Nebraska Cornhuskers vs Purdue Boilermakers: Five Players to Watch

1 of 6

If the Nebraska Cornhuskers make a run towards a postseason berth, they may have to do it without the services of Tommy Armstrong. Although Armstrong started 29 out of the last 31 games, he has been ruled out of Saturday’s game with the Purdue Boilermakers.

Unfortunately for Armstrong, his promising season under first-year head coach Mike Riley has taken a downturn in recent weeks. Some may say the Huskers have been cursed by bad fortune. Others may point to the way the Huskers haven’t been able to finish close games. In five losses, the Huskers’ defeats have come by a combined five points. Therefore, late game execution has been lacking throughout the entire season.

With Ryker Fyfe making his first career start, the Huskers’ offense is not ready to scrap their game plan. He’ll be facing one of the worst defenses in college football. The Purdue Boilermakers give up 428 yards per game defensively. It’s one of the reasons why coach Riley is confident in Riley’s ability to lead the offense on Saturday.

In some ways, Fyfe has tremendous shoes to fill. Armstrong leads the Big Ten in pass attempts. Currently, he’s second in the conference with 2052 passing yards, while leading the Big Ten with 2309 total yards. Armstrong was the leader until last week. Armstrong is also second in the Big Ten with 16 passing touchdowns, and his four rushing touchdowns give him a Big Ten leading 20 on the season. However, Armstrong’s seven interceptions rank second in the Big Ten as well.

If Fyfe is capable of really running the offense, we should find out early. In 2014, Fyfe gained 47 yards on seven carries. Hopefully, he’ll be able to recognize the defense and anticipate where to go with the ball. However, Fyfe can’t become a slave to the play. The most important thing for the offense is to make plays. Sometimes, running the ball for a first down is what the defense is susceptible to.

It would be wonderful if the Nebraska Cornhuskers rolled back the clock and tried to run the ball over 50 times, but there’s no evidence this coaching staff would ever sustain a punishing ground attack. Therefore, the game will come down to Fyfe making critical decisions.

Here are the Nebraska Cornhuskers Five Players to Watch vs Purdue.