Nebraska escaped last week with a victory, but paid a price with injuries to starting sophomore quarterback Adrian Martinez and star junior wide receiver JD Spielman.
On Monday, head coach Scott Frost said little about their status this week and what their availability will be for this week’s road matchup against Minnesota. When asked about both of their availability, he said they’d be alright.
If Martinez can’t go this weekend, it will be sophomore quarterback Noah Vedral who will lead the offense. Vedral performed admirably after Martinez left with an injury, leading the Huskers on the game-winning drive.
Because of that, Frost believes the team will be in good hands if Martinez is not healthy enough to play.
“We feel comfortable if we have to go with Noah and Luke [McCaffrey],” Frost said. “Both of those guys got lots of reps today, and they have been repping a lot all through the fall, so if it ends up being them we’re fine.”
The big play on that final, game-winning drive was a 32-yard completion from Vedral to freshman all-purpose back Wan’Dale Robinson. Robinson’s performance against Northwestern earned him his second Big Ten Freshman of the Week award.
“I expected to come in and play and I expected to come in and have an impact,” Robinson said. “Not specifically having those awards, I just wanted to come in and help our team win.”
Robinson’s role in the offense has expanded as the year has gone on. With Spielman potentially missing some time, it will be important for him to continue this impressive stretch.
On the other side of the ball, the Husker defense will have their hands full with a talented Minnesota offense that has carried the Gophers to an undefeated record. The Gophers are led by a duo of talented wide receivers in Tyler Johnson and Rashod Bateman and also have big tight ends to help in both the pass game and running game.
“I think they have several good receivers, Johnson would probably be the leading one, but there’s a lot of guys you have to pay attention to,” Frost said.
“It’s going to be a real challenge on our edge because their tight ends are big bodies,” senior nose tackle Darrion Daniels said. “It’s like actually having two [extra] offensive linemen on the field at the same time.”
Saturday’s game may have an added element as the forecast currently projects a frigid October evening with the potential for snow. Frost said that hopefully the snow will hold off, but the team will plan accordingly.
Daniels and Robinson both mentioned they hadn’t played in many cold games, let alone snow games, but it shouldn’t affect them.
“I’m not used to playing in cold weather, but I get used to it. After warm-ups, I’ll be straight,” Daniels said.
“I’ve never played in the snow before so that’ll be a first,” Robinson said. “I don’t think it will change much.”
The Huskers take on Minnesota Saturday, Oct. 12 at 6:30 p.m. in Minneapolis. The game will be televised on Fox Sports 1.