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C O M M E N T A R Y
J U S T I N   P R E S T I D G E
October 10, 2010
This Just-In...

Magical Martinez Manhandles Mismatched Wildcats
in Manhattan. Nebraska runs over K-State 48-13.

Player(s) of the Game: Taylor Martinez, 5-7, 128 yds, 15 car, 241 yds, 5 Total TD (4 Rushing)
 

For Martinez, this offense is Taylor made… From Zone Read to Kyler Reed, it is becoming more evident that T-Magic, T-Mart or just simply Martinez is not a fluke. We appear to have found something special in the redshirt freshman. Thursday night, in front of a national audience, Martinez had Nebraska fans partying like it was 1999. Guess someone forgot to tell Pelini that is was Bill Snyder’s birthday. Pelini’s Huskers responded with a retro beat-down for ole time’s sake. How’s that for a going-away present? At least Snyder still has a stadium named after him.

Martinez sliced through the Cats defense easier than a Ginsu knife through jello (or my hand – but that is another story) en route to a QB school record 241 yards rushing. He is making it look easy – so easy, in fact, you could almost hear the play call from the huddle. “OK, guys, everyone block somebody and I’m gonna run that play where I outrun everyone to the endzone. On two ... Break.” Martinez made a statement on Thursday; it is still very early in the season, but he has given this Nebraska offense much-needed life and has put NU in position to do something it hasn’t done since ’99 – win a conference title, and possibly, a national championship.

Watson has stitched together a very efficient, explosive offense this year. Give him credit – those sewing classes are finally starting to pay off. Let’s just hope he has left room for Martinez to grow – we all know how quickly kids grow up these days.

 
“Hey, open up. It’s me, Dave. I got the stuff” “Who?” “It’s me, Dave”… “Dave’s not here”

For you Cheech and Chong fans (I know there are some of you out there), we can officially say that Dave … or Lavonte David … is officially here. He came into the game as the Big 12’s leading tackler, and added 16 tackles, with a sack, to his 2010 resume. Watching him play reminds me a bit of another standout linebacker we had, one Demorrio Williams – he turned out to be pretty good as well.

It may be the scheme, and he is sometimes caught out of position, but his pure athletic ability allows him to work himself back into the play and he doesn’t appear to overthink things; rather, he reacts to what is going on in front of him. Count me as one of the skeptical ones coming into the season about this defense, and while they are not as dominant up front, the secondary is stellar, and if we can get some of our other LBs healthy, this unit will do just fine. They are not left out there to do it all by themselves – Martinez & Co. are providing ample support.

Bigger tests are coming. Texas, Mizzou, and Okie State are on the horizon and will provide a good measure of where this defense is when faced with having to stop an above-average to good offense. Note to Pelini: tell Dave to continue to pursue the ball carrier … and stay away from any green smoking vans…

 
David Volk, Stray Dogs and Power Bracelets

Saturday night I had the fortune – through a new friend (thanks, Linda!) – to meet and chat with David Volk, a standout offensive lineman for NU from 1997 to 2001. It was great to reminisce about the recent resurgence of NU football and get a first-hand demonstration of the benefits of the magical Power Bracelet. Fighting through the random stray dog that somehow dug its way under his fence, causing havoc with his dog, who is strangely just as large as Dave, added some great humor to the evening. Thanks for the hospitality and making a great evening even better.

 
In Conclusion …

Nebraska decided to make the most of the nationally televised game Thursday and used it to reiterate Pelini’s comments after the Holiday Bowl last year that “Nebraska is back, and we are here to stay.” The offense has found a groove, although the passing game is still a bit suspect. Hopefully the days of running for 300 yards will become the norm and the passing game will not need to be perfect to pound opponents into submission.

Now comes the meat of Nebraska’s schedule. A few weeks ago I speculated that the NU-Texas game would be a matchup of two top-10 teams. Seems my forecasting abilities are a tad rusty. Texas is still a solid team with some offensive problems, which bodes well for our defense. They are still loaded with athletes, and NU can ill afford to be lulled by their 3-2 record. Both Missouri and Oklahoma State will likely be ranked when Nebraska plays them. Three strong wins here and we can start to have serious conversations about a national championship run.

It appears we have a good recipe this year, and a midseason offensive game of musical chairs will not be necessary (thank goodness). Getting a few extra days to rest up and prepare for this rough stretch in the schedule has come at a good time. Nebraska has become exciting – explosive, even. History tends to be cyclical, and we always hear it repeats itself. Maybe that is what we are seeing – it was only a matter of time …

GO BIG RED!


Born and raised in Scottsbluff, Justin Prestidge is currently holding a low profile deep in the heart of Texas. A die hard Husker fan, he has been following Big Red Football for over 20 years and has been a member of the North Texas Nebraskans for the last 10. You can e-mail him here.