Big 12 Football

Heisman Race: Taylor Martinez Needs Huge Game Against Texas

SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 18: Quarterback Taylor Martinez #3 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers rushes for an 80 yard touchdown run in the third quarter against the Washington Huskies on September 18, 2010 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington. The Cornhuskers defeated the Huskies 56-21.(Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Andrew RobesonAnalyst IIOctober 12, 2010

So the Nebraska Cornhuskers have their second legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate in two years.

But can Taylor Martinez actually win this thing?

Sure, but a few things need to happen.

Martinez took a huge step in the right direction by destroying the first Big XII opponent he faced, rushing for 241 yards and four touchdowns. He also added 128 passing yards and a passing touchdown with no interceptions.

It was an added bonus that this game was on national television: With no other games on to compete with, the nation got introduced to Martinez, and he wowed them.

Now he needs to follow it up.

What better way than to beat Texas, something the Huskers have focused on since last year's controversial Big XII Championship game.

Martinez has already compiled 1,397 total yards and 15 touchdowns through just five games this year.

But for Martinez to win the Heisman, the Huskers can't just beat Texas; they need to crush them with their freshman quarterback leading the way.

Texas boasts the sixth-best defense in the nation; if Martinez can dominate them, then he will have passed his hardest test.

Let's be frank: Nobody left on the 'Huskers schedule has an incredible defense.

Missouri's defense could be good, but with their best game coming against Illinois, it is unproven.

Texas A&M seems to have a legitimate defense as they were able to contain Arkansas last week. But if they lose a few more games, will their spirit be broken by the time Nebraska arrives in late November?

I don't know how good Missouri and Texas A&M's defenses are, but I do know that Texas has more talent on their defense than anyone else that Nebraska faces in Big XII play.

If Martinez can run over them, he won't stop running for the rest of the year.

Martinez needs to dominate the soft defenses of Oklahoma State, Iowa State, Kansas and Colorado. Which means he can't afford another South Dakota State letdown.

Heisman voters love winners, and so far the 'Huskers have been winning.

If they keep winning and Martinez keeps leading the way, who is to say he won't edge out Kellen Moore, Terrelle Pryor, LaMichael James and Cam Newton? (Yes, I know I omitted Denard Robinson! He won't last in the Big Ten—did you not watch last week?)

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