The Nebraska Cornhuskers got off to a great start to the football season with a 49-20 victory over the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles today. The first game of the year is a good measuring stick for the off-season work put in by the team, and if today is any indication, the Huskers had a great off-season.
Let’s take a look at some of the positives today for the Huskers.
Taylor Martinez Plays Like He Said He Would
Raise your hand if you said Martinez would transform this off-season into one of the best quarterbacks of the opening weekend? Keep your hand up if your lying.
T-Magic came out and absolutely stunned the crowd at Memorial stadium, much to the pleasure of Husker fans. Martinez stated his goal for the season would be to complete 70% of his passes. So what does he do today? Complete 76% of his passes (24 of 36) for 354 passing yards and five touchdowns.
Unlike the previous two years, Martinez went through progressions, made appropriate checks at the line, and surprisingly was throwing the ball on target with some zip. It was a completely different, and vastly improved T-Magic. Great news for Huskers fans.
Receivers Stepped Up
Quincy Enunwa earned the start for the Cornhuskers opposite Kenny Bell, and he showed why he deserved it. Six receptions and 70 yards later, Enunwa was the leading receiver by receptions and yards.
His teammates stepped up nicely for the Huskers, as five different players caught five touchdown passes from Martinez. Unlike last year, where receivers were dropping balls all over the place, I can’t recall a single drop. Tim Marlowe made a great effort on a slightly overthrown ball by Martinez, but it was just too far out of his reach. Besides that though, I don’t think there was a drop.
Kyler Reed was impressive today, blocking well and catching a touchdown pass from Martinez. Jamal Turner only caught two passes, but nearly turned a two yard gain into a long touchdown run, but had to settle for a 36 yard gain instead as he reversed field.
Running Backs Ran Well
The Cornhuskers racked up over 200 yards rushing today, Rex Burkhead and Taylor Martinez combined for just 78 yards of that. Even then, 57 of those 78 yards came on a touchdown run by Superman. After Burkhead left the game with a MCL injury, the trio took over.
Ameer Abdullah, the primary backup, ran well, though he really needs to bulk up to run in-between the tackles. He went down too easy at times.
Braylon Heard ran especially well, capping his day off with a 10 yard rushing touchdown to put the Huskers up 42-17 near the end of the third quarter.
True freshmen Imani Cross was also impressive in his Husker debut. Cross ran 11 times for 62 yards, most of the time between the tackles and running people over. He’s the type of back the Huskers haven’t had in a few years.
While the football season is just 60 minutes old, the Huskers have a lot of things going well for them right now.