Commentary

Summer Stock: Nebraska

Potential improvements on D and at QB have Huskers as Big Ten front-runners

Originally Published: June 2, 2011
By Vince Verhei | ESPN Insider
Taylor MartinezTom Pennington/Getty ImagesThe Huskers will likely need to keep Taylor Martinez healthy to win big in 2011.

This article is part of our Summer Stock series, a three-week look at the programs generating the most buzz coming out of spring practice.

Nebraska Cornhuskers

Roy Helu Jr. set a Cornhuskers record with 307 rushing yards last October against the Missouri Tigers, but ironically, that game marked the beginning of the end for Nebraska's running-game dominance. A leg injury kept freshman quarterback Taylor Martinez out of the second half of that contest, and though he'd be in and out of the lineup for the rest of the season, the Cornhuskers' ground game was never the same again.

Martinez's mobility is the engine that powers the Nebraska offense, and they're not the same team when their quarterback is at less than 100 percent. When the Missouri contest ended, the Cornhuskers were 7-1 and averaging 295 rushing yards per game. After Martinez's injury, they went just 3-3, and never went over 265 yards on the ground.

A closer look at the numbers shows just how badly Martinez played after his injury -- and also how he has the potential to have a true breakout season if he can stay healthy.


To read more about potential improvements for Taylor Martinez and the Huskers' defense, and how they could lead to Nebraska winning a Big Ten title, become an ESPN Insider today.