Purdue looks to take care of a struggling Nebraska team at home in the cold.
Nebraska is now in their second season under former star quarterback and now head coach Scott Frost. Nebraska was wildly inconsistent in their first year under Frost, but they looked like they had a lot of momentum going into 2019. Despite a 4-8 record from the previous season, the Cornhuskers began 2019 ranked No. 24 in the AP Poll and were projected to make the trip to Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship game.
They also had a potential Heisman candidate in sophomore quarterback Adrian Martinez.
They began the season with a home game against South Alabama. They started out slow but took control of the game and won 35-21. The following week, they traveled west to continue their rivalry with the Pac-12 foe, the Colorado Buffaloes. Colorado beat the Huskers the previous year in Lincoln, but most thought Nebraska would have no trouble this year. They started out the game hot and looked like they were going to take care of the game, but they cooled off at a bad time. The Buffs made a huge comeback and forced overtime. Once there, the Buffs kicked a field goal and the Huskers missed one, and Nebraska lost.
They then rebounded against Northern Illinois the following week before they were set to go on the road to begin Big Ten play against Illinois. Nebraska once again struggled but pulled out some late game magic and won 42-38.
College GameDay came to Lincoln the following week for their cross-division game against Ohio State. It was a trendy upset pick in the offseason, but Ohio State immediately put the game away. In arguably one of the worst losses in school history, Nebraska was never really in the game, losing 48-7. Like its season so far, the Huskers would rebound with a win. This time it came against Northwestern, where they won 13-10.
The potential Heisman quarterback, Martinez, was not living up to expectations and was injured for the next game against red hot Minnesota.
In place of Martinez, the Huskers started sophomore Noah Vedral, and it did not lead to success. The Huskers got dominated on both sides of the ball, and the Golden Gophers continued their win streak and handed the Huskers their third loss of the year.
To this point, they were 4-3 overall and had another cross divisional home game ahead of them, except this time it was the historically below average Indiana Hoosiers. Most predicted the Huskers to win, but they struggled from the beginning. They had a chance at the end, but they ultimately lost another game, and Indiana continued to roll to one of its best starts in school history.
The Huskers’s record now sits at 4-4 overall and 2-3 in the Big Ten.
Now Nebraska will look to rebound against the struggling Boilermakers, and the addition of Martinez back to the starting lineup is going to help.
“You’re always going to get an athletic quarterback who is going to run that system and get the field and get you in space and be able to use his legs to get some first downs and buy us some time on some throws,” head coach Jeff Brohm said about Martinez.
The Huskers also have one of the most dynamic receivers in the country, freshman Wan’Dale Robinson, to go along with plenty of other skilled players.
“They are as talented of a group as we have faced all year,” safeties coach Anthony Poindexter said.
The similarities between Robinson and sophomore wide receiver Rondale Moore run deep. Not only do they have similar sounding first names and they come from the same state — Kentucky — but also their play styles are often compared.
“Their play is familiar,” Brohm said. “He’s a playmaker. He’s strong. He’s built low to the ground. He can do a lot of things for them.”
The Huskers have had been dealt bad luck, injuries and trouble on the sidelines. Sophomore star running back Maurice Washington has been dealing with off-the-field drama for some time now and he still remains suspended indefinitely.
Both teams will be looking to get their seasons back on track and climb up the Big Ten West standings.