The Huskers may face a familiar foe on Friday in Noah Vedral, the graduate transfer from Nebraska and now fourth-year junior quarterback for Rutgers. However, Vedral suffered a left ankle injury late in the third quarter of last Saturday’s win over Maryland and is questionable to face the Huskers in Week 9.
“We’re going to have to wait and see,” Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano said Monday. “He’s working his tail off with treatment and everything else.”
For Nebraska tight end Austin Allen, he’s just looking forward to seeing one of his best friends again. Allen and Vedral were on the same AAU basketball teams in high school, so the two know each other well. Allen said they still talk often about football and life.
“He’s been doing great things at Rutgers,” Allen said. “He’s been balling out and that’s good for him because he’s an athlete. I think he deserved, in a lot of ways, to be an athlete somewhere. We had three great quarterbacks here competing for the job. Noah went on to Rutgers and he’s doing great things for them, so it’s good to see.”
In seven games for Rutgers this season, Vedral is 136-for-221 (61.5%) for 1,253 yards, with nine touchdowns and eight interceptions. He has helped rank the Scarlet Knights No. 86 nationally in passing offense, accounting for 74.7% of the passing yardage. Rutgers previously ranked Nos. 122, 125, 124 and 121 in the four seasons prior to Vedral’s arrival.
“He looks like the player that we thought he was when we recruited him and he was when he was here,” Nebraska coach ScottFrost said about Vedral on Monday.
If Vedral is unable to play on Friday, Art Sitkowski is expected to get the start. He replaced Vedral for the remainder of regulation and overtime in Rutgers’ 27-24 win over Maryland. In doing so, he completed 70% of passes and threw for 108 yards and a touchdown.
However, Schiano knows what it would mean to Vedral to play on Friday.
“Obviously where he’s from, it’s where he went to school,” Schiano said. “I’m sure there would be emotion I’m sure. I’m sure like all of us, he’s got pride. He wants to play well against his state school where he lives and one that he played at. But Noah is uniquely mature for his age. He’s beyond his years, so I think that he understands playing the quarterback position is maybe the detailed of anything in sports. In no other sport do you have to be that detailed while 300-pound men are trying to rip your head off. So I think he’ll be able to keep that where it needs to be to play effectively.
“My bigger concern is can we get him healthy enough to play? That’s what we’re hard at work on right now.’’
If he is healthy enough to play against the Huskers on Friday? Outside linebacker Garrett Nelson said it’ll be “a little trippy” but similar to practices last year. Either way, Nebraska is looking forward to seeing him.
“It’s going to be fun to poke fun at him once in a while if he does play and we can hit him or get him on the ground or get a sack or something,” Nelson said. “It’s competition, so you’ll want to knock his helmet off during the game.
“But after the game, it’s all love. We love him to death. I’m glad he’s doing well.”