Adrian Martinez

It was an up-and-down day for Adrian Martinez, who completed 13 of 22 passes for 178 yards and an interception.

LINCOLN — Good news, Husker fans. Nebraska, 1-0, is ahead of last season. But not by much.

All the feel-good hype of the preseason fell with a thud Saturday. Nebraska won a sluggish season opener over South Alabama. But the performance provided more questions than answers.

Here are World-Herald columnist Tom Shatel's takeaways.

1. Are Scott Frost and the NU administration taking a bold strategy with Maurice Washington? It depends. It’s hard to know because this is such an unusual case in college athletics. Washington faces two charges in California, including one felony, for sending a sexual video to a former girlfriend depicting the girl in a sex act. What will a California judge or jury do with this? Will it get that far or get pleaded down? And will NU’s decision to play Washington on Saturday — and going forward — impact all of that? Frost could have held Washington out until the case was decided, but he chose to administer team punishment, including a benching in the first half Saturday. The coach added that there could be more penalties depending on how the court case is resolved. It will be very interesting to see how this goes.

2. Nebraska’s offensive line will grow and get better. But how much better this season? I wonder if Frost might try to get a running game more out of the spread, especially with Washington able to hit the corner in a hurry. Martinez will need to be more decisive running the ball, too. Having Washington around full time would make a big difference, as will Wan’Dale Robinson. That kid is really going to be something.

3. That blitz by Cam Taylor was a nice surprise by defensive coordinator Erik Chinander. The defense got a good push up front, and Darrion Daniels lived up to his billing. But if quarterbacks have to worry about a fast defensive back coming off the edge, that’s a nice off-speed pitch for Chinander. Actually, more like a fastball.