Come on, was there any doubt this guy would be on the list? For the last three years, Taylor Martinez has been the barometer for Nebraska’s success. When he’s on (2010 Washington, Kansas State and Oklahoma State, 2011 Ohio State, 2012 Northwestern and Michigan State) he can win a game single-handedly. When he’s off (2010 Texas and Oklahoma, 2011 Wisconsin and Michigan, 2012 Ohio State), he can lose a game single-handedly.
But prior to last season, we saw how a combination of a second year in offensive coordinator Tim Beck’s scheme and his work with quarterback guru (does he have that on his business cards?) Steve Calhoun transformed Martinez. His completion percentage rose from 56.3 to 62 percent, his passing yardage rose from 2,089 to 2,871, and his touchdowns rose from 13 to 23.
Yes, Martinez is still a work in progress. His interceptions rose from eight in 2011 to 12 in 2012. His fumbles rose from 13 in 2011 to 16 in 2012—and in both years, he led the country in fumbles.
But in his senior season, with his last chance to put a trophy on the shelf and claim his place amongst the greats, ultimately it will be how Martinez performs in 2013 that will be the biggest indicator of how well Nebraska will do next year. I’m already on record as being all-in on Martinez putting it together and having a superlative 2013 campaign. But we’ll find out in about four months.
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