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Pelini: Taylor Martinez out, Tommy Armstrong to start against Illinois

By Chip Patterson | Staff Writer

Tommy Armstrong will start for Nebraska with Taylor Martinez sidelined by turf toe. (USATSI)
Tommy Armstrong will start for Nebraska with Taylor Martinez sidelined by turf toe. (USATSI)

Nebraska will start redshirt freshman Tommy Armstrong Jr. in place of injured quarterback Taylor Martinez against Illinois, coach Bo Pelini said Thursday.

The Cornhuskers will be without Martinez for the second-straight game as the senior quarterback continues to recover from an injury to his left big toe. Martinez hasn't played or practiced since the Sept. 14 game against UCLA.

Armstrong split time with senior Ron Kellogg III in Nebraska's 59-20 win against South Dakota State on Sept. 21. With an extra week off, Pelini hoped that Martinez would be healthy enough to play in the Big Ten opener against the Fighting Illini.

Armstrong had a good showing against South Dakota State -- 12-for-15 passing for 169 yards and touchdown, five rushes for 38 yards -- but Pelini's decision to name him the starter might have as much to do with developing the future of the offense. Armstrong's skill set allows him to keep the Nebraska offense versatile in Martinez's absence.

The Illinois defense, on the other hand, is giving up 6.18 yards per play through four games this season, so the change in quarterback does not create a significant advantage for the Illini.

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