Greg Sharpe Talks Bo Pelini, Taylor Martinez, and Previews Nebraska – South Dakota State
This has not been the best of weeks for the Nebraska football program as they get set to host South Dakota State, Saturday in Lincoln.
Blown leads on the field, blown tops off the field, and what could be a big blow to their offense, all generating headlines heading into the match-up with the Jackrabbits at Memorial Stadium.
The blown lead came against against UCLA last Saturday in Lincoln. The Cornhuskers raced out to an early 21-3 lead, but surrendered 38 unanswered points, falling 41-21.
Against a Bruins team they struggled with converting on third down and missed tackles last season, Nebraska was bitten by both in the final minutes of the first half, keying the beginnings of the UCLA rally.
Up by 18 with 4:39 to go before halftime, the Huskers managed just two yards on three plays, and had to punt the ball back with 2:24 left. Then with a chance to shut down UCLA's next drive, the Huskers missed key chanced to sack quarterback Brett Hundley, on third and 12, as he escaped for a 13-yard gain and a first down. Three plays later, UCLA was in the end zone for the first time and cut the Nebraska lead to 21-10, and, more importantly, grabbed the momentum of the game heading into the locker room at intermission:
Monday Nebraska began its' preparations for SDSU, but then was hit with a major distraction, as a 2011 audio recording of head coach Bo Pelini ripping Cornhukser fans was released.
That sent Pelini and Nebraska athletic officials into damage control, which eventually led to an apology from Pelini, and statements of concern, yet support from his bosses in Lincoln.
Sharpe was in the room with Pelini when the comments were made two years ago and I asked him about how he felt when the tape was released Monday:
As if all that isn't enough for the Huskers to deal with, starting quarterback Taylor Martinez is doubtful for the game because of a toe injury suffered against UCLA.
Redshirt freshman Tommy Armstrong will likely get the start ahead of senior Ron Kellogg III.
Two big questions: If this was a Big Ten game would Martinez be playing? How much do the Huskers lose with Armstrong at the controls?
This is the second time the Huskers have hosted the Jackrabbits in the last four seasons. In that 2010 meeting, SDSU played Nebraska, losing 17-3.
The 2013 Jacks bring the leading rusher in the FCS to Lincoln Satuday. Junior Zach Zenner is averaging 180 yards a game on the ground, junior quarterback Austin Sumner continues has thrown six touchdown passes with no interceptions, and SDSU is plus-11 in turnovers after three games:
Kickoff is 2:30pm in Lincoln, Saturday, right here on your home for Nebraska football - ESPN 99.1.