Nebraska football: Athlon gives Adrian Martinez starting nod, not much love

LINCOLN, NE - OCTOBER 5: Wide receiver Jamal Turner
LINCOLN, NE - OCTOBER 5: Wide receiver Jamal Turner /
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(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /

Remember when Penn State was basically the whipping boy of the rest of the Big Ten? The Nebraska football team likely looks back at those days with longing.

These days, the Nittany Lions’ quarterback, Trace McSorley is considered one of the best quarterbacks in the country. In fact, Athlon has him ranked as the third best QB on their list.

McSorley is ranked behind only West Virginia’s Will Grier and Tua Tagovailoa. You can certainly make a case that the publication is giving Tagovailoa a bit too much credit for his championship game performance too.

McSorley has been steady, deadly and largely overlooked in his last two years as a starting quarterback. Last season he threw for 3,570 yards and 28 touchdowns while completing 66.5 percent of his passes. If that wasn’t enough, he also ran for over 400 yards.

Last season McSorley threw for 325 yards and three touchdowns while running for 46 yards and another score against the Huskers. Thankfully he’s not on the nearly impossible schedule for this season.

Michigan State quarterback Brian Lewerke did for the Spartans last year what Husker fans hope Adrian Martinez (or Tristan Gebbia) can do for Nebraska this year.

Lewerke managed to lead a turnaround that has Michigan State as a contender for the Big Ten title again. He did it by throwing for nearly 3,000 yards, 20 touchdowns and just seven interceptions.

Like McSorley, he was a dual-threat. In addition to hurting teams through the air, he also ran for 559 yards and five TDs. The Cornhuskers will get to see him up close and personal on November 17.

Shea Patterson is the first one on this list to officially make me scratch my head a bit. Yes, he had a decent season at OIe Miss, (2,259 yards and 17 TDs) but it was far from eye-popping.

It appears the fact that he had an injury-shortened season and still put up decent if not spectacular numbers is why Athlon has him ranked so high. The thing is, even the publication notes that Patterson threw nine picks in just seven games.

Those numbers are Tanner Lee-esque. I don’t think many Nebraska football fans, let alone Athlon would think Lee deserved a ranking inside the Top 15 quarterbacks in the country if he was returning to the job this season.

This feels like a “Jim Harbaugh will make him a great quarterback” pick. Which is an odd one considering that Harbaugh has yet to have a great quarterback at Michigan.

Even Wisconsin Badgers fans might be a bit surprised to see Hornibrook ranked as the 25th best quarterback in the entire college football world. On their face, his stats are pretty darn good.

The problem with Hornibrook is that along with his 25 touchdown passes, he also had 15 interceptions. Those picks tended to be at the most inopportune times.

The argument can certainly be made that if he can cut out the interceptions, he’s going to have a very good season. The Cornhuskers will have a chance to prove that wrong in Madison on October 6.

Nate Stanley had a sneaky good season last year and the argument could be made that he’s going to only do better this year. At the same time, Iowa’s offense is never quite as good as you think it might be.

The Nebraska football team will be able to see whether or not Stanley is the real deal when they take on Iowa in the final game of the regular season.

Haskins appears to have won the starting job at Ohio State after battling Joe Burrow for the position this spring. There isn’t a ton to go on as far as whether he can do the job full time, but he certainly did quite well in limited action last year.

In eight games, Haskins completed 70 percent of his passes, threw four interceptions and had just one pick. He also ran for 86 yards. All of that was as a true freshman.

Coming into his sophomore year, the Nebraska football team will get to see up close and personal whether he is really good when they square off against the Buckeyes on November 3rd.