Just when it looked like we’d be seeing the end of Hunter Johnson’s playing time in 2019, Pat Fitzgerald and his staff had other ideas.
Despite his being left off this week’s depth chart, Rece Davis has reported on ESPN”s College Football Gameday that Hunter Johnson will start today against Minnesota. The report has been confirmed to Inside NU by Northwestern athletics.
This appearance will mark HJ’s first start since all the way back on September 28th against Wisconsin — a game that he left early due to injury.
Since that start back in September, Johnson’s playing time/status has been sporadic and, to some extent, a mystery. Since that start against the Badgers, the transfer has only see action in one of the team’s six games (Indiana), and we haven’t received any official word as to why that has been the case.
In late October, we learned that part of the quarterback’s absence from the field was due to his mother’s bout with cancer, but Pat Fitzgerald has repeatedly cited injuries as another reason Johnson has been kept on the sidelines. In his brief appearance against Indiana, the quarterback left the field with a lower body injury and hasn’t returned since, even in a backup role, despite not being listed on the injury report last week.
Anyways, after a rocky beginning to his NU career (his 2019 passing stats to date: 50-106 for 432 yards, a touchdown, and four interceptions), it looks like Johnson is going to have a chance to prove himself and defy critics as the season comes to a close in these final few games, with Aidan Smith officially sidelined due to an undisclosed injury.
The five-star Clemson transfer will be thrown right back into the fire on Senior Day against a top-ten opponent. Let’s see how things go!