The Nebraska Cornhuskers have a problem. They have a good line, on both offense and defense, and while their linebackers are young, they are deep and play physical. Even on the outside, their secondary can be strong in the one-on-one game.
The talent is there, but yet, when the game counts, Nebraska falls apart. Nebraska had the game in hand, all they had to do was play smart and within themselves. It didn’t even seem like the high-powered UCLA Bruins’ offense could muster a comeback, they would need the help of Nebraska to complete it.
Eight penalties and one turnover later, Nebraska handed the UCLA a big win on the road. It wasn’t just the penalties, shaky play from quarterback Taylor Martinez — deemed one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation — also doomed the Cornhuskers. Neither of Martinez’s “threats” were on display, showing below average on most throws over six yards.
He did have a highlight reel touchdown throw to Kenny Bell in the end zone, but that was more attributed to Bell going up and getting the ball. Martinez finished with 21 completions in 35 attempts (60 percent) but only had a 5.8 yards per attempt. The running wasn’t there either, as he finished in the negative at -10 yards on 15 carries. He did have -20-yard rush to his credit after falling on a fumble, so that would have killed his average.
Even without the loss, Martinez still couldn’t take control of his offensive lines dominance in the first half, nor did he create any space for himself. Not something you want to hear for one of the nation’s top dual-threat quarterbacks.
Martinez is a good quarterback, but more of a game manager with a great pair of legs — ask him to beat you with his arm and it won’t happen. No matter how much you base your spread offense on running the ball, it’s still a spread offense, and you need a quarterback that can keep opponents honest with their arm, something Martinez will not do.
Nebraska will always be Nebraska, and they will continue to pull in the recruits, especially playing in the Big 10, but until they put a quarterback behind center that is actually a “dual-threat” quarterback, it’s not going to happen.