Despite missing Burkhead, No. 21 Nebraska has strong running attack
After holding the vaunted Wisconsin running game to 19 yards last week, the Spartans have struggled to contain the No. 21 Cornhusker rushers, allowing 211 yards on the ground through the first half, including a pair of killer runs by quarterback Taylor Martinez.
Martinez’s first long pickup came after MSU bit hard on a play fake, allowing him to scamper along the right side line for a 59-yard gain that set the Huskers up on MSU’s three yardline, which ended in a touchdown.
Then with less than four minutes to go in the first half, Nebraska ran the same play, but this time, Martinez took it to the house for a 71-yard touchdown which knotted the game at 14. Martinez has eight carries for 156 yards through the first 30 minutes of play.
Nebraska also has had success with running back Ameer Abdullah has been able to use his speed to get around MSU’s defenders for big gains around the outside. Martinez has used this to his advantage, taking runs up the gut when MSU’s defense defends the outside run.
Although most of the week leading up to the game had focused on running back Rex Burkhead’s health — he did not dress today — that focus now has shifted to Martinez, who the Spartans will need to contain if they want a chance to hold on to win this one.