Countdown to … Nebraska

Some news and notes leading up to South Dakota State visiting Nebraska on Saturday. I’ll have live coverage starting at 1:30 p.m.:

According to the Lincoln Journal Star, Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez did not practice Thursday due to a turf-toe injury and is doubtful for Saturday. If the program leader in career offense does not play, redshirt freshman Tommy Armstrong - another dual threat - is likely to get the start with senior (and former walk-on) Ron Kellogg III also getting some time.
Armstrong has yet to throw a pass in college. I’ll have more on this fluid situation leading up to the game. SDSU has a walk-through at Memorial Stadium on Friday afternoon. 

This game will be unique for SDSU defensive coordinator Clint Brown, who helped Nebraska win the 1994 national title as a player. He said the situation kind of snuck up on him in 2010 – he didn’t give it much thought until arriving at the stadium. SDSU used the old home lockerroom, and Brown’s former locker is still there.

The Jacks are hoping that they’ll win over more potential recruits this weekend as they’ve done in past FBS games. Brown figures 3-4 kids SDSU is in conversations with will be at the game either as guests of Nebraska or just as fans. 
Meanwhile, the Jacks plan to send coaches to at least a couple high school games in the Lincoln-Omaha area on Friday night in order to scout talent.

SDSU ticket manager Christi Williams estimated that there will be in the range of 3,000 Jacks fans in Memorial Stadium on Saturday. That’s not hard to believe based on the numbers of friends and family members players from that area figure to boast - many are bringing 25 or more.
Plus, the school has 1,692 alumni in the area as of Jan 1. That makes Nebraska No. 4 among the 50 states in terms of most SDSU grads. Alumni Association director Matt Fuks said some 600 people are expected at the official tailgate gathering.

Although this is his third season as the starting QB, Austin Sumner is finally getting his first chance to play a full game against an FBS foe. He came in late in the fourth quarter of an ugly loss at Illinois in 2011 and didn’t play until the third quarter at Kansas last year due to injury. Sumner said that in hindsight he should have just started the Jayhawks game.
"I’m excited to walk out in front of 90,000 people," he said. "Definitely be something special to do. Looking forward to playing well, too."
Sumner has been there before, having made an unofficial visit to Nebraska in high school.  

According to the CBS rankings, offensive guard Spencer Long and fullback C.J. Zimmerer are the Huskers best NFL prospects in the 2014 class. Long ranks fifth at his position, while Zimmerer is eighth. But nobody else is in the top 20. 

Stiegelmeier on the Jacks ongoing special teams struggles: “I think the next phase is to be disciplined and do your job. The more skilled a team - and Southeastern Louisiana was a very skilled team – the more glaring those things become.”

Terry Vandrovec also posts regular updates on his Twitter page.