Sunday, October 2, 2011

Could We See That Game Happening?

My shoulder was aching badly, so as it barked at 6 am this morning I decided to get up. I watched the "welcome to the Big 10, Nebby" beatdown by Wisconsin and began to wonder could we should have predicted that Russell Wilson would outduel the wunderkind Taylor Martinez?

Perhaps. Russell is a transfer senior from NC State while Martinez is a sophomore. Martinez has played 6 games against teams in the top 25 and Russel 5, including last night. Here are their combined performances vs. top 25 teams:

Martinez: 119 attempts, 67 completions, 927 yds, 6 TD, 5 INT passing, 89 carries for 195 yards and 1 TD rushing
Russell: 151 attempts, 87 completions, 1125 yds, 8 TD, 3 INT passing, 51 carries for 124 yds and 4 TD rushing

The game that put Martinez on the map last year was against Oklahoma St in which he threw for five touchdowns and ran for 119 yards. If that game is removed from Martinez's resume, we could see this coming. Why? Look at the rushing numbers:

vs Top 25 teams not named Oklahoma St: 70-113-1, 22.6 yards per game, 1.6 yards per carry.
vs non-tops 25 teams: 156-1252-18, 113.8 yards per game, 8.1 yards per carry.

Stop Martinez from running the ball, force him to throw and he gets uncomfortable. He is an exceptionally mobile quarterback and has a good arm; he is not a passer yet. Oklahoma St allowed him to pile up 119 yards on the ground, which allowed Martinez used to hang 323 yards passing on the Cowboys. The first second quarter interception yesterday doomed Martinez; however, Wisconsin's defense also stiffened up against Martinez's running capability

Martinez Before Pick: 6-10, 98 yards passing, 11-50 rushing with 1 TD
Martinez Post Pick: 5-12, 75 yards, 3 INT passing, 10-11 yards rushing.

Of course, maybe it was Wisconsin's offensive line. Montee Ball usually did not have a finger on him until he was three yards up-field last night. Nebraska better get used to that; teams that play more like Big 10 teams usually give them trouble and the Nebraska secondary is very susceptible to play fakes. Wisconsin used their aggressiveness against them.

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