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More than one dimension to Martinez

The easy route is to scan the box score, see that big "42" in the rushing attempt column and that tiny "10" in pass attempts and scream, "One-dimensional! Stack the box and beat Nebraska!"

Never mind that one of those passes went for a 79-yard touchdown and the Huskers rolled up 451 yards on the ground on those 42 carries against Kansas State in a 48-13 win.

The inequality wasn't on accident, and it wasn't for lack of ability on the part of quarterback Taylor Martinez.

"We haven’t had to throw it. We’ve run the football so efficiently," said offensive coordinator Shawn Watson, whose offense averages a nation's best 7.74 yards a carry. "We just haven’t had to use it."

In other words, he's got it, but when you're breaking off 80-yard runs, there's not much point in proving it. Nothing about Martinez as a passer -- something few other than Watson and Martinez's teammates have actually seen -- worries his coaches.

"He has the skill set, the talent. It’s all there. He’s got the quick release. He’s got excellent ball speed. He’s got a strong arms, excellent feet," Watson said. "I mean, he’s got all the skill set."

He'll face one of the nation's best secondaries in Texas on Saturday, but Martinez says that won't influence the game plan, or keep him from taking to the air if the Longhorns overcommit to shutting down the running game.

"He’ll be fine. He’ll do just fine," Watson said. "We go into every game, we always start off in balance, and we progress from there based on what the defense is doing to us. We adjust along the way. Sometimes, like in the first game, we threw it a little bit more. But the latter games, these last couple, we haven’t really had to, like in the Washington game or in this past one against Kansas State. The one -- South Dakota State -- he struggled that whole night in every aspect, just kind of forcing things. I don’t worry about him at all as a passer, though, he proves in practice every day what kind of player he is in that respect."

That even goes for decision-making against an experienced secondary that will look to confuse the Huskers' quarterback, who is preparing to make his sixth career start. For as much talk about Texas' secondary facing off against Martinez, he faced one of the nation's best while winning the job, including one of the nation's best cornerbacks in Prince Amukamara.

"That’s what he had to do to earn the starting job -- prove that he can manage our passing game and handle it and go through all kinds of pressure throw situations," Watson said. "He more than proved that he can. He’s very accurate with the football. He’s got great ball speed and an excellent sense of timing. All those things are there."

If Texas does limit Martinez's legs, we may get our first chance to see the release, accuracy and decision-making Watson continuously compliments. We've seen it in flashes early in the season, but this will no doubt be the best defense Martinez has faced all season; the Longhorns lead the Big 12 in total defense and have possible future NFL talent at every level of the defense. Pass this test, and Nebraska clears one of its tallest hurdles of the season on the way to what it hopes is a Big 12 title and more.

"Obviously, you’ve gotten to see him as a runner. He’s awesome in that respect, and I think when people are defending us in the run game, he can make some things happen down the field with the football," Watson said. "He’s got a lot of work to do and he knows that. He’s not a done product, but he can be pretty dynamic."