March 27, 2023

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Luke’s Locker: Adrian Martinez is the important thing to a possible convention title

Quarterback Adrian Martinez runs into the top zone to attain a landing throughout the recreation in opposition to the College of Oklahoma on Saturday, Sept. twenty fourth. (Elizabeth Sandstrom | Collegian Media Group)

Three video games in, many thought the guide was written on quarterback Adrian Martinez. The Nebraska switch’s efficiency featured conservative play and missed alternatives. All appeared misplaced because the crew appeared to have a weak spot within the passing recreation that was holding them again. Then, the Oklahoma recreation occurred.

As if stellar QB play in opposition to the Sooners has develop into a brand new college custom, Martinez confirmed what he believed was his greatest efficiency of his profession, he stated in his post-game press convention. It displayed what he might do as the point of interest of the offense. Many can have a look at his stats and level out why Martinez has proved doubters flawed, but it surely goes deeper than that. It’s not that he threw for 234 yards, a brand new excessive as a Wildcat. It’s not that he led the crew with 148 dashing yards on the night time. It wasn’t even that he scored all 5 touchdowns. The best way Martinez proved his doubters flawed wasn’t by means of exhibiting new abilities, somewhat, it was exhibiting a brand new mentality.

From the soar, his execution had no resemblance to his performances in opposition to South Dakota, Missouri or Tulane. Martinez gave the impression to be enjoying to win. This was proven by means of a number of passes down the seam to tight finish Ben Sinnott, properly positioned over-the-shoulder throws to huge receiver Kade Warner and even a dangerous soar ball go to huge receiver Malik Knowles. His aggressiveness even flowed by means of his operating recreation the place he ran for large conversion performs. That was highlighted by his clutch third-and-16 run for 55 yards which principally put the sport to relaxation. His willingness to place the ball in potential hazard was nullified by bringing a brand new dimension of aggression to the offense. This might give the Wildcats an improved outlook on what the crew can do going ahead. 

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Defeating the then-ranked No. 6 Oklahoma Sooners in an assertive style and incomes a No. 25 rating (conserving Kansas exterior the highest 25) brings new expectations to the crew. It’s not a yr to be happy by only a good season. This perception is shared by the sportsbooks. The aftermath of the Tulane loss pushed the Wildcats’ odds to win the Massive 12 all the best way all the way down to +2500 at one level. These odds have now risen to +550, giving Okay-State the fifth greatest odds, with Oklahoma State and Baylor not far off in entrance at +330. 

A wholesome mixture of offense and protection may very well be the recipe to incomes a spot within the Massive 12 Championship Sport. The protection has already confirmed to be among the many greatest within the convention. Their go dashing means, complemented by the takeaway machine from the secondary, makes any opposing offense prone to errors. Oklahoma, then again, had zero turnovers, allowed just one sack and scored 34 factors, however the protection nonetheless held robust within the second half when the offense slowed down. Because the protection started to fade, the offense got here again into kind with persistence from Martinez; defense possible received’t wrestle this season. For Okay-State to be an elite crew, although, Martinez will need to have the flexibility to take management of the sport if the protection falters.

Will this play proceed or will it’s a one-hit marvel? His means to carry out at a better degree has been confirmed, and in opposition to an incredible crew at that. The protection and the operating recreation have been established since week one, however this passing offense provides a brand new component to the crew. Martinez is not going to be required to play as much as that degree each week and shouldn’t be anticipated to. Simply trying high-risk, high-reward performs extra usually will enhance the crew’s ceiling drastically. If that turns into a pattern and never a one-off, search for the Wildcats to be close to the highest of the Massive 12 throughout the vacation season, with the possibility to play within the Massive 12 title recreation for the primary time since 2003 and since its reinstatement in 2017.

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