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Greg Sharpe Talks Quarterback Situation, Illinois Match-up for Nebraska Cornhuskers

Nebraska Cornhuskers
Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images

Things go from quiet to intense for the Nebraska Cornhuskers this week as the Huskers transition from a bye week to their Big Ten opener against Illinois in Lincoln.

One issue the layoff was not able to solve for Nebraska was the status of starting quarterback Taylor Martinez, who will miss the game Saturday with a turf toe injury, the same injury that kept him out of the game against South Dakota State, September 21st.

The ‘Voice of the Cornhuskers’ Greg Sharpe told me Martinez’s stay on the sideline might be an extend one:

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Tommy Armstrong
LINCOLN, NE – SEPTEMBER 7: Quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. #4 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers eyes linebacker Alan Howze #37 of the Southern Miss Golden Eagles during their game at Memorial Stadium on September 7, 2013 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska defeated Southern Miss 56-13. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)

In Martinez’s place for the second straight game will be redshirt freshman Tommy Armstrong, who threw for 169 yards and a touchdown, and ran for 38 yards against SDSU.  In that game he alternated at quarterback with senior Ron Kellogg, although no announcement has been made about whether that same rotation is in effect Saturday:

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David Santos
LINCOLN, NE – AUGUST 31: Quarterback Brett Smith #16 of the Wyoming Cowboys throws over a charging linebacker David Santos #41 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers during their game at Memorial Stadium on August 31, 2013 in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)

One opening day defensive starter for the Huskers back in action against the Illini will be linebacker David Santos, who was on the bench not because of an injury, but because of poor play:

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Nathan Scheelhaase
CHICAGO, IL – SEPTEMBER 14: Nathan Scheelhaase #2 of the Illinois Fighting Illini calls a play against the Washington Huskies at Soldier Field on September 14, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. Washington defeated Illinois 34-24. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Illinois has three wins already this season, already surpassing their win total from all of last year.  The Illini are led by quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase, who has bounced back from a 4 touchdown, 8 interception 2012, to already throw 12 touchdowns in 2013.  Some are already calling him the most improved player in the Big Ten:

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Illinois has some new-found confidence after three early wins in 2013, but this is the same program that has lost 14 straight in the Big Ten.

So which team are the Illini?

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The biggest question mark for Nebraska after four games continues to be the defense, which has allowed staggering amounts of yardage to opposing offenses in three of the for games this season.

With the youth and inexperience the Huskers have on that side of the ball, it is still very much a work in progress:

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One thing that might be a challenge Saturday in Lincoln is the weather.  It’s only expected be in the 50′s at kickoff and the field might be a little damp because of the possibility of overnight rain.  The wind might also be a factor:

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Kickoff is 11:00am Saturday from Memorial Stadium in Lincoln.  You can hear live on your home for Cornhusker football in the Sioux Empire, ESPN 99.1.

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