, throughout my body… (Which, was cool.)

Live body,  ultraquick and strong legged determination. If Nebraska’s program is “entitled” to anything, it’s real dual threats like this cool as coolwhip young stud.
I bet he’d make a good safety, too.

Zac Taylor
Zach Lee
Taylor Martinez

If our next quarterback is named Lee Martinez then I am going to lose it.

remember Bo has a tendency to keep things vanilla so that other teams cant read too much into our games. the washington matchup doesnt look so big right now but we did lose basically are three top linebackers one to graduation two to injuries to the run game will be easier for teams till everyone steps up.

with these cupcake games its hard to read into everything. our offense looks great but you could make a case that if a team sits on our run game can we move the ball in the air with tmart. our defense looked shaky but you could argue that they problem wasnt as hype for this is game as to facing a tougher opponent.

in conclusion: we got the win lets hope our LB get good reps and get better and lets hope tmart can play well against tougher opponents. there are both sides and two ways to look into it my only question and prayer is that stick with a qb and we dont have a qb circus party all season long.

ps is zac lee really third string??

I guess I do not understand the art of the pass.  In my estimation Taylor was fantastic on passing.  He hit what he threw at. The balls had zip and was dead on target.  Lee did pass a bit when he came in. His second pass was to a person only 10 feet away and completely in the open.  He through it at his feet. The announcer said it was passes like that that got him in trouble last year. When will people get beyond the meme that Taylor cannot pass?

I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the other two quarterbacks did pass Lee in the off season while Lee was out with his surgery and recovery.  I didn’t get to see the game but was the defense as bad as you guys make it sound or is it just early in the season?

Overall?  I’m pretty scared.

If the defense doesn’t pick up the slack, we’re in trouble.  Crick was average against a SMALL line.  Helu isn’t shouldering anything at all on offense and Burkhead didn’t touch the ball that much at all which makes me wonder what would happen if he did…in other words, not a single running back made me feel good about them.

Sure sure, Martinez shouldered the running game.  So, if he gets hurt, who picks it up?  THAT is the point.  We need someone solid to shoulder the load if he gets injured.

I think Bo hit the nail on the head, this was a HORRIBLE performance by the defense.  If they don’t pick it up in the next two games we’re going to lose more than a few.  That’s what scares me…our D or lack thereof.

First thing I noticed was a poor defense….difficulty in stopping
the running back of WKU   .  Concerned now.

I think that Coach Pelini took one long look at the situation and thought that Martinez offered the best chance for the offense to make plays.  It seems apparent that IF The Blackshirts have to take the same amount of snaps that they did last year, that the results are not going to be the same.  I am concerned about a push up from the front four.  There’s a lot of room for improvement and it needs to start next weekend.  If the front four can’t get in the backfield it’s going to put too much pressure on a LB corps that is sufffering from injuries and lack of game experience. . .

I could not help but wonder how similar Martinez and Eric Crouch had nearly identical running postures.  I really had to take a second look at that 47-yd burst because it sure looked like Eric Crouch’s stunt double.  The move for Martinez needs to be looked at in the light that the coaching staff, for the moment, does not feel that The Blackshirts can be leaned on for an entire season like last year’s unit. . .

I did like that we were able to get a lot of guys some playing time and in the big picture of things, despite the grumbling for the moment, we did have a better opening day than a lot of conference foes.  I’m not ready to dash out of my house, run screaming down the street about this bunch, but I wouldn’t trade my opening day for Oklahoma’s, Missouri’s or Kansas.  A long way to go, and a lot of football to play.  It comes down to the front four for this group.  If they can pick it up and start getting into the backfield then things will start to sort themselves out. . .

I found an article that details why the D might have suffered so much…the Linebackers, while tackling well, were new to calling the defensive audibles and formations:


If this is an accurate proxy of things to come, yes we are in trouble.  The offense was pretty solid, but it looked solid in our appetizer games last season as well.  More importantly, the defense was porous. 

Fortunately, I don’t think this is an accurate portrayal of our upcoming season.  I think we’ll find a way to tighten up on D and keep the momentum going on offense.  I think the offense is going to be at least a little better than last year.  Even if TMart is nothing more than a running quarterback (and I doubt this), he will still be an upgrade from last year.  We will have a solid three-headed monster in the backfield with TMart, Burkhead, and Helu.  Our ability to run will bleed time off the clock and keep our D off the field more than last year. 

The D is not going to be as good.  I never expected this before and the recent injuries only confirmed this.  If last year’s D was “amazing” this years will be “above average.”  Crick and some solid corners does not an amazing defense make.  We need to have realistic expectations here, guys.  We are basically bringing back a couple solid D-linemen and some quality corners; the rest of that D is gone.  How could we honestly expect them to be nearly as good, let alone five times better.

The only question in my mind is whether the offense will be sufficiently better than last year’s to account for what will be a significant drop off in D.  I think it’s very possible.  I am staying tight to my 10-2 prediction (KSU, A&M).

I live in California, so I wasn’t privy to watching the game other than the Yahoo! scoreboard which I checked from time to time for play by play update. Let’s keep things in perspective. First off, DKDevine, apparently you’ve completely forgotten the nightmare of the 2007 Non-Blackshirts, where a defensive stop was literally the equivalent of forcing a turnover. 3rd and 15’s for the opposition brought legitimate concern whether or not they’d hold! Obviously WKU is not up to the level of competition the Big Red will see in the next few weeks. Obviously their O made enough big plays and piled up stats to get folks here gnashing their teeth. Why? The final was 49-10, 21-0 at half with 80 yds. for WKU. Teams let off the gas when they get up big, it’s natural. You guys are fretting about this game, imagine being an OU fan, or God-forbid poor Turner Gill and the KU Jayhawks! Texas didn’t impress for that matter either. Missouri damn near lost as well. First game, The Pelini brothers have proven they know defense, this is Game 1, the lead was big, there is no more Dominator Ngdomakong on the line anymore so these guys will have to fill in the holes.
Relax folks, this is a solid win certainly no time to push the panic button, that’s crazy talk. Go Big Red!
PS-Bill, You forgotten the heart and soul of the Husker attack in ‘07/‘08, you know the side of the ball that actually held up in ‘07…JOEY GANZ!

Ya’ll need to chill. “I’m scared”...

Seriously? This coaching staff is outstanding. It was the FIRST game with a bunch of new faces. They won 49-10. It wasn’t that long ago we started off the season beating the Maine Black Bears 25-7. Chillax.

This group will do just fine. While they are in the hunt for a National Title, that should not be our expectation. To expect that would be stupid. This team will be right in the thick of the Big 12 Conference Championship race. Isn’t that what we all wanted?

The defense will be JUST FINE. Bo will coach these guys up, and keep in mind - we are starting our backup linebackers. Give them a few games to work before declaring “I’m scared”.

Look at Ole Miss, Florida, Texas, and Oklahoma. Now tell me that our debut wasn’t more impressive than all of theirs. Oklahoma beat UTAH freaking STATE by 7 points. That is a problem….Houston (nutt) hass a SERIOUS problem on his hands.

11-3 and a Big 12 Championship are reasonable expectations. Should be perform better than that, then enjoy it. 5-6 and 5-7 were not that long ago.


This year against WKU:

WKU had 179 rushing yards and 120 passing yards for a total of 299 yards in 62 plays. This equates to an average of 4.82 yards per play. Final Score 49-10.

Last year against Florida Atlantic, we surrendered122 rushing yards and 236 passing yards for a total of 358 yards on 76 plays. This equates to 4.71 yards per play. Final Score 49-3.

Last year, we had the best defense we have had since the 90’s.

We performed about as well this year as we did last year.

We are not “in trouble”. Yes, Kansas State looks particularly troublesome at this time. The game is on Thurssday night in Manhattan. Thursday night games are more often than not an UPSET. It may be the hardest game we play all year.

Stand down….I am sure they have it under control.

“if the defense plays like that against K-State, they’ll lose”  Seriously?  Even if the defense were to play like that against Grandpa Bill and the Mildcats, they would win 35-7.  C’mon people, keep your eye on the ball, it’s the first game!

Tad you did give a good stat. I hope we are as good as last year in D because i still don’t trust the offense. As you all know the champion of sun belt is a third string quarterback this year

Martinez didn’t throw deep down misleading.  Other 2 did
Too many dump passes.

people need to not worry. remember this was our first game of the season. we got some new players out there, some in their first games ever (david, whaley). there was a little miscommunication calling in plays and players out of position in the 2nd half. bo knows what he’s doing guys and trust in him to fix the problem as i know he will. 1st game jitters are now outta the way. practice makes perfect as we will keep getting better as a team. also loved taylor martinez explosiveness in the first game, even if it was against western kentucky, remember hes also a freshman is MIND BLOWING FAST!

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