Iowa vs. Nebraska, 11.29

Nebraska quarterback Luke McCaffrey (7) is pursued by Iowa's Geno Stone (9) on a fourth-quarter run Friday at Memorial Stadium. 

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Some teams run a two-quarterback system, with varying degrees of success.

Nebraska broke out a three-quarterback system Friday, and it provided equal parts excitement and confusion for those watching and those on the field.

"It wasn’t an insertion, new quarterback thing. We had a package for Noah (Vedral), and we had a little package for Luke (McCaffrey)," Nebraska coach Scott Frost said after the game. "With the runner that Luke is, we figured a team might come running up to stop his run and give us a big play, and it happened. We kind of had the same thing set up for Noah. That one didn’t work. The one with Luke did. There at the end, we are just trying to get the best play-call."

McCaffrey provided the highlight in the quarterback rotation, entering on Nebraska's second drive of the third quarter.

The true freshman, who ran for 83 yards against Maryland last week, took the snap and ran to his left before lofting a pass to a wide-open JD Spielman, who had broken free in the Iowa secondary.

"Well-designed play. It opened up how we thought," McCaffrey said after the game. "We had a good job up front by our linemen, JD did a good job getting open, selling it, so it opened up."

Adrian Martinez was then back behind center until NU's final drive of the game, when McCaffrey re-entered for what appeared to be a confusing several seconds for the Huskers before eventually scrambling for 4 yards.

McCaffrey's appearance on the final drive was "a little bit" spur-of-the-moment, the freshman said.

"We had some packages, so everybody's ready the whole game," McCaffrey said. "You never know when your number's going to get called."

Martinez started the game, as he has his entire career save the times he was injured. But on Nebraska's second series, backup Noah Vedral entered.

The Wahoo native immediately hit Dedrick Mills for an 11-yard gain. Then Martinez came back for a play. Then Vedral was on the field for two more, throwing a pair of incompletions.

That was Vedral's final appearance of the game. NU's three signal-callers combined to go 12-for-23 for 100 yards, with McCaffrey throwing the only touchdown pass.

Martinez said the whole quarterback room knew what could potentially happen as NU prepared for the game throughout the week.

"We had a package and things like that coming into the game and I trust Coach Frost and I trust Luke," Martinez said. "Luke is a good football player, and that was just part of our game plan going into it. It didn’t take me by surprise. I just do what the coaches ask me to do, and at that time, it was come out of the game."

Frost never considered leaving McCaffrey on the field after his touchdown pass, he said.

"We have three really good quarterbacks. I love all three of those kids," the coach said.

McCaffrey said the respect Nebraska's quarterbacks have for each other, despite competing for the same spot every day, helped the three-headed quarterback game plan come together.

"It's awesome. That's hard to find in this game," McCaffrey said. "To have Noah, Adrian, Andrew Bunch, Matt Masker, Brayden Miller, all those guys in our room encouraging each other and uplifting each other, it's something special."

 

This article originally ran on journalstar.com.

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