Adrian Martinez

Adrian Martinez had plenty to be happy about as he threw for 257 yards and accounted for three total touchdowns.

World-Herald columnist Tom Shatel shares his immediate thoughts following the Huskers' 44-8 victory against Northern Illinois.

1. This was a good win. Coming off the bad loss at Boulder, and a week of soul searching, the Huskers faced a dangerous opponent. This one didn’t solve all problems, but it was food for the soul. And check around the Big Ten on Saturday. A lot of teams would take this one.

2. How about that defense? Before the season, the Blackshirts were a question mark, but three games in they have become a strength with some of the best tackling we’ve seen in years at Memorial Stadium and a lot of speed and energy. Guys are making plays. The highlight came with 12:42 left, with NIU facing fourth-and-goal at the NU 1. The Huskies tried a pass to the pylon and safety Eli Sullivan stretched out and tipped it away. The Blackshirts didn’t allow a TD. With the offense still misfiring, and the kicking game ablaze, these guys are right on time.

3. For a team missing its starting kicker, Nebraska’s special teams were really good. Coach Jovan Dewitt sent four or five bodies at NIU’s punter on at least three occasions and blocked two punts. When was the last time the blocked punt was a weapon for the Huskers? Get out your ’90s VHS tapes. It got into the head of NIU coach Thomas Hammock, who went to a quick kick twice on fourth down. Meanwhile, Isaac Armstrong’s woes at placekicking did not carry over to this punting duties, where he was stellar.

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