Huskers to play Michigan for share of Legends lead
After rallying late to win at Northwestern, Nebraska will play
for a share of the Big Ten Legends Division lead when Michigan
visits Lincoln this Saturday night.
The Cornhuskers (5-2, 2-1) defeated the Wildcats 29-28 Saturday
thanks to Taylor Martinez’s big fourth quarter and despite three
turnovers and eight penalties.
So it’s one down and five to go for the Huskers to meet coach Bo
Pelini’s challenge – issued after a 25-point loss at Ohio State two
weeks ago – to win their final six regular-season games.
”I firmly believe we can win `em all,” he said after
Saturday’s game in Evanston, Ill. ”We can play with anybody we
play with. We can’t do the things we did today. We pulled this one
out. A lot of the issues we had were self-induced. You’re not
always going to be able to come back and make that kind of
Michigan (5-2, 3-0) will head to Nebraska on a three-game win
streak after a 12-10 victory over Michigan State.
The game figures to be an entertaining matchup between two of
the nation’s top dual-threat quarterbacks in Martinez and Denard
Last year the Wolverines capitalized on three Nebraska turnovers
to win 45-17 in Ann Arbor.
Turnovers have been a problem for the Huskers the past two
seasons, and they probably would have cost Nebraska the game
against Northwestern if the defense hadn’t held strong.
Northwestern converted only one of Nebraska’s fumbles into
points and went three-and-out on 10 possessions. The Wildcats had
301 total yards, but 106 of them came on two scoring plays.
Still, the Huskers were forced to erase a 12-point deficit and
match their biggest fourth-quarter comeback in school history.
The Huskers, who rallied from 17 points down in the third
quarter to beat Wisconsin, were down 28-16 with 8 minutes left.
Martinez completed 9 of 10 passes while leading touchdown drives of
80 and 76 yards for the lead. He finished 27 of 39 for 342
”It’s one of my top (games), I’d say,” Martinez said.
Martinez pulled the Huskers within 28-23 when he threw a
perfectly placed ball into the corner of the end zone, where Taariq
Allen won the jump ball for his second career catch and first for a
”Great throw, great catch,” Pelini said. ”To get his feet
in… It was contested. Heck of a play by the young man.”
Nebraska’s defense forced yet another three-and-out to set up
the winning drive.
”Everyone knew we were going to score a touchdown,” Martinez
said. ”You could feel it throughout the offense. We knew if we got
the chance we’d score again.”
Martinez hit Quincy Enunwa with a couple big passes before
throwing 7 yards to Ben Cotton off play-action for the go-ahead TD
with 2:08 left.
Northwestern had a chance to regain the lead with just over a
minute left, but Jeff Budzien’s 53-yarder was off the mark.
Pelini, who had been seen screaming at players on the sideline
and into his headset throughout the game, raised his arms and broke
into a big smile as officials signaled Budzien’s attempt sailed
”I thought it was a good team win,” he said. ”I was
frustrated with getting ourselves in that situation in the first
place. We’ve got to use this momentum and we’ve got to keep
working. It’s the second half of the year, and we’re starting a new
season. We got one here on the road and we have to keep
Martinez pushed his career passing total to 5,335 yards, making
him the fourth player in school history to go over 5,000 yards
The junior also is the 18th player in Bowl Subdivision history
with 5,000 career passing yards and 2,000 career rushing yards, and
he’s just the seventh to reach the milestone before his senior
”Taylor overall played a pretty outstanding football game,”
Pelini said. ”He was poised the whole time. He kept his poise
better than his head coach did.”