Scott Frost says Adrian Martinez, JD Spielman's injuries aren't 'too serious'

Nebraska's Adrian Martinez left at the end of the third quarter with an undisclosed leg injury.

LINCOLN — The celebratory towels and mouthpieces were still at the 18-yard line as Nebraska’s most prominent player, his jersey still on, hobbled off the field with the help of a staff member.

Several Huskers came up to thank or congratulate quarterback Adrian Martinez — who left at the end of the third quarter with an undisclosed leg injury — after Nebraska’s 13-10 win over Northwestern. Finally, defensive coordinator Erik Chinander jogged in, took Martinez’s free arm, and helped him into the tunnel.

NU may have felt joy after the big win. The next week, as the team prepares for a trip to Minnesota, will be filled with question marks as Martinez and receiver JD Spielman, who also left the game, try to recover quickly from lower leg injuries that kept them out of the final drives of the game. Martinez got hurt on a scramble in which a Northwestern defender pulled hard on his leg.

“Neither one are too serious, but I don’t know the details yet,” coach Scott Frost said after the game. Frost is generally circumspect with any details about injuries unless they will keep a player out for the season. Martinez missed one game last season and Spielman missed two with their respective injuries.

Frost said Wahoo Neumann graduate Noah Vedral, Martinez’s backup, “can run our whole offense.” Vedral played at Central Florida — Frost’s former program — before transferring to Nebraska in 2018. Vedral’s immediate eligibility was initially blocked by UCF before he got a waiver to serve as Martinez’s backup in the last half of last season.

“He’s probably the most familiar of anybody on our team with what we’re doing because he’s been around it the longest,” Frost said. “He handled it great, and I think he was plugged in to what we wanted to do.”

Vedral led the Huskers on a winning field goal drive. A 32-yard pass to Wan’Dale Robinson, which set up Lane McCallum’s kick, was not on the call sheet, Frost said, but Vedral was comfortable with the switch route that was called. Likewise, Frost said, Vedral’s 5-yard run to center the ball for McCallum’s kick was a play Nebraska hadn’t practiced.

“He knew that, and understood it, and got some yards and got down and got the timeout,” Frost said.

Vedral said he watches the game on the sideline through Martinez’s eyes, seeing some of the decisions Martinez makes and learning about Northwestern’s defense in that manner.

“They do a really good job preparing us and I did my best this week to be locked in and know the scouting report, all that stuff,” Vedral said. “As the game goes, sometimes it’s an advantage being a backup. I get to watch that stuff without having to make the tough decisions that Adrian did. He played a hell of a game.”

Spielman’s absence — which Nebraska felt in a win over Michigan State last season and a loss at Iowa — means that plays called just for Spielman go out of the plan, Frost said. Otherwise, the majority of Nebraska’s offense remains the same.

Northwestern’s “tough defense,” Frost said, made it hard for Nebraska to get big plays because they play a zone that won’t “let you get behind them.”

“We’re going to design certain things for certain guys,” Frost said. “The rest of it — the ball’s going to find guys when they’re open.”

When Spielman left, he was generally replaced by Mike Williams, who has consistently been NU’s No. 4 receiver this season.