Nebraska Football: Huskers in Good Hands When Taylor Martinez Graduates

Erin Sorensen@erinsorensenContributor ISeptember 22, 2013

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

Nebraska fans have less to worry about going forward. The Huskers are in good hands when veteran quarterback Taylor Martinez graduates.

After a turbulent week in Lincoln, Neb., fans were anxious for Saturday's matchup with South Dakota State. It had less to do with the opponent, however, and more to do with who the starting quarterback would be.

When the player introductions started prior to kickoff, fans cheered when redshirt freshman quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. flashed across the screen as the starter. Cheers quieted quickly when senior Ron Kellogg III then joined Armstrong on the big screen. With only minutes to spare, fans were still wondering who would get the start.

Not long after, fans got their answer as Armstrong jogged onto the field for the game's first snap. The cheers erupted once again.

Nebraska fans have been fond of Armstrong for awhile.

During the Huskers' spring game in April, Armstrong finished the game with 10 carries for a total of 29 yards. He also finished the spring game completing 5-of-7 passes for 102 yards. That included a 37-yard touchdown to redshirt freshman wide receiver Alonzo Moore.

Armstrong's spring performance wasn't without error. In fact, the Cibolo, Texas native fumbled on his very first snap during that game. It was how he recovered after that impressed fans the most.

By Saturday's game against SDSU, Armstrong had many fans hoping anxiously for a start for the potential future starting quarterback.

Needless to say, Armstrong left an impression.

ESPN's Mitch Sherman said he shows a bright future for the Huskers, the Omaha World Herald's Tom Shatel called Armstrong "smooth, confident, decisive" and Twitter couldn't stop talking about him.

It's not too surprising either. Armstrong put on quite the performance in Memorial Stadium, after all.

Armstrong ended up rushing five times for 38 yards, averaging 7.6 yards per carry. Many fans said his ability to move when needed was reminiscent of Martinez over the last few years.

On the passing front, Armstrong was even stronger. Throwing for 169 yards and one touchdown, Armstrong was efficient.

He also helped lead the Huskers to a new school record. For the first time in school history, the Huskers had more than 300 yards rushing and passing in the same game, as reported by the Lincoln Journal Star's Brian Christopherson.

Offensive coordinator Tim Beck was not surprised.

“It’s what we’ve been saying, since he’s been here,” offensive coordinator Tim Beck told ESPN's Sherman. “He’s just a gamer. That’s what he is. He thrives in situations like this and played extremely well.”

Head coach Bo Pelini still expects Martinez to continue to start in the future as long as he's healthy. However, as ESPN reports, if he needs to turn to Armstrong or even Kellogg, that's okay too.

What Saturday's performance from Armstrong proved was that the Huskers are in good hands in the future. Martinez may have the experience but Armstrong is learning. Come 2014, the quarterback will be ready to compete.

In the mean time, he'll be ready to go when the the opportunity arises. Fans will be waiting.


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