LINCOLN, Neb. -- Converted high school quarterback turned Nebraska receiver Jamal Turner had 20 games and 30 catches before finding the end zone - an experience he says changed him as a player.
With just six seconds left and Nebraska down three on the road to Michigan State, Turner caught a game-winning touchdown catch.
“It gave me a lot of confidence after that,” said Turner. “I felt, 'if I could score on Michigan State, I could score on anybody.' They were a ranked defense and a great secondary. It couldn't have come at a better time.
“After that, Taylor [Martinez] started to look at me a lot more. That is just how it is. If you show you can make plays, they are going to try get you the ball.”
The chemistry between the quarterback and third-year receiver has translated over to the spring.
“From my point of view, when I see him looking at me more, it's making me run my routes harder. I know that I might get a ball,” said Turner. “We talk a lot more on the field. I ask him things like, 'what did you see here' or 'what did you check there?' We are working together. He knows I'm a former quarterback and I know the offense well enough now that I could check a play if I needed to to help out.”
The spring has been about fine tuning for the offense and Turner is working on two things in his game.
“I'm really working on YAC yards and catching the ball in traffic,” said the junior. “When you are new to the position, you are scared you are going to get laid out. It's just a confidence that catch the ball no matter what, because you are probably still going to get hit anyway if you drop it.
“I'm trying to not dance as much, but just stick my foot and get up north. But 1-on-1, I'm probably going to dance and show off a little bit.”
In 26 games, Turner has 47 catches for 660 yards, including three touchdowns, all happening in the second half of the 2012 season.