All offseason long, coach Scott Frost said it would happen. Nebraska would be starting a true freshman quarterback, mistakes were going to come with that. There were going to be days where things just looked disjointed. Against Purdue, Adrian Martinez looked like the true freshman quarterback he is.
But here’s the thing, Martinez still totaled nearly 400 yards of offense.
He still looked special.
“I think Adrian grew up a bunch today,” Frost said. “I saw a guy today that looks like he kind of figured out he can win a game. Some of the throws he made, some of the decisions he made to take it down and run it … That’s my guy and we’re going to ride with him.”
There were mistakes. Martinez airmailed a few balls to open receivers and missed a few deep balls by a step or two. The one play he’d take back? A fourth-quarter interception that came at a crucial time midway through the fourth quarter with the Huskers having just cut a once-21-point deficit to 14.
“I think that could’ve been a turning point there for us,” Martinez said after the game. “We had a couple opportunities, the defense did a good job at getting a stop for us, I felt like the offense was churning and doing what we were supposed to do there in that third quarter for a little while.”
And they were. Martinez was so-so through the first half with a pedestrian 98 yards passing and nothing in the rushing column. He hit on 9-of-17 passes but none of them were game-altering plays. It wasn’t until the third quarter that he got rolling.
Martinez snapped a 20-0 Purdue scoring run with back-to-back chunk plays.
— Derek Peterson (@DrPeteyHV) September 30, 2018
Then went 3-for-3 for 64 yards and a dime of a touchdown to wideout JD Spielman.
— Derek Peterson (@DrPeteyHV) September 29, 2018
In that third quarter alone, Martinez was 7-for-9 for 111 yards and two scores. He finished the day with 323 yards passing (60 percent clip) and another 91 yards rushing.
“At times the offense looked like I want it to look,” Frost said. “We were shredding them at times.”
With a healthy Martinez, Nebraska has shown glimpses of the dangerous offensive team Frost talked about in the offseason. In the two full games the freshman has played, the offense has gained 1,147 yards and averaged 7 yards a play. Spielman had 135 yards and both touchdowns on the day; he caught every single one of his 10 targets. Stanley Morgan Jr. added another 69 yards.
Martinez has plenty of weapons around him and a more-than-capable running game to compliment things.
The freshman mistakes are going to continue coming, and Frost says you just have to live with them, but even then, Martinez continues to show signs of progress.
Derek is a newbie on the Hail Varsity staff covering Husker athletics. In college, he was best known as ‘that guy from Twitter.’ He has covered a Sugar Bowl, a tennis national championship and almost everything in between (except an NCAA men’s basketball tournament game… *tears*). In his spare time, he can be found arguing with literally anyone about sports.