This was not the debut that Nebraska fans had waited so long to see.
Colorado scored a touchdown with 66 seconds left to take a 33-28 lead over Nebraska and held on as backup quarterback Andrew Bunch had to try to lead Nebraska on a game-winning touchdown drive.
Bunch was called on because starter Adrian Martinez was sitting on the bench with ice on his right knee. The Huskers got down to Colorado’s 21 but the drive stalled with a formation penalty that caused Nebraska to use its final timeout. The Huskers then didn’t get any closer to the end zone and lost in the first game of Scott Frost’s tenure as the team’s head coach.
Penalty helped lead to game-winning TD
Colorado’s own game-winning drive looked toast after a pass on third-and-24 fell incomplete. But Nebraska’s Antonio Reed was called for a hit to a defenseless receiver — a penalty that resulted in an automatic first down instead of the fourth down the Buffaloes were staring in the face.
With first down at the Nebraska 40, QB Steven Montez found WR Laviska Shenault in the end zone for a 40-yard score and a five-point lead.
Montez and Shenault have been one of the best quarterback-receiver combinations through the first two weeks of the season. Shenault had 11 catches for over 200 yards in Week 1 and had 10 catches for 177 yards and the TD on Saturday.
Colorado’s Jay MacIntyre also scored two touchdowns for the Buffaloes. He’s the son of Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre, who was emotional after the game when talking about getting to see his son score.
Martinez accounted for three scores
The biggest concern in Lincoln surrounds the health of the Huskers’ true freshman quarterback. Martinez threw for two touchdowns and ran for another until he injured his knee late in the fourth quarter. He was tended to by Nebraska’s medical personnel in the team’s injury tent and was briefly shown limping across the field when the game was over.
Martinez won the starting job before the season and became the first Nebraska freshman to begin the season as the team’s starting quarterback. He was 15-of-20 passing for 187 yards and had 15 carries for 117 yards in his debut on Saturday.
“[Martinez is] a heck of a player. I sure hope he’s OK,” MacIntyre said.
Nebraska’s first game of the season — and Frost’s first with the team since he was a quarterback in the 1990s — was Saturday because its Week 1 game against Akron was rained out. The Cornhuskers may end up making up the game with the Zips on Dec. 1 if it’s needed for bowl-eligibility purposes.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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