QB Martinez key to Nebraska's rallies

2012-11-21T19:42:00Z 2012-12-08T21:28:05Z QB Martinez key to Nebraska's ralliesSteve Batterson The Quad-City Times
November 21, 2012 7:42 pm  • 

IOWA CITY — A resilient attitude personified in the play of a junior quarterback has positioned Nebraska to play for a spot in the Big Ten championship game when it visits Iowa on Friday.

“Nothing less than four full quarters of effort and energy is what it’s going to take,” Hawkeye cornerback Micah Hyde said. “We know that, because we know that is how they play the game.”

Quarterback Taylor Martinez has engineered fourth-quarter comebacks in each of the Huskers’ past two Big Ten road games.

Nebraska overcame a 28-16 deficit with just over 8 minutes left in the game to win at Northwestern 29-28, and two weeks later the Cornhuskers erased Michigan State’s 24-14 lead midway through the fourth quarter to win 28-24.

In four of the team’s six Big Ten victories this season, Nebraska has rallied from double-digit deficits to win.

“They’re resilient,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “So whatever the circumstance, they’ve handled it pretty well outside of a couple of early-season things.”

This year’s Nebraska team is one of four in the Football Bowl Subdivision level since 1996 to overcome four double-digit deficits to win, and two of this season’s comeback victories rank among the top-five rallies in Nebraska’s history.

Iowa played Northwestern the week after Nebraska rallied for its win over the Wildcats, providing Ferentz with a glimpse of the Cornhuskers’ comeback abilities.

“They overcame the mistakes that they made in that game, but that’s what good teams do,” Ferentz said. “You could see they had belief in their system, the way they overcame things. That says a lot about the resiliency of their players.”

Ferentz believes Martinez is the critical component.

Always a threat to run with the ball, he has gained accuracy with his arm and is putting together a record-setting season for the third straight year.

Martinez established single-season records for a freshman and a sophomore the past two years and has 3,212 yards of total offense this season, the second-best effort by a Cornhuskers player.

He averages 292 yards of total offense per game to lead the Big Ten and ranks 26th nationally, complementing 2,420 passing yards with the 792 he has gained on the ground.

“Their quarterback is playing at a much higher level now than he was a year ago, and he was playing well last year,” Ferentz said.

Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald watched Martinez elevate his game during Nebraska’s fourth-quarter comeback in Evanston.

“He was a dynamic player in the fourth quarter of that game, and we saw him do the same thing to Michigan State as we prepared for them,” Fitzgerald said. “He definitely showed a sense of urgency when everything was on the line. It wasn’t much fun being on the other sideline, but it was impressive.”

Coach Bo Pelini wishes things would come a little easier for the Cornhuskers.

“It was nice to not be sweating things out in the fourth quarter,” Pelini said, referring to his team’s 38-14 win over Minnesota last Saturday. “We don’t get that chance often in this conference.”

Pelini said Nebraska has put itself in a position to rally.

“Our mistakes have been one of the common threads to every game we’ve had to come from behind,” he said. “We’ve put ourselves in some tough situations, but the guys believe in each other, believe they can handle those situations. That helps, although I’m not sure if I can handle much more of it.”

The Cornhuskers’ first rally came in its first Big Ten game of the season.

Nebraska overcame a 27-10 deficit to Wisconsin less than 5 minutes into the third quarter to win, 30-27.

“Once you’ve done it once, the players begin to believe they can do it again,” Pelini said. “It develops confidence, and when we have found ourselves in those situations again, there is no sense of panic. They just keep working and so far, it has worked out.”

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Football schedule

2015 Hawkeyes (0-0)

Date Opponent Time/result
9/5/2015 Illinois State 11 a.m.
9/12/2015 at Iowa State 3:30 p.m.
9/19/2015 Pittsburgh 7 p.m.
9/26/2015 North Texas TBA
10/3/2015 at Wisconsin TBA
10/10/2015 Illinois 11 a.m.
10/17/2015 at Northwestern 11 a.m.
10/31/2015 Maryland TBA
11/7/2015 at Indiana TBA
11/14/2015 Minnesota 7 p.m.
11/21/2015 Purdue TBA
11/27/2015 at Nebraska TBA

Past schedules

2014 Hawkeyes (7-6)

Date Opponent Time/result
8/30/2014 Northern Iowa W 31-23
9/6/2014 Ball State W 17-13
9/13/2014 Iowa State L 20-17
9/20/2014 at Pittsburgh W 24-20
9/27/2014 at Purdue W 24-10
10/11/2014 Indiana W 45-29
10/18/2014 at Maryland L 38-31
11/1/2014 Northwestern W 48-7
11/8/2014 at Minnesota L 51-14
11/15/2014 at Illinois W 30-14
11/22/2014 Wisconsin  L 26-24
11/28/2014 Nebraska L 37-34
1/2/2015 Tennessee L 45-28


Trophy case: Empty

Hawkeyes bowl history

1957 Rose   Oregon State W 35-19
1959 Rose   California W 38-12
1982 Rose   Washington L 28-0
1982 Peach   Tennessee W 28-22
1983 Gator   Florida L 14-6
1984 Freedom   Texas W 55-17
1986 Rose   UCLA L 45-28
1986 Holiday   SDSU W 39-38
1987 Holiday   Wyoming W 20-19
1988 Peach   NC State L 28-23
1991 Rose   Washington L 46-34
1991 Holiday   BYU T 13-13
1993 Alamo   California L 37-3
1995 Sun   Washington W 38-18
1996 Alamo   Texas Tech W 27-0
1997 Sun   Arizona State L 17-7
2001 Alamo   Texas Tech W 19-16
2003 Orange   USC L 38-17
2004 Outback   Florida W 37-17
2005 Capital One LSU W 30-25
2006 Outback   Florida L 31-24
2006 Alamo   Texas L 26-24
2009 Outback   South Carolina W 31-10
2010 Orange   Georgia Tech W 24-14
2010 Insight   Missouri W 27-24
2011 Insight   Oklahoma L 31-14
2014 Outback   LSU L 21-14
2015 TaxSlayer   Tennessee L 45-28