Two things were revealed in Nebraska’s come-from-behind, 34-27 win over Ohio State on Saturday night: One, that Cornhuskers quarterback Taylor Martinez can shake off the boo-birds; and two, that the Buckeyes go paws up anytime quarterback Joe Bauserman steps onto the field.
Nebraska’s fans had the knives out in the second quarter, letting Martinez know their displeasure after an interception. Eventually, Ohio State had taken a 27-6 third-quarter lead. But then Martinez ran for a 13-yard touchdown and threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to Quincy Enunwa, and the biggest rally in team history was on.
Bauserman, replacing an injured Braxton Miller (10 carries for 91 yards), completed only 1 of 10 passes for 13 yards with an interception. . . .
Another quarterback — UCLA’s Kevin Prince — turned boos into cheers on Saturday night. Prince entered the Bruins’ game against Washington State in the second quarter after starter Richard Brehaut broke his leg and led UCLA to a touchdown on his first drive. Then, late in the fourth quarter, he found Shaquelle Evans for a seven-yard touchdown and Nelson Rosario for the two-point conversion to give the Bruins a 28-25 lead that would hold up.
Prince was generally reviled in Westwood after throwing three interceptions in the first quarter of UCLA’s 49-20 loss to Texas on Sept. 17, and entered to boos on Saturday night.
Don’t look now, but the lightly regarded Bruins might be the only viable challenger to Arizona State in the Pacific-12 South (Southern California is on probation and can’t play for the conference title). Colorado, Utah and Arizona are a combined 0-9 in conference play. UCLA is 2-1, and its Nov. 5 game with the Sun Devils (3-0) could decide who plays the North champ in the title game. It might also be the only way for Bruins Coach Rick Neuheisel (18-25 in three-plus seasons as UCLA’s coach) to save his job.
It wasn’t a great day for the Mountain West, which has long sought an automatic Bowl Championship Series bid but is almost laughably top-heavy. Wyoming, UNLV and Air Force dropped their three nonconference games Saturday (to Utah State, Nevada and Notre Dame, so it wasn’t like they were playing Alabama, LSU and Oklahoma) by a combined 159-52. The conference’s last-place team and national punch line — 0-5 New Mexico — mercifully had the day off.
Next week’s schedule, like this past week’s, will not inspire any odes to the majesty of college football. Oklahoma State, which I think just scored again against Kansas, visits Texas, which was poleaxed by Oklahoma. Florida visits Auburn. The best game might just be Virginia Tech’s visit to once-again-plucky Wake Forest, which is 3-0 in ACC for the first time after Saturday’s domination of Florida State.