Linebacker Lavonte David went to the sideline and urged his teammates to play smart and not give up.
“We’re not out of this,” David told them.
Martinez ran untouched into the end zone from 18 yards to start the rally. Then came his 36-yard TD pass to Quincy Enunwa and his tying 30-yarder to Rex Burkhead after Stanley Jean-Baptiste intercepted Joe Bauserman in his first game at cornerback after moving from receiver.
Burkhead, who ran 26 times for 119 yards, scored the game-winner on a 17-yard run with 5:10 left in the game.
Martinez, maligned during the week for his performance against Wisconsin, ran 17 times for 102 yards and was 16 of 22 passing for 191 yards.
“We were just playing together as a family,” he said. “That’s been our motto all week: togetherness and ‘familiness.’ We just came together. I’m glad we came through with the win.”
Just when it looked as if Miller was ready to take ownership of the quarterback’s job, uncertainty cropped up again after he sprained his right ankle in the middle of the third quarter.
Bauserman took over and finished 1 of 10, and the Buckeyes generated only 49 yards on his four-plus series. Bauserman missed badly on several passes in an outing similar to his 2-for-14 night against Miami three weeks ago.
Pelini, who was coaching against his alma mater, offered a simple explanation for the difference in his team’s performances in the first and second halves.
“We played better football,” he said. “We executed. That’s what the game comes down to. The same group of guys played the second half that played the first half. We executed better the second half.”
Nebraska had 306 of its 423 yards in the second half. Its uptempo offense seemed to wear down the Buckeyes’ defense in the rain.
“They made several big plays on us,” linebacker Andrew Sweat said. “It was small stuff like a guy being out of his gap, not winning the one-on-one battle. It turned into huge plays.”
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