Know Your Foe: Nebraska

Five questions about Nebraska answered by's Josh Harvey.

1. What's the status of quarterback Taylor Martinez (turf toe), and if he can't play what can Illinois expect for a replacement?

Harvey: Martinez won't play on Saturday. He's missed the last two weeks of practices. Redshirt freshman Tommy Armstrong will get the start, but I won't be surprised if Illinois fans also see senior Ron Kellogg III. Armstrong is a guy who's got a lot of hype surrounding him. He's a former four-star quarterback and was the nation's No. 5 QB in the 2011 recruiting class. He doesn't have a lot of experience, but when he has played, he's been pretty solid. Against South Dakota State a few weeks ago, he went 12-of-16 for 169 yards and a touchdown. He's not quite as electric as Martinez on the ground, but he's more than capable of taking off and running. He's definitely a dual-threat. One thing I would expect to see more of that we haven't seen much with Martinez under center is the option. Armstrong runs it very well and offensive coordinator Tim Beck won't be afraid to go to it.

2. Tell us about the defense. It's given up points and yards while also forcing turnovers...

Harvey: This defense is so young, and while they have gotten some key turnovers during the non-conference portion of the schedule, I expect Illinois to move the ball pretty easily. I think the Huskers will probably bring pressure a little bit more than they have in the past few weeks, something Illinois might not be ready if they are just watching tape on Nebraska. A few years ago head coach Bo Pelini got very creative with the way they brought pressure against senior quarterback Kirk Cousins, giving him looks he never saw before. I would expect a similar approach on Saturday.

3. Give us two names, one on offense and one on defense, we need to know about heading into the matchup...

Harvey: On offense definitely running back Ameer Abdullah. With Martinez out, I would expect Abdullah's workload to increase. He's healthy after a bye week and is averaging 6.4 yards per carry. On defense it would be easy to say Stanley Jean-Baptiste, who's got four interceptions in four games. But I will go with defensive end Randy Gregory. He's given every offensive tackle he's played this season problems. He was arguably the best junior college defensive lineman in last year's class and has become a constant pressure up front for the Huskers.

4. Fill in the blanks: Nebraska will win if.... Nebraska will lose if...

Harvey: Nebraska will win if they pound the rock. At times offensive coordinator Tim Beck has been his own worst enemy, getting too creative. The Huskers have an all-conference caliber running back and a senior filled offensive line up front. I expect them to limit the freshman quarterback's throws downfield and let their running attack, which is traditionally pretty good, take over. The best way to beat Illinois is to not let their offense matchup with Nebraska's young defense.

Nebraska will lose if they have multiple turnovers. This defense isn't ready to overcome a multiple turnover game from the offense. I expect them to be able to get a stop or two, but really Nebraska's offense is just going to have to outscore Illinois. It's going to be high scoring.

5. Last one and it's important. Will Nebraska ever wear the black uniforms again?

Harvey: Never say never, but after back-to-back losses in black jerseys, I doubt it. They like to be pretty traditional anyway, their jerseys are probably some of the best in the country, so I wouldn't expect them to go to black again.

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