It was unlikely Nebraska or any other Big Ten team was going to get through their entire 2020 season, even with a shortened schedule, without having plans disrupted. A rigid schedule with no bye weeks gave 14 teams no margin for error. With the Wisconsin Badgers unable to play this Saturday, the Huskers find themselves without an opponent.
And now, Scott Frost is staring in the face at the exact situation he was working tirelessly to prevent until Nov. 7 when Nebraska faces Northwestern. The lack of live game snaps serves as a setback for the development of his program across the board. Five (actually, six) members of the roster in particular are affected most by inaction this weekend.
1. Adrian Martinez, QB
Martinez didn't return to his true freshman form against Ohio State this year, but he looked better than the 2019 edition. Despite pummeling Illinois 45-7, Wisconsin allowed more than five yards per carry on 25 attempts. One could make an argument that any Nebraska running back or even Luke McCaffrey could fit in this spot.
However, with Martinez as the starter, he'd be the one trying to break runs the Fighting Illini's Brandon Peters couldn't, further strengthening his confidence. The Badgers also clamped down on the Illinois passing game holding Peters to a 36 percent completion rate on 22 attempts.
One of the biggest questions coming out of Nebraska's game versus Ohio State is whether or not Frost would opt for the same receivers or if they were specific to that game plan. The mystery now remains until Nov. 7 unless the Huskers' head man lets the cat out of the bag early.
2. Bryce Benhart, OT
All things considered, Benhart looked the part of a starting Big Ten right tackle against the Buckeyes. Losing out on the chance to continue his on-the-field development against the West division favorite is a significant whiff.
Benhart had a major advantage in facing Wisconsin's defense so early in the season. Keep in mind they're still gelling following the losses of linebackers Zack Baun and Chris Orr. Defensive linemen Garrett Rand and Isaiahh Loudermilk would've given Benhart stiff tests up front just the same
3. Will Honas, ILB
The first two years of Honas's Nebraska career weren't especially noteworthy. But his play against the Buckeyes reminded those who watched his junior college highlight reels of why both the Huskers and Badgers coveted him. Currently the Big Red's tackles and sacks leader, Honas emerged as a true enforcer opposite captain Collin Miller.
Not being able to see if he's capable of busting through a prototypical Wisconsin offensive line or stuff a by-committee rushing attack is a tremendous opportunity lost.
4. Cam Taylor-Britt/Deontai Williams, CB/S
Technically a double-whammy, but they'd be standing on the sideline for the same reason. Both would sit in the penalty box for a half due to targeting calls against Ohio State. The original plan was returning with an attempt at cutting The Graham Mertz Show's second episode short in mind.
Instead, they'll have to let Peyton Ramsey and the Wildcats get their shots in for the first two quarters before returning to action in two weeks.
5. Connor Culp, K
Culp's field goal late in the third quarter versus the Buckeyes wasn't much more than a glorified extra point. Whether you agree with Frost opting to put three points on the board versus attempting to get six is fine. However, this was Culp's first kick in an actual game since 2017.
Considering the extensive problems Nebraska's kickers faced last year, going into the second game of 2020 with one who hasn't attempted a field goal in two years isn't an ideal prospect.