MANHATTAN, Kan. — From Ogallala to Alliance and from Omaha to Norfolk, Nebraskans are starting to utter the name of Taylor Martinez alongside the most potent and beloved of Cornhusker quarterbacks. Turner Gill. Bradenton native Tommie Frazier. Eric Crouch.
When the college football nation wakes up this morning and sees the highlight reel of the man his teammates call T-Magic, Martinez will move to the top tier of the Heisman Trophy contender list with Michigan's Denard Robinson, Ohio State's Terrelle Pryor and Boise State's Kellen Moore.
Nebraska drilled Kansas State Thursday night 48-13 as the No. 7 Cornhuskers (5-0) raised their national profile behind their redshirt freshman quarterback.
In the first quarter, Martinez — 6 feet 1, 195 pounds, from Centennial High in Corona, Calif. — turned a busted play into a 14-yard touchdown scramble. In the second, he found a seam and galloped 35 yards for a score.
It was his 80-yard touchdown run to open the third quarter that silenced the 51,015 fans. He took a short drop, feigned a pass, then blasted up the middle.
Martinez finished the third quarter with a 79-yard touchdown pass to Kyler Reed, then opened the fourth with a 41-yard dash for his 12th running touchdown of the year. His rushing total of 242 yards broke Jammal Lord's team record for a quarterback and his four rushing TDs tied the team quarterback mark. Adding 128 passing yards, he set a Nebraska record for total offense by a freshman. He left with almost 10 minutes left.
The big win on national TV could mean some interesting voting in the next polls and also could have long-term ramifications for BCS-busters Boise State and TCU. No. 6 Oklahoma is idle this week, and No. 4 Boise State and No. 5 TCU play weak teams without national TV exposure. Nebraska could jump all three, and has only one challenging regular-season game left, at home against Texas on Oct. 16.
ex-players charged: Former Alabama receiver DJ Hall, who holds several school records, and former walk-on receiver Darwin Salaam were arrested on drug charges Wednesday at a Tuscaloosa hotel. Police received complaints that guests were smoking marijuana in a room. Both were charged with possession of marijuana and another controlled substance, then released on bonds of $30,000 each.
BYU-UTAH SERIES: The Cougars and Utes will continue meeting once they leave the Mountain West Conference next year. They will play in Provo on Sept. 17, at Salt Lake City on Sept. 25, 2012. To make room for the change, Utah canceled games with Boise State in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
PAC-10 MEETINGS: The Pac-10's athletic directors wrapped up two days of agenda-setting meetings in San Francisco and little was settled. Faced with the complex task of creating plans for revenue sharing, divisional alignment and a championship game in football, the athletic directors hashed out the details that will set the foundation for the conference's presidents and chancellors at their meeting Oct. 21.
Baylor: Receivers Willie Jefferson and Josh Gordon are free on their own recognizance after they were charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession. Waco police said that just after 2 a.m. Sunday, officers found Jefferson passed out in the driver's seat of a car in a Taco Bell drive-through, and Gordon was a passenger. The officers reported finding marijuana in the car.
North Carolina: Tight ends coach Allen Mogridge will take over as recruiting coordinator after last month's resignation of John Blake.
notre dame: Fifth-year senior center Dan Wenger won't play this season after sustaining two concussions in preseason camp. Two specialists and the school have not cleared him to return. It's not clear if he would be eligible for a sixth year. Braxston Cave is the starting center.
south carolina: Defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson said starting linebacker Shaq Wilson is likely out for the season with a hamstring issue that has bothered him since training camp.
southern cal: Defensive coordinator Ed Orgeron was briefly hospitalized because of an infection in his broken right foot. ESPN reported he left the hospital and said he'll coach Saturday at Stanford. Orgeron had surgery after breaking his foot during practice last month and has been coaching on crutches.
Southern Miss: Running back Desmond Johnson, who leads the team in rushing yards (296) and receptions (14), was suspended for Saturday's C-USA game against East Carolina. The school said he violated team policy.
texas a&m: Jerrod Johnson takes the blame for a season's worth of turnovers in the past two games, even if he can't explain them. "I'm not doing anything differently," the senior quarterback said. "It's not like they're out there confusing me. I know what coverage they're in and I know what our guys are doing." The three-year starter who owns large chunks of the A&M record book has eight interceptions in his past six quarters, equaling his 2009 total. He'll start Saturday against Arkansas.