Eric Francis/Getty Images
At the start of the 2012 season, Nebraska had one preseason All-American on its roster. It wasn’t Taylor Martinez, or Rex Burkhead, or Baker Steinkuhler.
Nope. It was Brett Maher, Nebraska’s returning placekicker.
When the selection was made, it made sense. Maher finished the 2011 season hitting 19-of-23 field goals, being perfect from inside 50 yards, and hitting three field goals longer than 50 yards. Coupled with his prowess as a punter, it seemed Nebraska should have confidence in the strength of its kicking game.
Maher’s 2012 campaign, though, has been far from all-American caliber. He is only 7-of-12 in field goals, including misses of 44, 41 and 37 yards. He is only averaging 41.33 yards per punt, down from his 2011 average of 44.51. And he has put a kickoff out of bounds already, something he did not do throughout the 2011 season.
At the end of the Wisconsin game, it appeared that Maher had regained some of his form, hitting punts that helped keep Wisconsin pinned back and helping Nebraska to win a field position battle. For Nebraska to be successful in Columbus, it will need Maher to continue finding that All-American form.