Smith will present challenges

Nebraska's young defense will have to figure out a way to shut down a three-year starting quarterback on Saturday.

LINCOLN, Neb. - Taylor Martinez won't be the only star quarterback in Saturday's contest between No. 18 Nebraska and Wyoming. The Cowboys have a pretty good one of their own in junior Brett Smith, who is likely to contend for Mountain West All-Conference honors in 2013.

An Oregon native, Smith threw for over 2,800 yards last season, tossing 28 touchdowns to only six interceptions.

A dual-threat quarterback, Smith only ran for 214 yards last season, but has shown the ability to get out of the pocket before. As a true freshman, he ran 139 times, for 710 yards and ten scores.

"We played him as a freshman a couple years ago and I walked away thoroughly impressed," said Nebraska defensive coordinator John Papuchis. "I thought he was tough, gritty, a competitor, threw the ball well, was tough to tackle, an athletic kid. He's certainly going to present some challenges."

Nebraska was able to contain the quarterback in September of 2011, allowing only three carries for two yards. In the passing game, Smith threw 33 times, connecting with 17 targets for 166 yards and two touchdowns.

"I came out of game thinking he's far along for a true freshman," said Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini. "He's very poised and has excellent feet. I don't know what he runs or anything, but he's very elusive in the pocket and buys time. I think he's a very good player.

"He's obviously a lot further along than he was then, but I think he's a very good quarterback."'s Smith thoughts: "The offense might not have gotten enough out of the running game, and the line was a bit rocky, but quarterback Brett Smith took his game to another level and the receiving corps was phenomenal. Top target Chris McNeill is gone, but everyone else of not is back for a passing attack that finished second in the Mountain West and should be even more efficient." - Pete Fiutak

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Josh Harvey has covered college football and recruiting for Fox Sports & since 2008. He is now the Publisher of Big Red Report, covering Nebraska athletics.
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