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Nebraska vs. Wisconsin, college football, 10.6.18

Wisconsin's Bryson Williams (right), a Lincoln Southeast graduate, is blocked by Nebraska's Tanner Farmer in the second half at Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday in Madison, Wis.

Nebraska senior Tanner Farmer started at center last week at Wisconsin and will get the call again Saturday at Northwestern.

Greg Austin, the Huskers' offensive line coach, said following Wednesday's practice the Huskers "are rolling with Tanner" as fellow senior Cole Conrad recovers from injuries.

Austin also said true freshman Cameron Jurgens, who's now working at the interior offensive line positions as well as tight end, shows great promise. In fact, head coach Scott Frost told coaches that Jurgens has attributes like former Husker All-American center Dave Rimington.

"That's a big name to throw out," Austin said. "When he threw it out, 'I was like, 'C'mon coach, that's Dave Rimington.'"

Austin said the staff likes Jurgens' toughness, intelligence and grittiness.

Meanwhile, Nebraska freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez essentially missed 10 opportunities that could've been completions against Wisconsin, according to Husker quarterbacks coach Mario Verduzco. That includes receivers running open that Martinez didn't spot. As it was, Martinez was 24-for-42 for 384 yards and two touchdowns, with no interceptions.

Also, Husker offensive coordinator Troy Walters said the coaches are mindful of the offense's slow starts to games as well as their struggles on third down -- NU ranks 122nd nationally in third-down offense, converting at a 32 percent rate.

"We have to start faster," he said, adding it comes down to having an aggressive mindset.

As for third downs, Nebraska too often has been in third-and-long. It also has struggled on third-and-short.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7440 or ssipple@journalstar.com.

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Husker columnist

Steven, a lifelong Nebraskan, newspaper enthusiast and UNL grad, joined the Journal Star in 1990 and has covered NU football since 1995.

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