The championship match is set. Unlike the early stages of the 2021 NCAA men’s basketball tournament, the ones expected to make it the distance have. We have a No. 1 vs. a No. 2.
To recap what’s gone on to this point: the Hail Varsity team seeded the 16 starting quarterbacks Nebraska has had since Eric Crouch left the program shortly after the turn of the century. The goal was to determine the best quarterback of the last 20-ish years. We seeded them, you voted on who would advance in each round. The top eight seeds all advanced through the first round, and then No. 5 seed Tommy Armstrong Jr. provided the only upset of the bracket in beating out No. 4 seed Jammal Lord.
That win set up a Final Four matchup between Armstrong and our No. 1 seed, Taylor Martinez. On the other side of the bracket, No. 2 Zac Taylor went up against No. 3 Joe Ganz.
Here are the results from the semis:
- No. 1 Taylor Martinez defeats No. 5 Tommy Armstrong Jr.: Martinez won by a comfortable margin. Despite owning eerily similar statistical resumes, Martinez brought the punch factor and could make the case that he’d led Nebraska to bigger stages. Martinez won 60% of the vote on Twitter and 59% of the vote on Instagram.
- No. 2 Zac Taylor defeats No. 3 Joe Ganz: Taylor took the Twitter vote with 55%, but ran away with the Instagram vote—70% of the nearly 1,900 votes. The former Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year has mostly cruised through this field. He took 96%/87% (Twitter/Instagram) of the vote in his first-round matchup and then identical percentages in his second-round matchup.
Now it’s up to you to decide the winner.
- No. 1 Taylor Martinez vs. No. 2 Zac Taylor
No. 1: Taylor Martinez (2009-13)
Record as a starter: 29-14
Career stats: 7,258 passing yards, 59.8% completion rate, 56 passing touchdowns against 29 interceptions, 2,975 rushing yards, 31 rushing touchdowns
Despite an injury-shortened four-game senior season, Taylor Martinez departed Nebraska with a dripping red pen in hand after rewriting the program’s record books. A two-time captain, Martinez set career program records for total offense, passing yards, completions, touchdowns, and starts.
He also broke the single-season program records for total offense and total touchdowns thanks to a prolific 2012 campaign. He produced 3,890 yards and 33 touchdowns while leading the Huskers to a 10-4 record, a Big Ten Championship appearance, and a Capital One Bowl appearance.
Jammal Lord was the only quarterback on our list to even come close to matching the kind of rushing production Martinez had as a Husker, and Martinez has north of 7,000 passing yards in his three-ish seasons of play.
No. 2: Zac Taylor (2005-06)
Record as a starter: 17-9
Career stats: 5,850 passing yards, 57.2% completion rate, 45 passing touchdowns against 20 interceptions, minus-73 rushing yards, two rushing touchdowns
A junior college quarterback after transferring from Wake Forest, Zac Taylor took the reins immediately at Nebraska in 2005 and started the next 26 games. He led Nebraska under then-coach Bill Callahan to 8-4 and 9-5 records in his two seasons.
His 2006 campaign—which earned him the Big 12’s Offensive Player of the Year award—remains the best season by a Husker quarterback in terms of touchdowns thrown (26) and second-best in terms of yardage accumulated (3,197).
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.