This game was the best offensive game in the Pelini Era, according to Yahoo! Sports, racking up a monstrous 632 yards of total offense. And, it wasn't just that Nebraska was relying on Burkhead and Martinez running, Burkhead went down with an injury, and Martinez only rushed for 10 yards.
Ten different receivers caught at least one pass during the game, as Taylor Martinez threw for career highs of 354 yards passing and five touchdown passes.
But, it's not like the running game disappeared with Burkhead's injury. Backup running backs Ameer Abdullah, Imani Cross and Braylon Heard ran for 81, 62 and 34 yards, respectively, to complement Burkhead's 68 yards.
With such a dominant performance, you have to give credit to the offensive line. They were just overwhelming the defense of Southern Miss and giving Martinez plenty of time to make the throws he needed.
Martinez looked like a whole new quarterback from last season—making great throws, reading the defense and waiting for the open man. I was really impressed with his decision-making and working on his passing skills over the offseason. It paid off with his impressive performance. And for those of you who mocked Martinez's goal of a 70 percent completion rate, according to WOWT Channel 6, Martinez completed 76 percent.
The defense didn't do that great, but to be fair, they didn't know what they would be facing. Southern Miss used three quarterbacks in the game. The Golden Eagles used the read option very effectively, gashing the Huskers for 185 yards, but the passing game only mustered 75, and most of those came on screens.
The defense also recorded three sacks and one turnover, a fumble.
While the offense was dominant and the defense was good, the specials teams was bad.
All Big Ten kicker-punter Brett Maher missed two fields goals, kicked a kickoff out of bounds and his one punt of the day went 21 yards. eah. Also, the blown kickoff coverage led to a 100-yard return for a touchdown. The only bright spot was the return team got a few good returns. Other than that, a group that was supposed to be a strength for the Huskers is not looking so good.
Overall, this was a great game, but there was a few bad things. The special teams needs improvement, and—as reported by Omaha.com—there were injuries to starters Rex Burkhead (sprained MCL), WR Tim Marlowe (broken collarbone) and TE Ben Cotton (cartilage in ribs).
Burkhead is day-to-day and should be back sooner than later, and Cotton should be back next week. Marlowe will be out for at least a few weeks. While unfortunate to see a player injured, Nebraska is loaded at receiver, and Jamal Turner showed he can take Marlowe's place.
Next week, Nebraska travels to UCLA in Pasadena. Can the offense continue its dominance? Will the defense be better now that they play a team they have game film on? Will the special teams recover from this slump?
Tune in next week for the Huskers at UCLA! Go Big Red!
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