09.09.2010 / All eyes were on T Magic... Blog posting by Mike Babcock, Huskers Illustrated Magazine.
Nebraska football fans imagined Taylor Martinez would be special based on limited information gleaned during the Red White intrasquad game last spring. Reality matched the build up this time.
"Less than 4 minutes into the game, on the Huskers third play from scrimmage, Martinez carried for the first time. He ran 46 yards for a touchdown."
That was their only glimpse of the redshirted freshman quarterback from Corona, Calif. And an intrasquad scrimmage, even played under game conditions, isn’t nearly the same.
So when Martinez was announced as the starter prior to Nebraska's opening game against Western Kentucky, anticipation quickly grew, tempered by the uncertainty of how he would respond, under Saturday-night lights, with 85,555 looking on – Memorial Stadium's consecutive sellout No. 305.
They didn’t have to wait long. Less than 4 minutes into the game, on the Huskers' third play from scrimmage, Martinez "T-Magic" carried for the first time. He ran 46 yards for a touchdown.
When Nebraska offensive coordinator Shawn Watson saw the opening, "Oh, he was gone. You don't give him a little opening," said Watson. "You get a little opening, it's over."
"I don't know how fast he is. No one around here does." Martinez is "football fast," Watson said. Give him "an inch, he'll kill you." Before the night was finished, Martinez, the first Husker freshman ever to start an opener at quarterback, had run for two more touchdowns and gained 127 yards on only seven carries. He also completed his first five passes and finished 9 of 15 for 136 yards through the air.
It seemed apparent why he had won the competition with sophomore Cody Green and senior Zac Lee for the starting job. "I thought he was really a cool customer, very poised," said Watson.
Turns out, Martinez was told on the Monday before the game that he would be the starter. It was a well-kept secret, finally divulged on the big screens at Memorial Stadium a few minutes before the opening kickoff. "I got chills throughout my body, which is pretty cool," Martinez said.
"I was glad that the fans wanted me to start." Though he didn't disappoint, he wasn't overly impressed with what he had done. "It was all right," he said. "I can play a lot better."
Oh yes, Nebraska won the game 49-10. But the topic of conversation was Martinez, the flashy redshirted freshman who transformed the hype into reality.
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What did you think of the Husker's performance this past weekend? Do you think Taylor should be the starting Quarterback? Come on Husker fans, let us know what you think of the game...
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