Taylor Martinez rushed for 135 yards and three touchdowns to lead Nebraska.
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Martinez, Huskers Mow Down Mocs in Opener

By NU Athletic Communications

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Lincoln, Neb. - Quarterback Taylor Martinez rushed for 135 yards and three touchdowns and Brett Maher enjoyed a perfect debut as Nebraska's starting kicker in the Huskers' 40-7 win over Tennessee at Chattanooga on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

Playing in front of an NCAA-record 312th consecutive sellout of 84,833 at Memorial Stadium and a Big Ten Network television audience in the Huskers' season opener, Martinez produced the sixth 100-yard rushing game of his career. The sophomore from Corona, Calif., also sprinted for touchdown runs of 47, 43 and seven yards in Nebraska's new-look offense.

In Nebraska's first-ever game as a member of the Big Ten Conference, the Huskers rolled to 364 yards of total offense on 68 plays, including 229 rushing yards. Junior I-back Rex Burkhead added 75 yards and one touchdown on 11 carries for NU.

Martinez also completed 11-of-22 passes for 116 yards. Quincy Enunwa led the NU receivers with four receptions for 58 yards, while tight ends Ben Cotton (1-27) and Kyler Reed (1-13) also added key catches for the Huskers.

Maher added a nearly flawless performance in his starting debut in replacing 2010 first-team All-American Alex Henery. The junior place-kicker/punter went 4-for-4 on field goals, including a 50-yarder against the wind on the first attempt of his career. He added a 48-yarder on his second attempt, before connecting on tries from 34 and 21 to close the game. He was also a perfect 4-for-4 on extra points, while booming four punts for an average of 52 yards on the day.

While Martinez and Maher combined to put up 34 of Nebraska's 40 points, Cameron Meredith, Jared Crick and Lavonte David led the Blackshirts against the Mocs.

Meredith, a junior defensive end from Huntington Beach, Calif., uncorked a pair of sacks for 22 yards in losses of Chattanooga's B.J. Coleman and intercepted a pass that was deflected at the line of scrimmage by Crick. That interception set up Burkhead's third-quarter touchdown run to put the Huskers ahead 33-7.

Early in the fourth quarter, Meredith also scooped up a UTC field goal attempt that was blocked at the line by Josh Williams. Meredith ended the game with three tackles.

Crick, a senior preseason All-America defensive tackle from Cozad, Neb., finished with five tackles, including two tackles for loss. David, a senior preseason All-America linebacker from Miami, Fla., closed with a team-leading nine tackles, including a TFL.

The solid team effort in all phases allowed Nebraska to extend its nation-leading win streak in season openers to 26. The last time the Huskers lost a season opener came to Florida State (17-13) in 1985. NU has won every game in the streak by at least 10 points, and the Huskers have scored 40 or more points in 19 of the 26 games. NU has also held their opponents to 14 or fewer points 18 times.

Nebraska continues its three-game season-opening homestand next week when the Huskers play host to Fresno State. Kickoff with the Bulldogs is set for 6 p.m. with a Big Ten Network telecast.

Scoring Summary
Final: #10 Nebraska 40, Tennessee at Chattanooga 7
Saturday, Sept. 3, 2011
Memorial Stadium (Lincoln, Neb.)

First Quarter (NU, 10-0)
NU - 10:08 - Taylor Martinez 7 run (Brett Maher kick) - 4 plays, 63 yards, 1:45, NU 7-0
NU - 1:52 - Brett Maher 50 FG - 7 plays, 27 yards, 3:23, NU 10-0

Second Quarter (NU, 23-0)
NU - 10:11 - Maher 48 FG - 12 plays, 40 yards, 3:53, NU 13-0
NU - 2:07 - Martinez 43 run (Maher) - 10 plays, 76 yards, 4:35, NU 20-0
NU - 0:10 - Maher 34 FG - 8 plays, 40 yards, 0:46, NU 23-0

Third Quarter (NU, 40-7)
UTC - 11:43 - Marlon Anthony 13 pass from B.J. Coleman (Nick Pollard kick) - 
                 7 plays, 72 yards, 3:10, NU 23-7
NU - 8:30 - Maher 21 FG - 7 plays, 38 yards, 3:12 - NU 26-7
NU - 7:28 - Rex Burkhead 3 run (Maher kick) - 1 play, 3 yards, 0:04, NU 33-7
NU - 6:08 - Martinez 47 run (Maher kick) - 1 play, 47 yards, 0:11, NU 40-7

Fourth Quarter (NU, 40-7)
No Scoring

Final: #10 Nebraska 40, Tennessee at Chattanooga 7
Attendance: 85,883
Time of Game: 3:06


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