Colorado beat Nebraska on Saturday, pulling out a 33-28 win that was a messy, emotional affair that makes college football such a beautiful sport. Except for perhaps one play.
Playing in his first game, true freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez led the Huskers from a 14-0 deficit to a 28-27 lead, completing 15-of-20 passes for 187 yards with a touchdown and an interception while rushing 15 times for a game-high 117 yards and two touchdowns.
With the ball near midfield and under four minutes to play, Nebraska appeared primed to put the game away for good, until Martinez was forced to leave the game after an awkward tackle. Martinez’s right leg was grabbed by Buffs linebacker Jacob Callier, and he was pushed to the ground by CU linebacker Nate Landman while still in Callier’s grasp, forcing Martinez to crumple to the ground awkwardly.
Without a scholarship backup quarterback, Nebraska was forced to turn to walk-on Andrew Bunch, who, after a Colorado touchdown, led Nebraska’s game-saving drive to the CU red zone but no further. Colorado won the game, 33-28.
Fortunately, Martinez’s season is not over. Nebraska head coach Scott Frost told reporters Monday that Martinez is day-to-day and has not been ruled out of Nebraska’s date with Troy on Saturday.
— Andrew Ward (@AndrewWardKLKN) September 10, 2018
Though the play will not end Martinez’s season, Nebraska is not ready to move on. Frost said Monday the Nebraska staff has submitted video to both the Big Ten and Pac-12 offices.
“You never want to think anybody on a football field would intentionally want to hurt anybody else, and nobody except someone that does that knows what the intentions were,” Frost said. “I will tell you that we have an angle that doesn’t look very good.”
Adrian Martinez hurt his leg in @HuskerFBNation's first game.
Updates: He's day-to-day, and the team has turned the play into the Big Ten and Pac-12 offices, for possible foul play.
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) September 10, 2018
It’s possible this action by Callier is what Nebraska wants both leagues to take a look at.
In this angle, you can clearly see Landman push Martinez back upon himself after he was already tackled.
Frost didn’t come out and say Martinez was intentionally injured on a dirty hit, but it’s hard to imagine Nebraska going through the trouble of submitting film to two separate conference offices if they didn’t believe they had incriminating evidence on their hands.
Whatever the result of those reviews, Colorado is going to keep the win, Martinez (thankfully) will return to the field, and the CU-NU rivalry has some added animosity for the rematch next September in Boulder.