Nebraska football coach Bo Pelini said he was somewhat embarassed by his team’s 17-3 win over FCS’ South Dakota State on Saturday. I’m not sure I can blame the players for what looked like a bit of a letdown.
For starters, Taylor Martinez looked like a true freshman on Saturday. Nebraska turned the ball over three times
, including two interceptions from Martinez and he fumbled his first snap of the game. We know the talent Martinez has, but it also shows that fine line that if you overlook an opponent and don’t prepare the right way every week, the results can be damaging.
It was the first in four games for Martinez as a starter that he did not rush for over 100 yards. Martinez passed for 140 yards on 6 of 14 passing and rushed for another 75 yards. Nebraska rushed for just 205 yards as a team. Meanwhile, South Dakota State finished 236 yards of total offense against Nebraska.
Kyle Minett, SDSU’s most decorated running back had a big hand in the Jackrabbits’ plays, running for 113 yards on 28 carries and catching five passes.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Huskers scored on consecutive possessions in the second quarter getting touchdowns from Rex Burkhead and Kyle Reed. Up 14-3 in the fourth quarter, things got scary. SDSU’ Derek Domino ran back Martinez’s second interception 66 yards for a touchdown, but Andy Mink was called for an illegal block and what would have made the game 14-10 was then nullified.
After that pick, Martinez was replaced by Cody Green. “He made bad decisions, and he didn’t execute the offense the way he has been. Why? I don’t know,” Pelini said. “He’s a young guy, and he didn’t respond very well. But it goes well beyond the quarterback position.”
I’m willing to give Martinez and the Huskers a free pass considering what I’ve seen in three of the four games this non-conference schedule leads me to believe NU overlooked this team. However, with a Big 12 schedule that features road games to K-State and Okie State and home games against Texas and Missouri in the first half of Big 12 play, there can be no more overlooking and/or under preparing.