Husker QB Casey Thompson is ‘day to day’; Saturday’s starter uncertain
LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Nebraska’s offense sputtered in the second half of Saturday’s loss against Illinois.
Now the Huskers will look to bounce back against Minnesota — possibly without starting quarterback Casey Thompson.
Interim head coach Mickey Joseph answered questions Tuesday on the quarterback’s condition and the loss to the Fighting Illini.
“You know, the boys really hurt after this one,” he said.
Nebraska was hoping for the team’s first win against a ranked opponent since beating No. 22 Oregon in 2016.
And after a breakout 56-yard touchdown from Travis Vokolek, the Huskers looked ready to continue the momentum.
But late in the second quarter, Thompson was hit mid-throw, leading to an interception and an injury for the quarterback.
The momentum came to a halt, and Nebraska suffered its 20th straight loss against a ranked team.
Now the question is: Who will start on Saturday against the Golden Gophers?
Joseph said that Thompson is “day to day” and that he didn’t practice on Tuesday.
“I just wanted to hold him out today and let him see the doctors,” Joseph said.
After the injury, backup Logan Smothers led the team for one drive before being replaced by Chubba Purdy in the second half.
Purdy struggled against the conference’s top-ranked defense, which shut out the Huskers in the second half.
The former Florida State QB completed only three passes in eight attempts, along with a puzzling interception early on in the third quarter.
“He has to settle down; he has to breathe at that position,” Joseph said. “He can’t let his emotions take over. He’s got to be a true leader out there.”
Purdy hasn’t had much experience this season.
He was tossed under center during the Oklahoma blowout, and he did help lead Nebraska to one of its two touchdowns.
Joseph said the quarterback still has a lot to work on.
“He wants to make a play so bad that, you know, he makes a bad play,” he said.
Joseph added that the coaches, including himself, need to do a better job of preparing him.
“We got to make sure this week that we do a really good job with him, reminding what situation he’s in,” he said. “And if it’s not there, throw it away if it’s not there run.”
Nebraska’s other option at quarterback is sophomore Smothers, who spent his freshman year under former Husker QB Adrian Martinez.
Some of the Nebraska faithful wondered why Smothers didn’t get another opportunity Saturday after Purdy failed to lead the offense into the end zone.
Joseph said that both Smothers and Purdy took reps as starting quarterback during practice on Tuesday.
So as of now, the mystery of who will start at QB remains.
Whoever does face Minnesota will need to be prepared, as the Golden Gophers’ defense is one of the best in the conference, behind Illinois and Michigan.
In recent years, Nebraska hasn’t played well against Minnesota, losing the last three games to the Golden Gophers.
“To win games, you got to play a full 60 minutes,” Joseph said. “That’s what we got to get the guys to do.”
Nebraska will face Minnesota at home at 11 a.m. Saturday on ESPN 2.