Friday, January 19, 2018

Nebraska at Washington

A talented freshman quarteraback takes on an established veteran when Nebraska heads to Washington in Week 3.

Nebraska offense vs. Washington defense
• Washington is giving up four yards per carry on the ground and will have to practice sound gap discipline and tackle better in space to slow a dynamic Nebraska ground game. Redshirt freshman QB Taylor Martinez has opened up what had been a vanilla Cornhuskers ground game. He is fast and elusive enough to go the distance when he keeps the ball on designed quarterback runs and off the read option. However, Martinez is reading defensive fronts surprisingly well for a first-year starter so the Huskies cannot be too quick to crash down on fakes. He is keeping the ball when he sees the front side defensive end step upfield or pressure off the edge and he is getting the ball to his backs when the defense collapses in on him. RBs Roy Helu Jr. and Rex Burkhead aren't as elusive or fast as Martinez but they are north-south runners who make the most of the running room Martinez is creating for them. Both are capable of bouncing off or running though arm tackles. Making matters worse for the Huskies, Martinez has excellent ball skills and he will freeze Washington's linebackers by waiting until the last second to pull the ball out of the running back's belly when he does keep it. They will have to hesitate while diagnosing the play and that hesitation will make it easier for the Cornhuskers to cover them up at the second level.