Coming into the football season for Taylor Martinez, the biggest question marks surrounded his play, mainly with his arm. Well, after just 50 minutes of play in the first game of the year, the Nebraska Cornhuskers‘ quarterback has firmly planted himself into the Heisman race.
Sure, it may be just a single game, but this was not the same Taylor Martinez that B1G 10 teams saw last year.
Poised, confident, and on-target passes was the name of the game for Martinez today. Martinez made a bold statement this off-season, saying he wanted to complete 70% of his passes. Today? 26 of 34, which is 76%.
You want to know what’s even scarier?
Martinez hardly ran the football. He only had six rushed for ten yards. Imagine how much scarier this offense can be when “T-Magic”, as Husker fans like to call him, decides to keep the football?
Martinez’s ankle has been bothersome since a game against the Missouri Tigers his freshmen year. Back at full strength, this is a different Martinez.
So what exactly did Martinez do today?
Martinez’s new mechanics were on show. Martinez completed 26 of 34 passes for 354 yards and five touchdowns, tying his career high. In the past, Martinez struggled on downfield passes. Today, Martinez made a number of great throws downfield, with two touchdown passes over 20 yards.
While I don’t have the breakdown on passes on Martinez, is certainly was impressive for the Husker quarterback. Martinez quickly went through progressions and found receivers. He made on-target throws with some zip on it.
And Martinez just put himself into the Heisman race.
Two years ago, Martinez put himself into the Heisman mix after he dominated the opposition with his legs before struggling down the stretch. This year, it could be his arm that puts him in contention. While Martinez will have to be more impressive with his legs, if he can put up similar passing numbers throughout the year, he could be on the watch list.
Martinez’s new found mechanics have made him a more complete player, a true dual-threat quarterback.
While there is still a long ways to this season, T-Magic is going to continue to impress, which is exactly what the Huskers need. And with Rex Burkhead possibly sidelined for the next few weeks, Martinez is going to be the focal point of this offense.