As a University of Iowa quarterback returns to the depth chart from a shoulder injury in time for Friday’s Iowa-Nebraska Big 10 Conference football game, an injury will sideline the Cornhuskers’ starter.
Adrian Martinez, winless in three starts against the Hawkeyes, will not be available to play against Iowa because of a shoulder injury he suffered during last weekend’s game against Wisconsin.
Coach Scott Frost announced during his weekly news conference that Martinez will be unavailable for Nebraska’s final regular-season game.
“You guys know I don’t usually talk about injuries unless it’s season ending. We have one game left and Adrian will not be available,’’ Frost said. “He has a shoulder injury that he is going to have to get addressed after the season.’’
Frost said the injury occurred during the first half of the 35-28 loss to the No. 18 Badgers.
Martinez left the game in the second quarter, but returned to start the third quarter and finished the game although he threw two interceptions and his passes showed a noticeable drop in velocity.
“He’s such a tough kid,’’ Frost said. “I didn’t expect him to play in the second half but he came up right before the second half kickoff and said he wanted to go. He played well, he played tough. I feel terrible for him, but I appreciate him. We are going to have to go without him on Friday.''
Before suffering the injury, Martinez had already dealt with a broken jaw suffered during an overtime loss at Michigan State and a high ankle sprain this season.
The 6-foot-2 senior, who has not ruled out returning for an additional year of eligibility, ranks fourth in the Big Ten in pass efficiency and has accumulated 2,863 passing yards and a team-leading 525 rushing yards during Nebraska's 3-8 season.
Martinez dropped off the Nebraska depth chart as Spencer Petras returned to the Iowa two-deep roster on Monday.
Petras, who suffered a shoulder injury in the fourth quarter of the Hawkeyes’ 27-7 loss at Wisconsin on Oct. 30, is listed as the back-up to Alex Padilla on the Hawkeyes’ weekly two-deep roster.
Deuce Hogan had been listed as Iowa's back-up the past two weeks.
Padilla has started Iowa’s last two games after replacing Petras in the first quarter of a Nov. 6 17-12 victory at Northwestern when the 17-game game starter was noticeably struggling with the velocity of his passes from his shoulder injury.
Petras participated in full practices last week and warmed up prior to Iowa’s win over Illinois, but did not see action in the game despite a 6-of-17 passing performance by Padilla that totaled 83 yards.
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said following the game that both quarterbacks will continue to get reps in practice this week.
“I feel now like I felt two weeks ago. We have two guys we can win with now and have confidence in,’’ Ferentz said. “We’ll look at it and go from there.’’
Frost said freshmen Logan Smothers and Heinrich Haarberg are both taking snaps from center during practices this week.
Smothers, similar in style to Martinez, is expected to get the start in the 12:30 p.m. game against the 17th-ranked Hawkeyes.
He has completed 7-of-11 passes for 119 yards and rushed for 69 yards on 13 carries in limited action this season.
“Logan came in as a second-team and made some good throws against Buffalo, so we have a small sample size of what he can do in games and a big sample size from practice,’’ Frost said. “We feel good about having him start for us on Friday.’’