Taylor Martinez negotiated through heavy Badger traffic on a 76-yard TD run.
By Randy York
Two iconic Nebraska touchdown runs are each eligible to win a coveted ESPY Award, and they will not compete against each other for that honor, which will be announced at ESPN’s annual ESPYS Awards show that will be telecast live from the Nokia Theatre in downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday, July 17. T-Magic (Taylor Martinez) and T-Jack (Jack Hoffman) will be rooting for each other to reach the end zone through Nebraska’s global fan base that seems to rise up whenever online voting becomes a requirement for success. Martinez, of course, scored Nebraska iconic touchdown No. 1 on a third-and-11 in the first quarter of the 2012 Big Ten Championship game against Wisconsin. Hoffman scored Nebraska iconic touchdown No. 2 less than five months later when the Huskers’ all-time total offense leader handed him the ball and then pointed and escorted the 7-year-old pediatric brain cancer patient to the North end zone in NU’s annual Spring Game.
Both memorable touchdowns are now on ESPYS ballots to win a national award when ESPN comes together as a community of fans to celebrate and relive the year’s best performances over the past 12 months. Martinez’s dazzling 76-yard touchdown run took him all the way back to his own 6-yard line before zig-zagging his way into the end zone like a runaway cab driver. Hoffman’s 69-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter of Nebraska’s nationally televised Spring Game was so inspirational it has drawn 8.4 million YouTube views.
The Martinez touchdown was nominated for Best Play, a bracket-style vote that will cut 16 seeds down to the final eight by Monday, July 8, with the final four revealed a week later on Monday, July 15. Voting will then remain open through the ESPYS Red Carpet Countdown Show and will close when the live show begins at 8 p.m. CT on July 17. Martinez’s opening-round competition goes head-to-head with Ray Allen’s 3-pointer with 5.2 seconds remaining to save the Miami Heat’s season in Game 6 of the NBA Finals. Three others join Hoffman in competition for the year’s Best Moment award, including Olympic soccer player Alex Morgan (who kicked the winning goal against Canada in a semifinal), Olympic gold medalist and Wimbledon winner Andy Murray, and NFL head coach Chuck Pagano, who was forced to take a leave of absence from the Indianapolis Colts after being diagnosed with leukemia.
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