Intro: Whatever was said at halftime by Coach Pelini – it worked! Before we start talking about individual efforts, Nebraska's 3rd quarter effort made this team worthy of their Top 10 ranking. They outscored Washington 17-0 and beat them in every phase of the game in the quarter. If Nebraska could put even two quarters like this together a game, they would be a hard to beat by even the best teams in the country. The reason why – their defensive played at an elite championship quality level.
Sitting at the Big Red Report Bash on Friday night at Brewsky's, a potential new member down the road asked, "where the heck has Eric Martin been?"
Nicknamed "caveman," Martin became a staple last season with his electric special teams tackles, but only had one tackle on the season heading into the 3rd quarter of the third game of the season.
Well apparently Martin wanted everyone to know that he's still around. After back-to-back NU touchdowns, Martin made a huge open field tackle on Washington returner Kevin Smith. See what happened is, the Huskies apparently forgot to block Martin? His hit was so hard, it made a small "wow" go around the press box – a place that is supposed to be quiet. The next kickoff - another tackle for Martin. He might only have three on the season now, but it appears "caveman" is back.
I didn't know if we would ever see it again, but Rex Burkhead was returning punts in the 3rd quarter. With Ameer Abdullah sidelined on a bum ankle, Burkhead was sent out instead of Braylon Heard or Jamal Turner? He did a nice job, returning one for 19 yards. Apparently the staff will admit the freshman all are electric and have home run potential. But Burkhead is steady.
Today Enunwa drew praise again from wide receiver coach Rich Fisher – especially for his play in the 3rd quarter.
It started with a key block for Braylon Heard on a 25 yard rush down the sideline. Enunwa didn't just block the corner long enough for Heard to run by him. No, it was more like the Blindside movie – Enunwa blocked him all the way down the field. Heard's run was impressive, the wide receiver's block was better. Later in the 3rd quarter, Enunwa caught just a three yard pass, but put one of the nicest stiff arms of the season on his defender. Running down the sideline, Enunwa looked down, but literally pushed the corner off him by driving his head into the ground.
Look at Rex Burkhead go...oh wait – that's Tyler Legate. The fullback did a great job getting into the open space in a hurry on the inside run. Nebraska had been setting up the play for almost a quarter and a half – with pitches to the outside. Coach Brown said after the game it looked like the option and Washington bit. The defense didn't know what hit them. Legate had two carries for 37 yards and a touchdown catch in the 1st quarter. Is that enough fullback action for you?