LINCOLN — In what many Big Ten observers will consider a surprise, league coaches voted Nebraska's Taylor Martinez as first-team all-conference quarterback.
It's not that Martinez didn't have the credentials. The junior helped the Huskers to the Legends Division title, a 10-2 overall record and was voted Big Ten offensive player of the week a league-leading four times.
But the expectation was Ohio State sophomore Braxton Miller would be the choice after the Buckeyes finished 12-0. Miller was the media choice, and thus won the Griese-Brees quarterback of the year award.
Nebraska offensive coordinator Tim Beck told The World-Herald after practice Monday that he was pleased about Martinez's honor.
“With the improvement that he's made,” Beck said, “and what he's done for this football team, and leading us to a championship, I think he's earned it. He worked hard this offseason. I'm proud of him.”
In an earlier interview Monday, Beck said:
“Probably the biggest part of our success has been through him. He's made a lot of plays for us, and he's done a great job of keeping our guys composed through some bad parts of games.”
The production statistics for Martinez and Ohio State's Miller are nearly identical. Martinez accounted for 3,316 yards and 29 touchdowns; Miller 3,310 and 28. Martinez had two more interceptions (eight) than Miller.
The Big Ten Network panel hosting Monday's awards show spent far more time talking about Miller than Martinez, and conducted an on-camera interview with OSU coach Urban Meyer about Miller.
Nebraska's only first-team pick by both the coaches and the media was offensive lineman Spencer Long. Three others earned first-team honors: defensive end Eric Martin (media), safety Daimion Stafford (media) and place-kicker Brett Maher (media).
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Maher shared the league's top place-kicker award with Northwestern's Jeff Budzien.
Iowa cornerback Micah Hyde was voted the Big Ten's best defensive back.
Nebraska's second-team picks:
Martinez (media), Stafford (coaches), Martin (coaches), running back Ameer Abdullah (coaches), wide receiver Kenny Bell (both), offensive lineman Jeremiah Sirles (both), defensive lineman Baker Steinkuhler (coaches), linebacker Will Compton (coaches) and Maher as kicker and punter (coaches).
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>> Video: NU's Taylor Martinez at the Monday press conference: