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Overall Game Grade: C-
Taylor Martinez’s incredible 76-yard touchdown run in the first quarter made it seem like his interception on the Cornhuskers first play of the game was going to be a one-time thing and that he would be able to keep up with the Badgers scoring.
Martinez still had a sensational 76-yard scramble that came just after a delay of game penalty following a Badgers defensive formation that seemed to confuse the Cornhuskers offense, and helped keep the team in the game through the first quarter. On the next drive following his touchdown run, Martinez hit Kyler Reed for a 16-yard catch, rushed for an 18-yard gain and found Quincy Eunanwa for a 13-yard pickup that set-up a field goal. He found Eunanwa again for a 26-yard completion late in the quarter.
After that, however, things well down hill.
Martinez struggled to get anything going in the second quarter, and ended the team’s only drive that was moving downfield when he lost a fumble. After showing his athleticism in the first quarter, Martinez completed just three passes and rushed for just 12 yards in the second quarter.
The third quarter started with Martinez being intercepted on the third play of the opening drive. However, he did manage to rush for an 11-yard touchdown on the second drive of the quarter, after the Cornhuskers had marched 75 yards from their own 25-yard line. Besides a 17-yard pass to Rex Burkhead later in the quarter, Martinez was not able to spark any big plays for the Cornhuskers.
Martinez had a 28-yard run in the fourth quarter and a 10-yard completion to Jamal Turner to help set-up two scores, but it was not nearly enough to overcome the deficit that had been created throughout the game.
After his first quarter highlight reel play, it seemed as if Martinez would be able to find success against the Badgers defense and get the Cornhuskers back into the game. However, two interceptions and a fumble combined with a defense that was not able to slow down the Badgers scoring made Martinez’s task even more difficult.
Martinez completed 17 of 33 passes for 184 yards, and rushed for 140 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries.
Martinez made good use of play-action calls early to find holes in the Badgers defense, but his accuracy seemed to falter as the game went on, as multiple throws were thrown short of the receivers.