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  • Buckeyes' Miller outclasses Martinez, Blackshirts

    This football team is in no condition to travel.

    A challenging road trip requires a dependable vehicle, but dependability is in short supply on the Nebraska football team.

    Ohio State's offense, which had struggled throughout the unbeaten Buckeyes' first five games, suddenly got quite healthy indeed against the Cornhuskers in a 63-38 rampage,

    It seems hard to believe that this game actually got off to a pretty good start. The offense shrugged off a early pick-six thrown by Taylor Martinez and got rolling behind Rex Burkhead and the offensive line In fact, the Huskers were a well-oiled machine for one quarter, outgaining OSU 137-17, but after Martinez threw another interception early in the second quarter, they careened wildly into the ditch.

    Greg Bartram-US PRESSWIRE

    The Huskers were completely outclassed, undone and left in the dust by Braxton Miller.

    It doesn't take a mechanic to know that a vehicle follows the lead of the man behind the wheel. Miller played like a Heisman candidate against Nebraska, rushing for a career-high 186 yards and starting the the Huskers on a downward spiral of confusion by applying continual pressure and driving the Huskers to distraction until the Blackshirts caved. Meanwhile, Martinez reprised his all-too-familiar role of distracted driver.

    Inconsistency still reigns in Lincoln. The blowout losses are still happening in year five of Bo Pelini's tenure. The 2012 Huskers reverted to their bad habits of last year – a rollercoaster defense that stuffs a good running game one week, then looks like it's wearing cement shoes the next, a anxiety-ridden offense plagued by penalties and turnovers, and serious breakdowns on special teams.

    The two quarterbacks came into the game almost as mirror images of each other – both erratic and explosive. But Miller never came close to turning the ball over.

    Meanwhile, Martinez ran his own offense off the road with four crippling turnovers. His two first-half interceptions set up 14 easy points for the Buckeyes. In the third quarter, Martinez seemed bothered by more than just the onrushing Ohio State defense when he badly underthrew his receiver at the OSU 10-yard line for his third pick of the night despite having almost no pass rush to worry about.

    The Husker offensive line came a little more unglued with each Martinez miscue. By halftime, after a rash of illegal procedure penalties, it was in desperate need of a stabilizing influence. But that influence – Burkhead – had to leave the game when he re-injured his left knee early in the third quarter. That left T-Mart to run things by himself, and it didn't work out very well in front of a record Ohio State crowd.

    It's a foregone conclusion that Martinez will break all-time total offense and passing records at Nebraska – if for no other reason than longevity. But numbers aren't everything. Leadership is more important – especially in a big game in a hostile environment. Just one week after showing improvement in this category against Wisconsin, Martinez offered very little leadership against Ohio State.

    With more than 30 starts under his belt, Martinez is no longer young or inexperienced, but he looks that way quite often when on a big stage. He had his good moments Saturday night, passing for 214 yards and a touchdown, but sometimes the game seemed to be moving a little too fast for him.

    He wasn't the only Husker to stumble. The entire Husker defense suffered multiple system failure, allowing five consecutive touchdown drives midway through the game and looked completely lost trying to tackle the elusive Miller, who effectively cut back against the grain and left unblocked Huskers grasping air all night long. Second-string tailback Carlos Hyde rushed for 100 yards for the second consecutive year against Nebraska and scored a career-high four touchdowns.

    Pelini had few answers – neither on the sideline during the game nor in the press conference afterward. All he can do is prepare for the road trip to Evanston, Ill., to face Northwestern Oct. 20. One of his main jobs will be to get his players to communicate better with each other on the field.

    This football team is in no condition to travel. But it needs to get ready.

    Formerly the sports editor at the North Platte Bulletin and a sportswriter/columnist for the North Platte Telegraph, Tad Stryker is a longtime Nebraska sports writer, having covered University of Nebraska and high school sports for more than 25 years. He started writing for this website in 2008. You can e-mail him at tad.stryker@gmail.com


    Comments 23 Comments
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      And yet after those of us who continue to see what most Husker fans fail to see or refuse to see which is BO is not head coaching material. Our offensive line sucks and not due to lack of players but again coaching. Big time football cries for big time coaching and until Nebraska stops settling for mediocre coaching and replaces BO and Cotton and Beck nothing changes.
    1. Objectivity's Avatar
      Objectivity -
      NU has become a mediocre program. They can steamroll the cupcakes, but are no longer in the same class with the top teams. As I said earlier this year, the Devaney - Osborne glory days are over. Guess we'd all should either accept that fact... and get used to it... or, find something else to do on autumn Saturdays, other than watch Cornhusker football.
    1. Tate's Avatar
      Tate -
      What is the difference between Pelini and Callahan? NOTHING!!! Same crap, blow out losses, penalties, missed assignments and the same execuse every time --- we didnt execute. Well maybe you and your staff are the problem because you dont seem tobe able to fix it. Callahan didnt get a free ride and Pelini should not either, let him take his 2 gap pro style defense to the pros and say good bye. Pelini couldnt win a conference championship with the 95 husker team. Get Paul Rhodes from Iowa State who can do more with a hell of alot less talent than Pelini.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      Life long fan from pa. Huskers need to recruit speed speed and more speed. The d line is slow and so are the backers. As far as the Qb. Huskers need a new one. Same old qb as before.Tm did not change much,other qb's with half of his running ability still make plays. Time to get a passer to get the ball to all the receivers and huskers have some good ones.Huskers need a leader on the field and tm Is not. Time to regroup huskers . Ouch!!!! This one hurt.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      How was this blowout by a decent, but not top tier team differ from any of the Callahan era blowouts. I for one am tired of being competitive in only the first quarter of big games.
    1. nebraska radio's Avatar
      nebraska radio -
      This isn't the first time we've seen this game is it. Bo has had 4 full years and this is what we have? He either 1. doesn't have the players, or 2. can't get his message across, or 3. Isn't a very good coach. It can only be one of the three and no matter which reason it is, it's the reason for BO to GO.
      The timing is perfect...Tom Osborne hired him and his last act can be to fire him.
      Ever since Bo has had to use his own players and not callahan's the defense can't play. I don't this Bo is a bad recruiter I think he's a horrible judge of talent.
      I'm sure I'll have people who disagree but what has anybody seen in the last couple of years that make you think Bo has the ability to turn this around? Ohio State could have scored 80 on us if they would have kept running Braxton til the end of the game!
      Bo is a good dude but so is my uncle Hank...but I don't want him coaching the Cornhuskers either.
      It's time to get a real coach, with real assistants, that have real experience. Bo has used Nebraska like a lab experiment for his cronnies. Nebraska is too big to have first time offensive and defensive coordinators running the show. Nepotism is out of control.

      BO MUST GO
    1. azcat22's Avatar
      azcat22 -
      Just another misearble effort by a poorly coached and prepared team. Will taylor Martinez ever learn to step into a throw? Will jeremiah Sirles ever block anyone? Can Will Compton outrun a fat man? Poor recruiting over the past few years also is showing itself. Now that Tom will be gone Bo has no one to protect him. BO MUST GO!!
    1. Disappointed's Avatar
      Disappointed -
      I can't take it any more. This program is stuck in neutral, or worse yet, reverse. Pelini has run out of excuses, and, as far as I am concerned, out of time. Perhaps coaching isn't everything, but, successful coaches have a way of getting the most their players, for example, Bill Snyder at K-State. He, and other successful coaches have that intangible quality of leadership that Pelini does not appear to possess.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      Scoring 38 points is enough to win.
      Here is what is going to happen. Bo will be given the ultimatum of hiring new coaches and coordinators who can recruit or he will be gone. He will be given one more year and if it does not improve he is gone.
    1. florida husker's Avatar
      florida husker -
      This program is back to the Callahan days. The reason is that Pelini is unable to recruit top talent. He should abandon his "schemes" and just coach fundamental sound football - ala Bill Snyder, who does very well with 2 and 3 star recruits. Tom Osborne's classes very seldom were in the top ten - yet he recruited players that fit his system. Since Bo can't recruit, the reason for failure will always be that the players didn't execute. They didn't execute because they don't have the talent to do what he wants them to do. It would be wise for the sake of the program if the new AD thanks Pelini and then moves on to a new hire. How about Scott Frost?
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      Miller never came close to turning the ball over? He threw a pick that was overturned on replay.
    1. Vegas Husker's Avatar
      Vegas Husker -
      Taylor Martinez, great kid, great athlete, not a Husker QB. Should be on the field on defense. He would be a stud. Tommy Armstrong should get a shot.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      I believe it's time to move on from the Callahan/pelini records. We are not your daddies nebraska were just another Boise states without their quality of wins
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      Tad, your still a burnt out sports writer that probably couldn't hack it as a coach.
    1. Jomike in TN's Avatar
      Jomike in TN -
      I'm a huge Husker fan, but embarrassed to wear their colors this week. I don't understand why Bo has not learn how to defend a mobile QB. It's almost a guarentee lose. It is year five and where are the athletes?? We are slower now on defense than when Bo started. He found two diamonds in the rough with Suh and David! But even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then. I'm tired of hoping, but then getting disappointed.
    1. tualadan's Avatar
      tualadan -
      Can anyone on the coaching staff teach pass blocking? How many times did OSU defenders run right past NU offensive linemen? Too many times to count. Martinex is short for a QB, is not a great passer, and so the offensive line needs to improve it's pass blocking if Taylor is expected to throw successfully.
    1. Red in WV's Avatar
      Red in WV -
      I have been a Husker follower for 50 years. This was beyond embarrassing. Dr Tom has to make changes before he leaves. The good news is you don't have to clean house. Get rid of Pelini, Cotton, Garrison and Dobson. Pelini doesn't inspire, coach or recruit, he yells. Cotton and Garrison are the worst elements of the coaching staff you can find. We haven't had an all american line man in how long? Dobson obviously isn't getting the job done when everyone gets pushed around like that. Keep the rest of the staff and let Scott Frost sort out the rest. Since Solich left the team has no identity. Was there really any difference between this game and Solich's last game at Colorado. Really this was worse because this coaching staff had that history behind them. Oh yeah we have six games left!!!
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      As a life long husker fan i have realized the success of the past is gone and may never be the same. Pelini made the statement early in his head coaching career he didnt care about star ratings recruiting. His exact word were we will put the stars next to thier name. He had success with Callahans recruits but is failing with his own. With this offense in 2009 as erractic is it may be and Suhs defense nebraska would have been unbeatable. But since then the ship is sinking. I will never post or make a statement about our players. They we asked to come to play for dear old nebraska and I think do the best they can. Players like Ja chbunmmal Lord in the past were blasted by everyone when he gave 110% to the big red every game. Its coaching, coaching and more coaching. I think Bo and the players are doing the best they can do. Yes losses bother me but not as much as they used to. Big losses are happening every year. Tommy Armstrong may turn things around. As a unit our defense is awful. Compared closely to the 2007
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      It's obvious Bo will never win much. Remember the Big 12 championship game when Martinez had no clue what he was doing and Bo wouldn't send in another quarterback? That quarterback left because he knew he would never have a fair chance with Bo.

      And our recruiting has fallen to being at best mediocre. May people just don't want to play for Bo. Time to get a coach who can take us back to the top. And we don't have that now. He's not growing. He's not improving. He makes the same mistakes over and over.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      The pulse of the average fan like myself is useless. The average Husker fan over the last 10 years has been an idiot. Calling for every head coach to be fired, begging for the back up QB to play, etc.

      If the new AD is going to listen to the average fan then we are screwed. Look, I do think all fans are important but our role is to support the NU no matter the weather.

      Now, if you are writing big checks the AD then I am sure you can buy your way to the table. I am also frustrated like the rest, but I also know that Bo has done nothing to warrant the fire Bo talk.
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