That’s not the ending Nebraska was hoping for in Scott Frost’s debut.
The Cornhuskers opened their season Saturday against Colorado after last weekend’s game was canceled due to weather. Nebraska began the game with two early turnovers and a 14-0 deficit, and it appeared the game may snowball out of control. To their credit, the Huskers battled back under starting QB Adrian Martinez.
Head coach Scott Frost tabbed the freshman as the starting QB heading into the season, and Martinez did not disappoint. He showed impressive speed, nifty footwork, and a strong arm against Colorado. Martinez displayed the ability to make defenders miss while also dropping in nice passes throughout the game.
With that being said, Martinez was not without his mistakes. He lost a fumble on Nebraska’s second possession of the game, and that was after Greg Bell fumbled on the opening possession. Martinez also gave the ball away late in the fourth quarter with an interception that set Colorado up in prime field position. It looked like that interception may allow Colorado to take the lead, but a missed field goal kept Nebraska ahead by one at 28-27.
Still, the early and late mistakes for Nebraska does not take away from the fact that Martinez is a budding star with the ability to make life difficult for opposing defenses. His ability to make men miss with his legs allowed him to gain 117 yards and 2 TDs on 15 carries. As a passer, Martinez was 15-for-20 for 187 yards, a touchdown, and an interception.
The two plays of the game were provided by Martinez. He scored the first touchdown for head coach Scott Frost with an impressive juke move and sprint down the sideline in the first quarter. That play was impressive enough, but Martinez showed he can do damage with his arm as well. He stretched Nebraska’s lead with a 57-yard bomb in the third quarter that was a beautiful downfield throw.
The other two stars for Nebraska’s offense were RBs Greg Bell and Devine Ozigbo. The duo combined for 164 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries to help Martinez lead a rushing attack that gained 329 yards on the ground.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Cornhuskers certainly have room for improvement. They were able to hold the Buffaloes to 1.3 yards per carry on the ground, but Colorado QB Steven Montez threw for 351 yards and 3 TDs on 33-for-50 passing. Additionally, a few costly penalties kept Colorado on the field and in the game late. The Buffaloes cashed in one of those penalties as Montez threw a go-ahead 40-yard touchdown pass with just over a minute left in the game.
In the end, Nebraska was unable to rally around QB Andrew Bunch after Martinez was knocked out of the game late in the fourth quarter. Martinez appeared to grab his knee after an awkward tackle, but no update on his status is known at this time. Bunch was able to lead the Cornhuskers into the red zone in the final minute of the game, but his pass to the end zone on the final play of the game was out of bounds.
Nebraska drops its first game of the season by a final score of 33-28. There were some positive things to take away from the game. However, the defense remains a cause for concern, and missing Martinez for any amount of time could be disastrous for Nebraska.