His career is young, so it’s not likely the numbers will hold up as career bests, but Nebraska freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez put some big ones in the file Saturday.
Martinez completed 25 of 42 passes for 323 yards and two touchdowns, with one interception.
He also picked up a few big maturity points in the eyes of Husker coach Scott Frost.
“I think Adrian grew up a bunch today,” Frost said. “I saw a guy today that looks like he kind of figured out he can win a game. Some of the throws he made, some of the decisions he made to take it down and run it.
“Now, he still made a few freshman mistakes, and in a couple cases we have to put him in a little better situation. But we knew those were going to happen.”
The biggest miscue was an interception that gave Purdue the ball back with 8:50 left in the game. That all but sealed the 42-28 victory for the Boilermakers.
“Obviously, I’d like to have back the interception,” Martinez said. “I think that could’ve been a turning point there for us; we were obviously two possessions away for a little bit there.”
Before that, Martinez put together a strong third quarter that included two 21-yard touchdown passes to JD Spielman. He led a Husker rally. It just wasn’t enough.
“I felt more comfortable (today),” he said. “I think as we keep going, keep progressing, whatever Coach Frost thinks is going to work against a certain team, we’re going to do. (Against Purdue), I think I had a little bit more success throwing the ball than I had previous games.”
The first half started with a nifty 75-yard scoring drive, but then it got rocky and ended with Martinez going 3-for-14.
“I can’t necessarily point to one thing (wrong),” he said. “Obviously, we started the game with some energy, came out and scored exactly how we wanted to, something that we had been lacking the previous games, we just didn’t get that train going. A couple silly mistakes, some other factors kind of held us back, and a lot of it’s on me, certain decisions I made that could’ve made a difference there for sure.”
All part of the growing-up process, Frost said.
“I was watching the Clemson game today,” he said. “And they’re probably the only other team in the country that I know of that has nothing but freshman quarterbacks on their roster.
“Heck, when we started the season, our starting quarterback is a true freshman, he didn’t play as a senior in high school. So inevitably, there is going to be some growing pains. But that’s my guy and we’re going to ride with him, and this is my team and I’m going to ride with them.”