Turner Corcoran raised his hand Monday and said a mistake he made early against Fordham caused one of Fordham’s first-quarter pressures against quarterback Adrian Martinez.
As the game went along, though, the freshman left tackle and the rest of NU’s offensive line settled in and played well against the FCS opponent. The result: Martinez has six completions of 23 or more yards, all between the beginning of the second quarter and when he turned the wheel over to freshman Logan Smothers late in the third.
“As the game went on, he looked a lot more confident and we noticed that; going into the game, it didn’t seem that way,” Corcoran said. “I had a play where I had him flushed out of the pocket on the left side because I over-set on the 5-technique. (Offensive line coach Greg Austin) got on my ass a little bit about that. I’m my own worst critic. I’m in my head before I get to the sideline on everything, so once I got that fixed, we started playing better as a unit and Adrian was flinging that thing like he knows how to do. He looked great out there.”
Injury report: Oliver Martin, Travis Vokolek, Casey Rogers and Broc Bando didn't play against Fordham as Martin, Vokolek and Rogers work back from injuries and Bando deals with an illness.
But all four players are "getting close" to returning, Frost said Monday.
Martin and Bando played in the season opener at Illinois while Rogers and Vokolek have yet to appear this season. Rogers was seen Saturday wearing a sleeve on his left leg as he watched his Nebraska teammates go through warmups.
Aussie rules: Daniel Cerni's end-over-end punting style may look unorthodox to some fans of American football, but the native of Australia is just doing what works as he gets more comfortable with the game.
Growing up playing Aussie Rules football, Cerni said Monday, gave him a good base to build on when he came to America last year to punt at Nebraska. That means end-over-end punts, though kicking spirals may not be far away.
"I'm kicking the ball pretty much the same as I would be at home... I'm kicking more of the Australian Rules drop-style of punt and rolling out, which I'm more comfortable with for the moment," Cerni said. "That may change over the next couple weeks. We'll see."
After punting five times for an average of 34.4 yards in his college debut against Illinois, Cerni was called on just twice against Fordham and delivered a 40-yard average.
It's been a long journey to this season for Cerni, who had to work with the Australian government just to get out of the country and to Lincoln after Australia went into lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic. Once arriving in Nebraska, he said, he contracted COVID, then came back and got injured before the start of the season.
He's on the field now, and working to refine his form while transitioning from the game he grew up playing in Australia to the American version.
"Kicking the ball is biggest (skill that transfers), but mentality-wise, it’s, I’m not just the punter on the team. I’m an athlete," the 6-foot-4, 225-pound Cerni said. "I’m here to push everyone else around me, and I’m here to run as hard as I can, and tackle — I do love to tackle, and I think that’s one aspect that we do bring to this game. I’m not scared to tackle and run down the field and hit someone.
"Also I think just the ability to read the game and see what’s happening around you in very quick succession and take that in, and hold the ball up a little longer or just get it off quick."
Polar Bear on the hunt: Nash Hutmacher arrived at Nebraska with much fanfare, then mostly toiled in obscurity as a freshman in 2020, appearing only in the season finale against Rutgers.
But 2021 saw the 6-foot-4, 325-pound freshman they call the polar bear trot onto the field and play much of the second half against Fordham in front of a full Memorial Stadium.
"I never had a Tunnel Walk with fans (before this year). So it was really awesome to finally be on the field with fans, and then for that to be my first game getting in, playing a defensive snap, that was awesome," Hutmacher said Monday. "It was a really cool feeling. All that work put in, to finally get out there, it was awesome."
Hutmacher traveled to Illinois but didn't play, and NU defensive line coach Tony Tuioti said early last week that the South Dakota native would get his chance against Fordham.
He didn't record a tackle against the Rams, but Saturday certainly left an impression.
"Honestly I just remember being out there, and it was just a really cool moment," Hutmacher said of his first snap. "Just standing out there looking around, seeing the fans going crazy, it was just a really cool feeling."
Family ties: Scott Frost wasn't able to watch McKenzie Milton lead Florida State to a fourth-quarter rally against Notre Dame Sunday night. He was in his office game planning until well after the Irish had escaped with a 41-38 overtime win.
That didn't make the coach any less happy for his old quarterback at Central Florida.
"I looked at my phone and saw a bunch of messages about it. Kenzie's like family. He's family to me," Frost said. "He went through something hard and I'm glad to see him having some success again. He deserves it."
It had been almost three years — November of 2018 — since Milton suffered a catastrophic knee injury that nearly led to the amputation of his right leg. But there he was on Sunday, going 5-for-7 for 48 yards and helping the Seminoles score the final 10 points of regulation to pull into a tie with Notre Dame.
In 2017, of course, Milton and Frost became stars as the quarterback and coach led UCF to an undefeated season and a victory over Auburn in the Peach Bowl. That was the last game Frost coached for UCF before heading to Lincoln for good.