13 Observations from East Lansing

Nebraska improved to 7-2 on the season, after a 28-24 comeback victory on Saturday night.

1.) It's not very often a quarterback with three turnovers is the player of the game. But yet, not many quarterbacks are like Nebraska junior Taylor Martinez.

On Saturday, fans got a chance to see the best and the worst of Martinez, but ultimately his best was good enough on the road against one of the better defenses in the country.

Martinez rushed 17 times for 205 yards - finding the end zone on the ground two times, but ultimately his fourth quarter heroics will be what is remembered.

With just 1:22 left on the clock, no time outs, and a need of at least 50 yards to get into field goal range, Martinez had the signature drive of his career.

Matinez after throwing TD pass to Jamal Turner (Getty Images)
First it was a strike to Quincy Enunwa for 22 yards and a first down. Four plays later, on a 4th down and ten, Martinez found Kyler Reed on a 38-yard pass – it was arguably the biggest play in Martinez's career. The play took the Huskers down to Michigan State's 20-yard line. After a questionable pass interference call that the Huskers would gladly take, Martinez hooked up with Jamal Turner on an out-route for a 5-yard touchdown pass. Nebraska would take the lead 28-24, with just seconds left, and ultimately leave Michigan State with Martinez the hero.

"I can't say enough about Taylor [Martinez] and how he played and how he finished that football game," said Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini. "He made some mistakes – but you know, everybody does. But he put the team on his back at the end of that football game and made some plays. He did it with his arm today, with his legs…it shows character like everybody else.

"One thing about throwing a pick…you know everybody's going to throw interceptions every now and then, but it's how you come back from those situations. I think it's an example of not only Taylor, but the rest of this football team."

2.) More on Martinez. Just a junior, the California native pushed his career yardage total to 8,166, in the process setting a new Nebraska career total offense record – passing former Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Eric Crouch.

"A sincere congratulations to Taylor Martinez, NU QB, for breaking the all-time yardage record. Keep it going!" responded Crouch on his Twitter page.

With a whole another season to play, Martinez could go down statistically as one of the best quarterbacks in NCAA history.

3.) Last note on Martinez. With runs of 59-yards and 71-yards, Martinez now has eight runs of 50+ yards in his career.

4.) The third fourth quarter double-digit comeback of 2012. Call them the cardiac arrest kids. Pelini joked in the post game that after the last few weeks, he needs to make sure he is still 44-years old. While it's frustrating to most fans that Nebraska seems to struggle early in the game and needs big comebacks, their effort and never give up attitude can't be faulted. With their quick strike offense, it's hard to say they are out of any game – unless they are down 63-38.

"These kids want it bad. Like I said, we don't always play as smart as we need to play, but one thing you can't question about the guys in that locker room behind me is their heart," said Pelini. "Those kids play with heart. It really means a lot to them; it means something and I think it shows with how they play. It's a cohesive group."

5.) Will Compton sets his own milestone. Martinez wasn't the only one reaching new career heights. On Saturday, senior linebacker Will Compton registered 11 tackles. With his career total now at 210, he became just the 32nd player in school history to reach the 200-tackle mark.

6.) Abdullah goes over the century mark again. Sophomore running back Ameer Abdullah is inching ever so closer to the 1,000 yard mark, needing just 24 yards to get it done. On Saturday, facing a defense that was sixth in the country in rushing defense, Abdullah once again ran for over 100 yards, his fifth this season. Filling in for senior running back Rex Burkhead, in all four games Abdullah has started, the Alabama product has rushed for triple digits.

7.) It's been seven years. Nebraska rushed for 313 yards on Saturday, behind the efforts of Abdullah and Martinez. It was the most given up by the Spartans since 2005 against Minnesota.

8.) Back to that fourth down play late in the fourth quarter. I'm wondering if the play call would have been different if Michigan State doesn't call a timeout there?

"My heart was in my…[he laughs]. I just wanted to see us get the first down, and once again, I kind of put the read out there and Taylor [Martinez] made a good throw and catch, and it kind of kept us going," said Pelini. "It felt good. Honestly, I'm ecstatic for our kids…the kids on our football team. I've been saying all along: this is a special group; great leadership and tremendous character."

9.) Prime examples of why Pelini bans Twitter. MSU players took to social media after the game with some definite reasons on why they felt they lost the game.

Le'Veon Bell: "ShoutOut to the refs…y'all won the game tonight! Toughest team we played all year"

Nick Hill: "Very questionable calls out there tonight #smh" and "It was a great play by @DDenard_31, bad call"

R.J. Williamson: "U don't make that call.. Great D.. they took one from us at home #StillCantBelieveIt"

Denzel Drone: ""Thanks to the big ten referees y'all won the game once again for the opponent of MSU!!!! Y'all some bums for this one!!!"

All comments were deleted a short while after they were posted. I'm guessing Spartan head coach Mark Dantonio isn't going to be happy with his players comments on Monday.

10.) Maher struggles again. After having a solid couple outings in row, kicker/punter Brett Maher found the shanks again against MSU. He missed a 30-yard field goal and had a punt of 16 yards in first quarter. Maher is now 12-of-18 on the year. The question becomes, does the coaching staff start to lose any sort of faith with him? I don't think they are to that point yet, but another outing or two and you never known.

11.) You know the real reason Nebraska won this week? Jamal Turner decided to not wear a visor this week. It might be the reason he lost it in the lights last week.

12.) Gutsy call by Pelini at the end of the game. Coach Beck asked Bo with 11 seconds left in the game if he wanted him to be conservative. Pelini said –"Let's go win the football game". But with the ball on the five-yard line, the play had to be quick and a throw into the end zone. There wouldn't be time for a spike.

The play resulted in a touchdown, but think about this.

What if there had been an offensive pass interference? Or a holding? Maybe an illegal formation? An offensive penalty with under a minute left to play is a ten second runoff. The game would have been over. For a team that had committed more than it's share of penalties in the game, Nebraska rolled the dice.

13.) Eric Martin with the quote of the year. After the game, as players walked off the field, defensive end Eric Martin picked up Martinez and wouldn't put him down. With TV cameras on him, Martin said, "Sometimes he gets on my nerves, but I love him." Martin might have echoed a lot of Huskers fans with that quote.

This video is courtesy of www.Huskers.com.

Josh Harvey has covered college football and recruiting for Fox Sports & Scout.com since 2008. He is now the Publisher of Big Red Report, covering Nebraska athletics.
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