Martinez rushes for 4 TDs as No. 7 Nebraska rolls
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) - Bill Snyder's had happier birthdays.
By the end of Nebraska's dominating 48-13 victory Thursday night, the Kansas State coach must have been feeling every one of his 71 years.
"Happy birthday,'' he said grimly as he opened his postgame news conference. "I hope yours was better than mine.''
It may have been Snyder's birthday, but the night belonged to the No. 7 Cornhuskers (5-0) and their mercury-cleated redshirt freshman quarterback, Taylor Martinez.
Martinez rushed for 242 yards and four touchdowns and Nebraska ended a 99-year rivalry in the same lopsided fashion it began, thrashing the slower, outmanned Wildcats 48-13.
Martinez pushed his five-game rushing total to 737 yards and also threw a 79-yard scoring pass for the Huskers, who head off for the Big Ten next year. They closed their long rivalry against the Wildcats (4-1) with a 78-15-2 record in the series.
Unbeaten in their first four games and with senior running back Daniel Thomas averaging 157 yards per game, Kansas State fans had hoped to send the Huskers out the Big 12 door with a loss.
But the Wildcats were helpless against Martinez, who broke the team record for rushing yards by a quarterback and tied the team mark for rushing TDs by a QB.
Meanwhile, Thomas was held to 63 yards on 22 carries.
"Pretty much everything we ran was clicking pretty good,'' Martinez said. "I was making the right reads. I just do what I can do - make plays.''
Nebraska was expecting a pumped-up crowd for its last appearance in Manhattan.
"We are going to play all of these teams in the Big 12 for one last time in the near future,'' Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said. "So there is probably motivation there on both sides.''
Martinez was 5 of 7 for 128 passing yards as the Huskers piled up 587 yards of total offense in the conference opener for both teams.
He was replaced by Cody Green with almost 10 minutes left.
"I thought he was the fastest I've ever seen at quarterback,'' Kansas State defensive end Antonio Felder said of Martinez. "He's got a lot of speed. If you've got a good angle on him, he can still outrun you.''
Snyder said Thomas' second straight sub-par game was not altogether his fault.
"A significant part of it is us,'' he said. "Daniel is a very fine player. But like any other player, it takes a whole bunch of guys to make it happen. You know Martinez is an extremely fine football player, but you know he had some help tonight as well.''
In a rousing start to their farewell Big 12 tour, Nebraska's shortest TD play was 14 yards. Scoring drives in the third quarter covered 80 yards in three plays, 68 in one and 80 in two.
"The fans were saying some pretty harsh things when we got here, so we had to shut them up,'' said Nebraska wide receiver Niles Paul.
Kansas State's only TD came on a 2-yard pass on fourth down from Carson Coffman to Chris Harper late in the fourth quarter. Brodrick Smith, Kansas State's sophomore wide receiver, hurt his left leg on the third-down play and was taken off the field on a cart.
Martinez got the Huskers rolling with a 14-yard TD run in the first quarter. In the second, he went around right end, the linebacker bit on the fake to the running back, and Martinez went 35 yards to the end zone. He made it 24-3 58 seconds into the third quarter when he burst up the middle through a big hole and raced 80 yards untouched.
"He was 50 yards up the field before I looked up,'' said Kansas State defensive back David Garrett.
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