Nebraska dominated every facet of the game against Maryland, out-gaining the Terrapins 531-206 in a 54-7 victory. Here are position grades from today’s game:
Sophomore quarterback Adrian Martinez made his fair share of risky throws, with one interception on the day. However, it’s hard to fault his 194 passing yards and 94 rushing yards with three total touchdowns. One of those scores, a 25-yard strike to junior wideout JD Spielman, was a throw that should have been intercepted, but ended up going Nebraska’s way.
Martinez was a threat on the ground all day long and found success in the read option, marking a successful day for the team’s starter.
Meanwhile, freshman Luke McCaffrey did it all for the Huskers on Saturday. Deployed at wideout for most of the game, he caught one pass for 12 yards and looked comfortable blocking on the perimeter. Taking over at quarterback in the fourth quarter, McCaffrey’s explosiveness was on display as he ran for 83 yards and threw for 32 more. Maryland could hardly stop the dual-threat QB and he punched in a 3-yard rushing score late in the game.
Running backs: B
After last week’s big performance, junior Dedrick Mills had an effective first half while he battled against illness. Mills had 12 carries for 65 yards and punched in Nebraska’s first score of the day, a 6-yard rush in the first quarter.
With the game out of reach, Mills took a seat in the second half and true freshman running back Rahmir Johnson took over. He showed his explosiveness in bursts, gaining 55 yards on 18 carries. Johnson also scored the first touchdown of his Husker career, a 1-yard rush, and withstood big hits from multiple Maryland defenders.
Wide Receivers: A-
With senior Kanawai Noa out for the game, it was the Spielman show at wideout. He had seven catches for 104 yards, including a pair of touchdown grabs. The first was a present from the Maryland defense which he snagged out of midair, and his second put the game out of reach at 31-0. Spielman also became the first player in Nebraska history with three 800-yard receiving seasons.
The likes of sophomore Kade Warner, senior Jaron Woodyard and senior Mike Williams caught passes as well.
Offensive line/tight end: A
Nebraska’s offensive line put together a steady performance and found success in both run blocking and pass protection. The line created openings which allowed the Huskers to amass 305 yards on the ground and allowed just one sack.
Junior Jack Stoll, sophomore Austin Allen and freshman Chris Hickman caught a pass apiece at tight end and Stoll was especially effective in downfield blocking as well.
Defensive line: A+
What a difference a week makes. After being gashed for 320 yards by Wisconsin’s rushing attack and generating zero sacks, the Husker defensive front put together a solid evening. The Huskers had six sacks, and most of them came in key moments.
Three of the sacks came on third down and two more came on fourth down, with all of them resulting in either a Maryland punt or turnover on downs. Senior Khalil Davis led the way with 2.5 sacks, along with senior Carlos Davis, who added another sack.
With the exception of the Terrapins’ only score on the day, a 58-yard rushing touchdown, the Huskers did a good job slowing down the Maryland rushing attack.
Juniors Collin Miller and JoJo Domann joined the sack party with one apiece. Miller led the team with six total tackles while his linebacking partner, senior Mohamed Barry, only made two tackles, but played well in pass coverage and recovered a fumble. Junior Will Honas followed with five tackles, and the second level of Nebraska’s defense had a solid showing.
Maryland had four different quarterbacks throw a pass against the Huskers and none of them found success against a stifling Husker secondary. The Terrapins completed just 7-21 passes for 57 yards and the passing game was shut down all game long.
Senior cornerback Lamar Jackson and sophomore safety Cam Taylor-Britt both forced fumbles, part of four fumbles for Maryland on the day.
Special Teams: A+
Welcome to the Nebraska football team, Matt Waldoch and Harrison Martin. Sophomore Barret Pickering didn’t make the trip, but a pair of walk-ons who weren’t on the roster to begin the year didn’t miss a beat, and made all 10 of their kicks.
Waldoch looked confident from close range, hitting a trio of 29-yarders as the team’s starting kicker, and he also went a perfect six for six on extra points. Martin added an 18-yard chip shot in the fourth quarter.
Nebraska also recovered a fumble on special teams, and senior Isaac Armstrong averaged 53 yards on his two punts, including a booming 60-yard effort.