The Lincoln Journal Star reported Wednesday that Nebraska senior quarterback Taylor Martinez had returned to the practice field and was likely going to play in Saturday’s game against the Gophers.
Martinez hasn’t played in over a month, and his return would only make things more difficult for a Gophers defense trying to stop the Cornhuskers’ dynamic offense, which is ranked 21st in the nation with 490.2 yards per game.
Nebraska coach Bo Pelini wouldn’t say for sure Martinez would start, telling the paper there were some things he would need to see first from Martinez to make sure he’s ready to play.
“It’s going to be getting back footwork-wise,” Pelini said. “How he feels comfortable doing all the different movements — play-actions, footwork and the things that he has to do throwing the football — and, obviously, feeling comfortable putting his foot in the ground.”
Last year, Martinez completed 21 of 29 passes for 308 yards and two touchdowns in a 38-14 victory over the Gophers. In 2011, he went 13-for-22 for 162 yards and a TD.
• Though both are playing at home, the Gophers are 10-point underdogs against Nebraska and the Vikings are nine-point underdogs against a beat-up Packers team.
• Chad Greenway, who will go down as one of the greatest linebackers in Vikings history, needs only nine tackles Sunday night against the Packers to reach the 1,000 mark in his career. Greenway, a former Iowa standout, has piled up these tackles since joining the club in 2006. Linebacker Scott Studwell leads the Vikings in career tackles with 1,928, followed by linebacker Matt Blair with 1,404 from 1974-1985 and linebacker Jeff Siemon with 1,375 from 1972-1982.
• Marcus Sherels, the former Gophers cornerback who signed as an undrafted free agent in 2010, would have been the Vikings’ MVP of the Giants game Monday had he not fumbled a kick near the goal line that eventually resulted in a New York touchdown. But he did set some Vikings records — his four punt returns totaled 119 yards, including an 86-yard return for a touchdown. That was a 29.8 yard average. In addition, he saw service on the punt team, the kickoff team and played some defensive back.
• The Vikings could have sold 100,000 tickets for the Packers game, which is a complete sellout. The scalpers should have a banner day. The games with a few tickets still available are Washington, Detroit and Philadelphia.
• Gophers baseball coach John Anderson has won induction to the Minnesota High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. It’s quite a honor when the high school baseball coaches add a college coach to their hall of fame.
• Murrae Freng, who served as executive director of the Minnesota State High School League for 15 years, was recently honored with a Concordia College Alumni Achievement Award. Nobody did a better job as executive director of the MSHSL than Freng.
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