If you watched Nebraska’s season-opening trouncing of Southern Miss on Saturday and thought the Huskers looked different, you were right. For the first time since the 1980s, according to @HuskerExtraBC, Nebraska wore white shoes and socks in favor of their customary black ones. It was a minor tweak, but one Nebraska fans noticed.
Earlier Saturday, I offered my snap reactions from the Big Ten’s first four games. With the afternoon games now in the books, it’s time to share what I learned from Iowa, Nebraska, Purdue and Wisconsin’s wins. Nebraska and Purdue cruised to victory, however Iowa and Wisconsin both received stiff tests that went down to the wire. See my snap reactions from the afternoon games in this post.
Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez never threw more than two touchdowns in any game last season. In Saturday afternoon’s season opener against Southern Miss, the oft-criticized junior doubled that number with four scoring strikes. It was a career day for Martinez, who tied a career-high with five touchdown passes – also did it as a freshman against Oklahoma State – and set personal records for completions (26), completion percentage (76.5 percent) and yards (349). Watch all of Martinez’s scoring strikes now.
Taylor Martinez threw for a career-high 354 yards and matched his high with five touchdown passes to lead No. 17 Nebraska to a 49-20 victory over Southern Mississippi on Saturday. The Huskers won their nation-leading 27th straight opener. Nebraska played the last three quarters without Rex Burkhead. The 1,300-yard rusher last season went out with a sprained ligament in his left knee after opening the scoring with a career-long 57-yard run. Backup Ameer Abdullah ran 15 times for 81 yards and made an acrobatic catch for an 11-yard TD.
Nebraska is set to cruise control as it leads by a score of 42-17 at the end of the third quarter. The Huskers held Southern Miss to 15 yards through the air during the quarter. Nebraska, which is currently on a 21-point run, opened up the lead, 35-17, after Taylor Martinez and Kyler Reed combined for an 18-yard touchdown to end a seven-play, 77-yard drive.
Nebraska’s aerial assault is on point, as the Cornhuskers now lead 28-17 thanks to 150 passing yards in the quarter. Nebraska’s Taylor Martinez threw for 150 yards and two touchdowns in the quarter. Southern Miss tied the game at 14 after Chris Campbell and Dominique Sullivan hooked up for a 24-yard touchdown to end an 11-play, 73-yard drive. The Cornhuskers broke the 14-14 tie when Martinez and Jake Long combined for a nine-yard touchdown to clinch an 11-play, 59-yard scoring drive. A 49-yard drive that ended when Corey Acosta drilled a 44-yard field goal helped the Golden Eagles narrow the deficit to 21-17.
No. 16 Nebraska scored 14 points in the quarter, and the Cornhuskers lead 14-7 at the end of the first quarter. Nebraska threw for 97 yards and ran for 108 yards in the quarter. The Cornhuskers struck first when Rex Burkhead turned a handoff into a 57-yard touchdown, the final play of a four-play, 69-yard drive. Nebraska opened up the lead, 14-7, after marching down the field for a 10-play, 85-yard drive that ended when Taylor Martinez found Kenny Bell open for a 26-yard touchdown pass.
This is the first edition of a new weekly post where I will look at one key question for each team in a piece called: 12 Teams, 12 Questions. I’ll roll these out every Tuesday and look forward to hearing what you think about your team and your team’s games.
Find out more about: 12 Teams & 12 Questions, Illinois vs. Western Michigan, Indiana vs. Indiana State, Iowa vs. Northern Illinois, Michigan State vs. Boise State, Michigan vs. Alabama, Minnesota vs. UNLV, Nebraska vs. S. Mississippi, Northwestern vs. Syracuse, Ohio State vs. Miami (OH), Penn State vs. Ohio, Purdue vs. Eastern Kentucky, Wisconsin vs. Northern Iowa