After Thursday night’s 48-13 win for the 6th ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers over Kansas State, one thing became evident in the Big 12…not all 4-0 teams are created equal. In fact, some could argue it’s just not fair. Husker quarterback Taylor Martinez set a school record for rushing yards by a QB by racking up 241 yards against a slow, underperforming Wildcats’ defense. Martinez found the end zone four times in the Huskers rout.
The previous record was 236 yards set by Jammal Lord in 2002 against Texas. The record was broken in the fourth quarter when peeled off his fourth and final touchdown in the fourth quarter of 41 yards.
Martinez accounted for the Huskers first three touchdowns with his feet and they became more impressive as the night went on. NU took a 7-0 lead on a 14 yard run by Martinez and a 14-3 lead with just over five minutes to play in the first half when Martinez scored from 35 yards out. A late Alex Henery field goal made it a 17-3 halftime game.
That’s when the offense started to click. K-State looked like they would force a NU punt on the first series of the third quarter. Martinez turned the wrong way on what looked to be a handoff to Roy Helu Jr. Instead Martinez was stopped for a no-gain. On second down, Martinez looked for Niles Paul who was covered deep and overthrew him. Then on third and ten, Martinez took the snap, followed his big line straight up the middle on a four man rush and took off for an 80 yard touchdown as the Huskers put up 21 points on a total of six plays.
“Pretty much everything we ran was clicking pretty good,” Martinez said. “I was making the right reads. I just do what I can do — make plays.”
Right after that, following a K-State punt, Roy Helu rattled off a 68 yard touchdown run. After a K-State field goal made the score 31-6, Martinez found Kyler Reed for a 79 yard touchdown with the safeties frozen waiting for Martinez to run. Martinez was just 5 of 7 for 128 yards.
More credit needs to go around, especially on the offensive line. I’m taking the South Dakota State game out of the equation as an oversight and lack of focus. When this unit is focused and prepared to play as I expect the rest of the Big 12 season, there is no better line in the conference. These guys were blowing K-State defenders off the line, much like they did at Washington.
Remember, the Wildcats came in this game ranked second behind NU in rushing yards per game in the conference and 22nd in the country, yet the Blackshirts held their top back Daniel Thomas, who was averaging 157 yards per game to just 63 yards on 22 carries.
The Huskers were ready for their first challenge in their final tour of Big 12 duty. “We are going to play all of these teams in the Big 12 for one last time in the near future,” Nebraksa coach Bo Pelini said. “So there is probably motivation there on both sides.”