Adrian Martinez

Nebraska's Adrian Martinez breaks for a long run ahead of Illinois' Jartavius Martin in the fourth quarter at Memorial Stadium.

Each week, The World-Herald will track Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez's play game-to-game, including wow plays, turnovers, market indicator and more.

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Two wow plays

Martinez had two plays longer than 40 yards. One might have been the most important play of his 2019 season. In the fourth quarter, on second-and-2, Martinez found some room on the outside on a scramble and took off. And for the first time this year, he really found top speed on his way past linebackers and some defensive backs. He was forced out of bounds after 44 yards, but showed he does still have that breakaway speed that’s been missing in his game this year. It put him over 100 yards rushing for the first time in 2019 (he finished with 118) and showed Nebraska can still use him in the run game when he’s decisive. The other wow play came on the 2-point conversion. Martinez keyed in on the pylon, dived and got it. Again using his legs in a key moment. It almost seemed as if he forgot how dangerous he was on the ground this year. On Saturday, he remembered.

Basic stats

Martinez was 22 for 34 for 327 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. He added 118 yards on 18 carries. His longest run was 44 yards, his longest pass 41 yards to JD Spielman.

Turnovers

In the first half, Martinez had a sloppy exchange with Maurice Washington that ended up in a turnover and seven Illinois points. A pass was later swatted out of his hand, which was called a fumble.

Martinez Market indicator

Up. Look, there are issues still. He made mistakes. But at the end of the day, you really have to ask yourself: Do you want Adrian Martinez as your quarterback in the fourth quarter? You can scoff at the yards because it was against Illinois, but, really, of the last few Nebraska quarterbacks, is there anyone you’d rather have than this sophomore? — Chris Heady

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Chris Heady covers Husker football and is the Nebraska men's basketball beat writer. He started at The World-Herald in 2017. Follow him on Twitter @heady_chris. Email: chris.heady@owh.com.

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