LINCOLN — Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini has talked about it until he's red in the face: NU is pretty darn good when it gets out of its own way.
In Saturday's 30-27 win over Wisconsin in Lincoln, Nebraska faced a long road back from what was a stunning first-half deficit.
The Badgers jumped to an early 14-0 lead and led by 17 twice at 20-3 and 27-10, before the Nebraska offense finally got on track.
"We made it hard on ourselves," Pelini said.
"We didn't play our best football but we stayed the course as a football team. I'm proud of the group."
NU pulled off what is its second-largest comeback in school history — the first coming in a 34-27 win over Ohio State last season – this time rallying with a big third-quarter again.
With Nebraska trailing 27-10 with 10:29 to play in the third quarter, Martinez found a huge opening in the Wisconsin defense on a quarterback draw, scoring on a 38-yard run to make it 27-17. That capped off a four-play, 77-yard drive.
On NU's next possession Martinez led the Huskers on a 10-play, 75-yard drive, capped off on a 10-yard touchdown pass to tight end Kyler Reed to make it 27-24. Brett Maher hit two field goals including the winning kick with 9:41 to play.
Martinez finished the night with 107 yards rushing and was 17 for 29 through the air with 181 yards and two touchdowns. The Nebraska offense fumbled the ball six times, losing two.
Although Nebraska was down 20-10 at half, Pelini said he reminded his team of the road it has already traveled.
"You know what, it's a 60-minute game," he said. "There are momentum swings, there are always turning points in football games. You've got to stay the course. You've got to play ever play and try and outlast it. It's a fist fight. It's not one play or one series or one quarter. You've got to stay the course.
"We've been in tougher positions than that before. The situation we were in, a lot of it was self-imposed. I know you guys get sick of hearing it, but we've got to fix us."
I-back Rex Burkhead finished the night with 86 yards rushing on 18 carries, including a 21-yard run. His backup Ameer Abdullah finished with 70 yards on just 10 rushes, including a lot of tough yards in the fourth quarter when Nebraska was trying to work the clock a bit.
Abdullah was huge in the kick-return game as the sophomore finished with 142 return yards including an 83-yarder that set up a Brett Maher field goal in the first half.
The Husker offense finished with 446 total yards, including 265 on the ground.