January 31, 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 tip zone to attain a landing throughout the sport in opposition to the College of Oklahoma on Saturday, Sept. twenty fourth. (Elizabeth Sandstrom | Collegian Media Group)

Three video games in, many thought the e-book 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 point within the passing sport that was holding them again. Then, the Oklahoma sport occurred.

As if stellar QB play in opposition to the Sooners has turn out to be a brand new faculty custom, Martinez confirmed what he believed was his greatest efficiency of his profession, he mentioned in his post-game press convention. It displayed what he may do as the focus of the offense. Many can take a look at his stats and level out why Martinez has proved doubters fallacious, 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 fallacious wasn’t by way of displaying new skills, somewhat, it was displaying 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 taking part in to win. This was proven by way of a number of passes down the seam to tight finish Ben Sinnott, properly positioned over-the-shoulder throws to extensive receiver Kade Warner and even a dangerous soar ball move to extensive receiver Malik Knowles. His aggressiveness even flowed by way of his working sport 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 (retaining Kansas outdoors the highest 25) brings new expectations to the crew. It’s not a 12 months 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 Huge 12 all the way in which right down to +2500 at one level. These odds have now risen to +550, giving Ok-State the fifth greatest odds, with Oklahoma State and Baylor not far off in entrance at +330. 

A wholesome mixture of offense and protection could possibly be the recipe to incomes a spot within the Huge 12 Championship Sport. The protection has already confirmed to be among the many greatest within the convention. Their move dashing capability, complemented by the takeaway machine from the secondary, makes any opposing offense inclined to errors. Oklahoma, alternatively, 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 type with persistence from Martinez; defense possible gained’t battle this season. For Ok-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 surprise? His capability to carry out at the next stage has been confirmed, and in opposition to a fantastic crew at that. The protection and the working sport have been established since week one, however this passing offense provides a brand new ingredient to the crew. Martinez won’t be required to play as much as that stage each week and shouldn’t be anticipated to. Simply trying high-risk, high-reward performs extra typically will enhance the crew’s ceiling drastically. If that turns into a development and never a one-off, search for the Wildcats to be close to the highest of the Huge 12 throughout the vacation season, with the prospect to play within the Huge 12 title sport for the primary time since 2003 and since its reinstatement in 2017.

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