When the Bulldogs went up against the Nebraska Cornhuskers last year in the Capital One Bowl, they took it to quarterback Taylor Martinez, as they sacked him five times and forced him to throw two interceptions en route to a 45-31 win.
Martinez will not be playing in the rematch on January 1 because of a foot injury, so senior Ron Kellogg III or freshman Tommy Armstrong Jr. will get the nod to play in the Gator Bowl. Both players have played well at times, and both players have also struggled. So it will be interesting to see who head coach Bo Pelini goes with when it’s time to announce the starter.
But the real question is who the Bulldogs want to see play in the Gator Bowl. It would be easy to say they want to see Kellogg start because he is coming off a loss to Iowa in the season finale. And he did not fare well, as he completed 51 percent of his passes and threw one touchdown and two interceptions. But the right call for the Bulldogs would be Armstrong.
|2013 Nebraska QB Stats|
|Ron Kellogg III||60.6||919||6||3|
|Tommy Armstrong Jr.||53||803||7||7|
And the reason for that is experience. Armstrong has seen a lot of action this year, but he’s still a freshman. He showed glimpses of what he’s capable of when he led a comeback against Michigan. But he has also had his fair share of mistakes, as he threw one interception and completed only 42 percent of his passes against Michigan State.
Armstrong is a young player who has a lot of upsides. But he is still learning the system, and the Bulldogs defense can benefit from someone who is not very accurate with the football.
Kellogg is more accurate and, as a senior, is very familiar with the offense. With this game being the final one of his career, Kellogg wants to go out with a bang, which is why the Bulldogs can’t have him playing. The secondary has struggled all season long and since Kellogg was given a month to prepare, he could have a career day against the Bulldogs.
But no matter who is under center, if the Bulldogs can’t stop Ameer Abdullah, it will be a long day on defense.
Abdullah has rushed for 1,568 yards and eight touchdowns, and he has rushed for over 100 yards in 10 of the Cornhuskers 12 games. One game he did not run for 100 yards was against UCLA, when he ran for 98 yards.
The Bulldogs run defense was solid this season, as they ranked fifth in the SEC with 148 yards per game. But they did give up 232 yards against Georgia Tech in the regular season finale and 323 yards against SEC Champions Auburn two weeks prior. The Bulldogs have to find a way to contain Abdullah before they worry about the quarterback situation.
With this being the final game of the 2013 season, as well as a really early look into the 2014 season, the Bulldogs defense wants to put on a show to give fans hope that they will be better. It would be a better fit to see Armstrong under center than Kellogg, but the reality of the situation is the Bulldogs should not care. If they want to make a statement, they need to get after everyone on offense and prepare for anyone and anything.