Coming off an ugly pair of losses to Wisconsin and Michigan State, and with Ohio State looming in a couple of weeks, NU desperately needs a win at Nebraska. Here are three crucial things to know about Northwestern’s week six opponent:
Nebraska’s second-year coach had a lot of hype behind him
Scott Frost spent just two years at UCF prior to signing to become the head coach with the Cornhuskers. Coming off of an 13-0 campaign in his final season with the Knights, fans thought that Frost may bring the return of dominant football to Nebraska, his alma mater.
After a poor first season, in which Nebraska went 4-8, losing to Colorado, Troy, and of course, Northwestern, the general media consensus was that the poor season was a result of Frost’s transition, and that the 2019 season would see their return to the forefront of college football. And while the season is still young, the pressure is on Frost to start turning things around.
The Cornhuskers’ season has been as disappointing as Northwestern’s
Nebraska came into the season ranked between 20-25 on most preseason polls. They then immediately crushed some of their pre-season hopes with an ugly 34-31 OT loss to Colorado week 2. After that they beat NIU and squeaked by U of I to gain some momentum again, before getting walloped by OSU in week 5.
With the preseason expectations for Nebraska, 3-2 has to be at least a slight disappointment, especially losing to Colorado, and not even competing in the slightest against OSU. They have to make some major adjustments, and do so quickly, or their season might spiral out of control sooner than later.
Its quarterback hasn’t yet met his preseason expectations. Sound familiar?
Adrian Martinez, like Hunter Johnson, had plenty put on his shoulders heading into his sophomore year. People had discussed Martinez as a Heisman candidate coming into the season. He, so far, has failed to come close to those expectations, posting a QBR of 53.4, the 77th best in the country. To accompany that, he only has seven touchdowns through five games, and has thrown five interceptions.
While his stats aren’t quite as poor as HJ’s, they aren’t that of a quality Big Ten quarterback, saying nothing of a Heisman candidate. Martinez isn’t all to blame for Nebraska’s poor start, but similarly to Johnson, he will get a lot of the credit either way, whether it be deserved or not. Last year, he went off against the Wildcats in a tough loss, though, and he’s hoping to put his mark on this game as well.