Husker Fans May Get Glimpse of Post-Martinez Future
There have been a number of frustrations for Nebraska fans in recent years. Often, the defense has been the source of pain, other times it's been the offense that's the sore point. One lightning rod for the offensive irritation has been quarterback Taylor Martinez. While he's made big plays with both his arms and legs, he's also had more than his share of sacks, fumbles, and interceptions. A number of fans have theorized that NU might be better off giving up some of his playmaking ability if it also meant fewer negative plays. That theory may be put to the test as soon as this Saturday.
Martinez could play with a turf toe injury, but now that it's no longer a secret it could really limit the offense. If he can't be effective running, will it also limit his passing? Kellogg might seem like a viable option based on his system experience, but so far he's shown little in his few on-field appearances against real competition (unless we're counting the Spring game). Armstrong may be inexperienced but he can do the most damage running and any reps he gets now can pay off in 2014 and beyond. That's not true for the other pair of quarterbacks. If Bo Pelini's job security weren't in question, he might seem the obvious choice. Instead, it really seems like a "win now" decision should be made.
Nebraska can't afford to take South Dakota State lightly. Running back Zach Zenner has averaged nearly 8 yards per carry this season (albeit against FCS-level competition). Their quarterback has been about as efficient as Taylor Martinez. With the Husker defense struggling, NU will need to score points and sustain drives.
You could go into this game and simply ask Kellogg to get NU into the right play and hand the ball off 50-60 times to Ameer Abdullah, Imani Cross, and Terrell Newby. Adding a running threat in Armstrong though would probably make Nebraska hard enough to defend that the Jackrabbits would be overmatched.
The Huskers should win this game no matter who starts at quarterback. If it were up to me though, I'd sure like to see Armstrong get the call. Martinez isn't healthy and Kellogg is too one-dimensional. If I were to guess, I'd expect Martinez to play hurt or Kellogg to get the nod based on his veteran status.
NU may need six touchdowns to win on Saturday. Whoever gets the call, better be ready to produce.