Taylor Martinez looked about as good throwing the ball as he ever has, completing 26 of 34 passes for a career-high 354 yards and five touchdowns Saturday as he led Nebraska to a 49-20 win over Southern Mississippi.
It was a timely performance, since Rex Burkhead got hurt, John Papuchis struggled through first-game confusion as defensive coordinator and the normally solid Cornhusker kicking game pretty much fell apart.
Here's is my 1-2-3 for this week. (Talkback and tell us what you think.)
1. It quickly became evident that USM has as much team speed as the Huskers. That was the bad news.
The good news was that the Husker defense adapted in the second half, allowing just 108 total yards and holding the Golden Eagles to just three points. But the Huskers gave up 185 rushing yards, and the defensive line certainly cannot be considered a strength.
2. Hopefully, this is a game that Kearney’s Brett Maher will be able to completely erase from his memory, because missing 44- and 41-yard field goals and shanking his only punt for 21 yards is a lousy way to start the season for a returning All-Big Ten kicker.
3. Burkhead’s strained left knee ligaments gave his backups plenty of playing time. Ameer Abdullah, Braylon Heard and Imani Cross combined for 29 carries.
All three backup I-backs had their good moments, but it looks to me like Cross has the most potential as an every-down type of back, with Abdullah still more of an east-west runner who can make an occasional big play.
Tad Stryker is the former sports editor of the North Platte Bulletin and provides analysis after each Husker football game for Bulletin readers. Stryker also writes for HuskerMax. (http://www.huskermax.com.)