Taylor Martinez: Nebraska QB Rips Wildcats, Enters Thick of Heisman Race

Tom BaerCorrespondent IOctober 8, 2010

LINCOLN, NEBRASKA - SEPTEMBER 25: Nebraska Cornhuskers quarterback Taylor Martinez #3 tries to slip South Dakota State Jackrabbits cornerback Cole Brodie #21during second half action of their game at Memorial Stadium on September 25, 2010 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska Defeated South Dakota State 17-3. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
Eric Francis/Getty Images

No freshman has ever raised the Heisman Trophy...until 2010?

After scampering for 241 yards and scoring five touchdowns (four running, one throwing) in No. 6 Nebraska's defanging of previously unbeaten Kansas State in Manhattan, Kan., Thursday night, Husker QB Taylor Martinez suddenly finds himself inside the marrow of the Heisman race.

While fellow speedster Denard Robinson of Michigan currently has a monopoly on college football's most prized individual award, Martinez is closing fast. In front of a national ESPN audience, the 6'1" redshirt frosh zipped through the Wildcats secondary all evening, often untouched, to the final tune of 48-13.

How spectacular was the Cornhusker signal-caller Thursday? Martinez rushed for the most yards and tied the mark for rushing TDs by a Nebraska quarterback. Consider that those new records are for a program traditionally known for QBs with running ability (Tommy Frazier, anyone?).

But it's not just the K-State contest. Martinez's statistics through five games (all wins) are as follows:

RUSHING: 68 CAR, 737 YDS, 10.8 YPC, 12 TD, 147.4 YPG

PASSING: 39 of 64, 660 YDS, 3 TD, 3 INT, 153.66 RAT

Perhaps a 2010 Heisman is a bit too much to ask for a freshman, especially when dual-threat quarterbacks enjoying monster seasons are a dime a dozen in 2010 (Robinson, Terrelle Pryor, Cameron Newton, Colin Kaepernick et al.).

Nonetheless, if Martinez and Nebraska continue stomping opponents and finish undefeated, voters have no choice but to take note.

In the end, when December hits, chances are that Robinson, barring injury or a major Wolverine meltdown, will hoist the Heisman. Before calling the race a done deal, however, watch some tape of Taylor Martinez versus Kansas State or any other opponent.

If you're not convinced in 2010, you will be by the winter of 2011.