LINCOLN, Neb. — Taylor Martinez ran for 135 yards and three touchdowns out of Nebraska’s new no-huddle offense and the No. 10 Cornhuskers beat UT-Chattanooga 40-7 Saturday in their first game as Big Ten members.
Rex Burkhead added 75 yards and a touchdown as the Cornhuskers won their 26th consecutive opener, the longest streak in the nation.
Martinez scored on runs of 7, 43 and 47 yards and completed 11 of 22 passes for 116 yards before giving way to Brion Carnes in the fourth quarter.
The Mocs of the Football Championship Subdivision scored their only points when Marlon Anthony caught a 13-yard pass from B.J. Coleman after cornerback Andrew Green fell.
The Huskers’ new system under first-year offensive coordinator Tim Beck revealed lots of triple-option plays and quick short passes.
Old-school Nebraska fans surely loved Beck’s first call of the game. Tyler Legate’s 1-yard run marked the first time a fullback had carried the ball for Nebraska since 2004.
There’s no doubt, however, that this offense is built around Martinez’s strengths as a runner.
Martinez, who matched his career high with 19 carries, showed no signs of the toe and ankle injuries that slowed him the second half of last season. His touchdown runs were his first in nine games, since he had a career-high four against Kansas State. It was the fourth time in his 14 career games that he had at least three TD runs.
The Mocs scored their only points on the first series of the second half, with Marlon Anthony catching a 13-yard TD pass from B.J. Coleman after cornerback Andrew Green fell.
Chattanooga couldn’t get much else going against a defense that has allowed under 11 points a game at home since 2009.
Coleman was 19 of 33 for 174 yards, with one interception.
The Huskers sacked Coleman three times. Their biggest defensive play came when the Mocs were backed up against their goal line and Cameron Meredith intercepted a pass that Jared Crick tipped at the line. The play set up Burkhead’s touchdown.