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November 13, 2010Nebraska improved to 9-1 on Saturday with their 20-3 win over Kansas inside Memorial Stadium.
Here is the final report card grade out of the Huskers win over the Jayhawks. Next week NU travels on the road to take on a 7-3 Texas A&M squad that's won their last four ball games.
It was clear that quarterback Taylor Martinez was very limited in what he could on Saturday night. He looked a step or two slower than what we saw early on in the year and only connected on 14-of-26 passes. He just looked rusty, as you could tell the time away and the injury set him a step back. Martinez also threw an interception and lost a fumble, which were Nebraska's only two turnovers on Saturday. Another pass he threw also should've been intercepted and another ball he had was bobbled in the air and nearly fumbled. Hopefully this week's game will help Martinez get his rhythm back, because the Huskers are going to need him back to his old form next Saturday in College Station.
Running back: B-
Nebraska's running backs were serviceable on Saturday. They did what they had to do and moved the chains enough to get it done. Roy Helu finished with 85 yards on 18 carries and Rex Burkhead had 77 yards on 19 carries. Once again we saw a lot of Wildcat from Burkhead on Saturday, but it wasn't near as effective as last week at Iowa State. Early on in the game I thought it was disappointing that Helu couldn't get 2 yards on a second-and-2 and then came up short on a third-and-1 on the Huskers first possession of the game when they were forced to punt. Helu's 20 yard touchdown run right before halftime was much needed though to put the Huskers up 14-0 at the break.
Wide receiver/tight end: A
Nebraska's wide receivers did a lot for the offense on Saturday, especially Niles Paul and Brandon Kinnie. Paul came up with at least three big catches on third down where he helped move the chains, including a third-and-25 play where he caught a 26 yard pass over the middle to get the Huskers out of a hole. There were no drops to speak of by Paul or Kinnie. Paul finished with seven catches for 79 yards and Kinnie had six catches for 67 yards.
Offensive line: C
Offensive line coach Barney Cotton thought his guys were not as crisp in their execution on Saturday. The line just wasn't able to get that push where the Huskers could break off that big run they needed.
Defensive line: A
Defensive tackle Jared Crick played arguably his best game of the season on Saturday to finish with nine tackles and two quarterback sacks. Crick was everywhere and I think solidified himself as a first team All Big 12 selection with his game on Saturday. I also thought Cameron Meredith played a great game and really pushed the pocket as well. Both Pierre Allen and Terrence Moore also finished with a tackle for loss.
Lavonte David is special. There's no other way of saying it. The guy gets better each week. On Saturday he finished with 10 tackles, two quarterback sacks and one pass break-up. At least three times David came up with plays on third down that forced punts. Will Compton also finished with a sack on Saturday, which was his first of the season.
Kansas had just 15 yards of passing offense and zero passing yards in the second half. It was a dominating performance all around. Alfonzo Dennard had another highlight reel interception and Prince Amukamara also nearly came up with a pick himself. DeJon Gomes finished with five tackles and a quarterback sack.
Special teams: A-
Other than a couple of nice kick returns by Kansas on Saturday of 45 and 33 yards, Nebraska's special teams played a very good game. Alex Henery pinned the Jayhawks five times inside the 20 yard line on six punts, while he also was perfect on two field goal tries. It would've been nice though if NU could've fielded some of Kansas's punts, but most of them where short kicks that NU couldn't get to.