Jason Ankruh shows the form that earned him Defensive Player of the Game.
By Randy York
If football really is all about process, then Nebraska football fans need to know that three seniors, a junior and a freshman share the team-wide spotlight with Taylor Martinez, theBig Ten Conference Co-Offensive Player of the Week. The junior quarterback from Corona, Calif., was Nebraska Offensive Player of the Game, reinforcing his penchant for chess while making Southern Miss pay for defensive mistakes in the Huskers’ 49-20 season-opening win last Saturday.
Martinez looked like a grandmaster in chess, one of his favorite off-the-field games. Moving from one progressive read to another, he completed 26 of 34 passing attempts, keeping well above the 70 percent completion rate he has aspired to reach throughout fall camp. Husker Sports Network color analyst Matt Davison, who played both football and basketball at Nebraska, thought Martinez looked like a point guard, throwing quick darts and one tight spiral after another against Southern Miss. His distribution ratio was phenomenal with 10 different receivers, half of whom caught scoring passes. His 354 passing yards (with no interceptions) were impressive, but no more so than the way Martinez is handling the media this fall. Whether it’s pregame, post-practice or post-game, he’s a man on a mission and a leader who seems to appreciate every teammate contributing to the cause.
With that in mind, please congratulate Jason Ankrah, a 6-4 265-pound junior defensive end from Gaithersburg, Md. Ankrah was Nebraska Defensive Player of the Game. He made two solo tackles, two assisted tackles and was credited with one tackle for a loss. Ankrah also broke up a pass. Steven Osborne, a 6-4, 205-pound senior wide receiver from Garland, Texas, was named Nebraska Special Teams Player of the Game, and it’s probably safe to say that his two receptions for 36 yards did not hurt his cause for team-wide honors. One was a spectacular NFL-type catch where Osborne out-leaped a defender for a 29-yard touchdown catch that transformed a precarious 21-17 lead into 28-17. “Steven’s a great example of a guy who stays the course,” Nebraska Coach Bo Pelini said. “He kept working and waited for his opportunity, and when he got his opportunity, he took advantage of it.”
While Martinez, Ankrah and Osborne received prime-time television attention for their heroics, two Husker seniors and a freshman delivered worthy performances in the shadows of a productive week-long practice leading up to the game. Alonzo Moore, a 6-2, 170-pound defensive back from Winnfield, La., was the Nebraska Scout Team Offensive Player of the Game. Kenny Anderson, a 6-2 260-pound senior defensive tackle from Omaha (Millard West), was the Husker Scout Team Defensive Player of the Game. Taylor Dixon, a 5-11, 195-pound senior wide receiver from Wauneta, Neb. (Wauneta, Palisade), was the Scout Team Special Teams Player of the Game.
“Three of the six players that we’ve honored are seniors, including two from the Scout Team,” said Jeff Jamrog, a Nebraska football Academic All-American who walked on at Nebraska and now serves as the Huskers’ assistant athletic director for football operations. “We’re proud of all six honorees because every one of them contributed to the cause,” Jamrog said. “Steven Osborne has never quit working since he got here and now he’s seeing the rewards of his hard work. When you have two more seniors who bring it every day to the Scout Team, you have some very special players whose focus is on one thing – the team. They’re all very important to the process of winning, and they all deserve to be recognized.”
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