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  • This Just In...Southern Miss Commentary

    Martinez’s golden arm trumps the Golden Eagles
    Huskers cruise 49-20

    Player of the game: Taylor Martinez
    26-34, 354 yds, 5 TDs

    Southern Swiss…

    One would think with how the value of gold has increased over the years that the Eagles of Southern Miss would stand to increase the value of their program twofold. They took a major step last year by going 12-2, beating National Championship contender Houston in the conference title game, and although they did lose some key players, there were still high hopes this year.

    Those hopes came crashing down yesterday as the Huskers, at times, made the Golden Eagles resemble something like fool’s gold. Like a prospector standing over his pan, anxiously looking, hoping to see that little flash, Southern Miss continued to scoop and sift, hoping to find a playmaker. While they made some plays and may have identified their starting QB, hopes of repeating last season’s success appear to have gone the way of the Facebook IPO -- down, down, down.

    Bruce Thorson-US PRESSWIRE
    While only the first game, Southern Miss was still a quality opponent who had given the Huskers some scares over the years, and even beaten us in 2004. After USM tied the game at 14, Nebraska’s offense -- more specifically, Taylor Martinez -- proceeded to exploit holes in the Golden Eagles secondary en route to a career day.

    After seeing Rex Burkhead go down in the first quarter, some Husker fans were holding their breath hoping to scratch out a win. What they witnessed, however, was a coming-out party of sorts for Martinez.

    There has been much hype about how Martinez has worked on his throwing mechanics over the offseason. I, for one, was more skeptical after seeing some of the painful, off-balance throws of last year.

    Martinez was able to display much improved accuracy, throwing the ball with velocity and improved touch on the long ball. Our receivers also stepped up Saturday, making some difficult catches and running disciplined routes. The throw to Kenny Bell in the first quarter was a thing of beauty. A throw that last year I don’t think he would have completed. While the jury is still out on if he has his legs back, for one game, Martinez looks like a different QB. What a difference a year can make…

    Will the real Brett Maher please stand up…

    We all make mistakes. Hiring Bill Callahan, Monica Lewinski and Crystal Pepsi come to mind (I actually liked it). After Saturday’s performance, you can add Mr. Maher to that list. In a game where Maher’s leg could have added some much needed cushion for NU, he didn’t look like the same kicker we witnessed last year.

    Maher missed short on a 44-yard attempt and pushed another one wide left in the second quarter. Good for NU’s special teams that the Husker offense more than compensated for the erratic play of this traditionally strong unit.

    If the Huskers hope to make any sort of run at a conference championship, they will need a lot of improvement from this group. Its only one game, so no need to knee jerk, but you can be sure that Pelini will have some pointed words with his kicker. Chalk it up to a bad game, but whatever the reason, the NU coaches may want to do some detective work and make sure Maher has not been a victim of identity theft…

    In Conclusion…

    Overall, NU played a solid game. Sure, the D-line put less pressure on the Southern Miss QBs than Ricky Martin at an Elton John concert, but against a quality opponent they made the stops when they needed them.

    It was encouraging to see some solid improvement from our secondary, but we will need much better play out of our front seven if we hope to contend for the B1G Championship. Too often it appeared that the D-Line got pushed around and left some pretty big holes for the Southern Miss runners to navigate through. We continue to struggle with athletic, running QBs, and that has been this defense’s kryptonite over the last few years.

    NU will travel to Pasadena next week to take on the improved Bruins, who breezed to a 49-24 win over Rice. Nebraska will not have to play a perfect game to come out victorious, but it could come down to a few key defensive stops, and of course the previously automatic Maher coming back to form.

    Look for Nebraska to introduce a few more option plays, and keep the defense off guard using Marrow out of the FB position and on short-yardage situations. Thank goodness football is back, now we will wait and see if NU is as well…


    Comments 4 Comments
    1. WA Husker's Avatar
      WA Husker -
      Good analysis - especially the collapse of Maher. His head wasn't in the game, I don't think. Who knows why. Kickers can be head cases . . . I don't think NU is back at all. They played better yesterday; but, they have to prove this moxy against the brightest and best, yet. And, while the dedbut looked stronger this year against a stronger team, we have a long way to do. Without Burkhead and with a D-unit which is surprisingly down-siding on a Pelini-coached team, and a kicking game better left at home, we have issues - lots of them.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      Wow, I am watching replay. Offense owned them. I thought defense looked bad during the game.......they are even worse on replay. We are going to have to score a ton of points to win any games against teams that have a running QB. Michigan and Ohio St. will both score a min of 40 points on us. We have got to go away from the 2 Gap /step dancing defense against these type of teams.
    1. 1Audiofile's Avatar
      1Audiofile -
      I also think we need to confirm the other main problem with passing last year, The receivers not catching balls when they hit them right in the hands. Well Saturday the receivers were near perfect and have raised my hopes for this year. As far as the defense, I think it is time for Bo to "assist" the D coordinator for the rest of the season. We have the talent, it just needs to be properly trained.
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      The defence is a question. Miss tackles and gapping holes on the line is not good. Over running defenders, and being fooled on screen plays needs to be addressed.
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