Taylor Martinez has had his struggles away from Lincoln the past three seasons, but the Nebraska quarterback stepped up in a big way Saturday at Northwestern. Because of his efforts, Martinez is the Big Ten's Player of the Week for Week 8.
After committing four turnovers in Nebraska's Week 6 loss at Ohio State, Martinez bounced back nicely against Northwestern, particularly in the closing minutes as the Huskers trailed 28-16. He led scoring drives of 80 and 76 yards, firing the game-winning touchdown pass to tight end Ben Cotton with 2:10 left as Nebraska prevailed 29-28. Martinez completed 27 of 39 passes for 342 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. He added 65 rush yards and a touchdown on 18 carries, accounting for all four of the Huskers' touchdowns on the day. After nearly being intercepted on back-to-back plays, Martinez completed 10 of his final 11 pass attempts.
Martinez' 342 pass yards marked his highest in a conference game (Big Ten or Big 12) and were 12 shy of his career best set in the season opener against Southern Miss. He moved into second place on Nebraska's all-time career passing yards list with 5,335, becoming just the seventh player in FBS history to record 5,000 career pass yards and 2,000 career rush yards before his senior season. Martinez ranks 15th nationally in pass efficiency (162.8 rating) with 15 touchdown passes and just four interceptions on 185 attempts. He ranks 22nd nationally in total offense (288.3 ypg).