While Cook’s game has seen an uptick, likely due to the confidence he received from playing well at the end of the year, Armstrong’s game has gone through a total transformation and maturation.
“I’m a lot different,” said Armstrong. “It was new to me. It was my first year actually starting as a redshirt freshman. I saw new things. I saw certain guys. It was just different. I think things have slowed down. I’m getting more physical when it comes to running. I’m trying to make smarter decisions and stuff like that, just putting my offense in the right position.”
Last season’s contest against Michigan State would be one Armstrong would like to forget. The former Texas prep coughed up the football twice, threw an interception, and only managed to complete 9-of-21 passes.
”We just want to take care of the football. We take care of the football, offense rolls. Coach (Tim) Beck told us this past week when we played Illinois that every time we actually didn’t score was when we turned the ball over,” said Armstrong. “That shows a lot about our offense. When we take care of the football we can do anything.”
With a potential Heisman finalist sharing the backfield with him, Armstrong was asked by reporters on Monday if he expected Michigan State to load the box.
“Honestly I think they’re going to run what they’ve been running all season. It worked for them last year,” said Armstrong. “They won the Big Ten by just playing their basic defense. They don’t change for anybody. But at the same time we just have to realize that we have to succeed and make sure that we run our stuff and make sure that we get yards. At the end of the day it’s all about our offense and what we do and how we achieve it.”
Spartan Stadium might be one of the most underrated venues in college football, which means in a primetime atmosphere the Huskers offense should expect Michigan State fans to bring a nice noise level.
“When things are getting rowdy, when we can’t communicate well, they’re expecting me to be that level-headed quarterback and be the leader on the team to where I can get my guys together and say, hey let’s get it together," said Armstrong. "Let’s communicate. Let’s drive down the field. It’s that time and that’s what it takes being the leader. Staying level-headed when things aren’t right in the atmosphere. Going into Fresno it was the same way. Going into Michigan State it’s going to be the same way. It’s just how we respond to the crowd and how we respond to certain situations because going into the away games there are going to be times where things aren’t going the right way. It’s just how you respond.”
This season, Armstrong has thrown for 1,052 yards and ten touchdowns to three interceptions. On the ground, he’s been a threat, rushing for 420 yards and two scores.