Scott Frost and the Nebraska Cornhuskers (0-5, 0-3 Big Ten) head to Evanston this weekend to take on a Northwestern (2-3, 2-1) team coming off a huge road win at Michigan State. No one expected Scott Frost to turn things around immediately in Lincoln, but between a home loss to Troy and a drubbing in Ann Arbor, the Scott Frost era couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start. Besides the fact that Nebraska is 0-5 and Scott Frost still hasn’t won a game, here are three things to know about the Cornhuskers ahead of this weekend’s matchup:
Nebraska lacks discipline
Through five games, Nebraska is averaging 97.4 penalty yards per game, which has them 130th (aka last) of all FBS teams. The Cornhuskers’ penalty problems have gotten particularly worse the past two games — they committed ten penalties for 100 yards on at Wisconsin and 11 for 136 yards against Purdue two weeks ago. Northwestern, by comparison, sits at No. 7 in the country with just 34.2 penalty yards per game. Expect a lot of yellow laundry on Saturday out of the Cornhuskers.
Adrian Martinez is a talented dual-threat quarterback
Perhaps the only bright spot to Nebraska’s season thus far is the impressive play of dual-threat true freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez. Martinez looked strong in Nebraska’s opener before suffering an injury on a dirty Colorado hit.
In his last two starts, Martinez has thrown for 300+ yards and rushed for at least 50 more on the ground. Sure, the Cornhuskers lost both those games by double digits, but there’s no doubt Martinez poses a serious threat to a Northwestern defense that tends to struggle against dual-threat quarterbacks, and especially communist ones.
Like NU, the Cornhuskers also have kicking issues
Nebraska kicker Barret Pickering is 4-of-7 on field goal attempts this year and his season long is just 35 yards. Pickering has only attempted two field goals from 40+ yards this year and missed both of them. Pickering’s percentage is better than Kubhander’s 2-for-5 line on field goals this year, but still puts him at third to last in the Big Ten. Nebraska’s special teams unit has altogether struggled this season. ESPN has the Cornhuskers ranked last in the nation in Special Teams Efficiency.