Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez gets past Kansas State defensive tackle Ray Kibble (95) to score a touchdown during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game Thursday, Oct. 7, 2010, in Manhattan, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) | Buy Journal Photos


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Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara (21) breaks up a pass intended for Kansas State wide receiver Brodrick Smith (5) during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game Thursday, Oct. 7, 2010, in Manhattan, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Kansas State running back Daniel Thomas (8) is tackled by Nebraska defensive back Eric Hagg (28) during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game Thursday, Oct. 7, 2010, in Manhattan, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Taylor Made

By ARNE GREEN Salina Journal

MANHATTAN — Kansas State was looking for a showcase performance, but it didn’t take Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez long to steal the show.

Martinez punished K-State with 241 yards rushing and four touchdowns, plus threw for another score as the No. 7-ranked Cornhuskers rolled to a 48-13 victory Thursday night at sold-out Snyder Family Stadium.

Much of the crowd of 51,015 was gone by the time Nebraska completed the rout and pushed its record to 5-0 in its Big 12 opener and knocked K-State (4-1, 1-1) out of the North Division lead.

“That’s embarrassing,” K-State receiver Chris Harper said. “We were thinking this game was going to be an opportunity for us to show the world how good we were and we came in here and flat fell on our faces.”

Martinez, a redshirt freshman, wasn’t the only weapon for the Huskers, who amassed 587 yards total offense, including 451 on the ground. After grabbing a 17-3 halftime lead, they cut loose with three big third-quarter plays to blow it wide open.

Martinez started the blitz with an 80-yard run on the third play of the half and Roy Helu Jr. began the next possession with a 68-yarder. Martinez, who completed 5 of 7 passes for 128 yards, went up top for the third touchdown of the period, finding a wide-open Kyler Reed down the middle for 79 yards.

“Pretty embarrassing,” K-State defensive end Antonio Felder said of the debacle. “It’s always frustrating when a team’s gashing you.

“You’ve just got to go to the sideline and try to fix it and keep fighting.”

Martinez, who came in as the Big 12’s third-leading rusher at 124 yards a game, completed his day with a 41-yard touchdown with 12:20 left.

“I am glad this was my first Big 12 game and we came out on top and played very well,” Martinez said.

He clearly confirmed K-State coach Bill Snyder’s worst fears.

“I knew we’d have trouble with him,” Snyder said. “How much I didn’t really know.

“He’s quick and he’s fast and we’re not very fast. That’s not a good matchup.”

The Wildcats were overmatched in more than just Nebraska’s running game. Offensively they had more than a third of their 315 total yards in the fourth quarter with the issue already settled.

“We didn’t run the ball very well, we didn’t throw it extremely well, we didn’t play defense against the run or the pass very well,” Snyder said. “I told our players that this could very easily come down to the kicking game and we did well enough in the kicking game.

“Everything else fell on its face.”

Daniel Thomas, the league rushing leader coming in, had his second straight tough outing, managing just 63 yards on 22 carries. The Wildcats looked to him frequently in the passing game, but netted just 36 yards on his eight catches.

“I thought we did some good things (against Thomas),” Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said. “We kind of got out ahead, which takes them out of the game a little bit.

“Overall our guys played well against him but he’s a good football player.”

K-State finished with 180 rushing yards and 192 through the air.

The Wildcats’ lone touchdown came with 9:57 left on Carson Coffman’s 2-yard, fourth-down pass to Harper. But Coffman, who completed 14 of 22 passes for 91 yards, was replaced by Collin Klein for part of the third quarter before returning to lead the scoring drive.

The only other Wildcat points came on field goals of 46 and 48 yards by Josh Cherry – a Nebraska native.

“Especially with Nebraska being my home state, I really wanted it tonight,” Cherry said. “You have your ups and downs throughout the season and tonight was definitely a down for us.”

Martinez touchdown runs of 14 yards in the first quarter and 35 in the second, plus Alex Henery’s 39-yard field goal with 26 seconds left gave Nebraska its halftime cushion.

Martinez, who also set up the field goal with a 54-yard run, had 129 yards on 11 carries in the first half, plus completed all four of his passes for 49 yards. Nebraska outgained K-State 237 yards to 114.

The Wildcats moved the ball effectively on their first possession, taking the opening kickoff and marching 55 yards before Coffman was stopped a yard short on fourth and 2 at the Nebraska 25-yard line.

The Huskers answered with an eight-play, 76-yard scoring drive capped by a 24-yard completion to Mike McNeill and Martinez’s 14-yard run up the right middle.

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