Nebraska coach Scott Frost said on his weekly television show that the team thinks senior defensive back Deontai Williams avoided a serious knee injury against Minnesota.
Williams, the sixth-year senior, logged his fourth interception of the year in the second half against the Gophers on Saturday on a leaping grab, but went down and grabbed his left knee when he landed. He did not return to the game, but Frost had a relatively positive update on the "Husker Football Show" on Sunday night.
"Think Deontai is going to be all right," he said. "Not too bad an injury, so he'll be healing up for a while."
Nebraska, of course, has a bye this week and then returns to action against Purdue on Oct. 30 and Ohio State on Nov. 6 before a second off week.
Frost also said that junior quarterback Adrian Martinez isn't 100% healthy and that he thought that might have impacted his performance, in particular on a three-and-out drive to open the game.
"Adrian is playing a little beat up and I think he was a little jittery to start and missed a couple (plays) that he would normally make," Frost said.
In the second half, too, Frost said after the game that he considered going under center for a potential quarterback sneak on fourth-and-inches from just outside the end zone.
When describing why NU instead lined up in the shotgun and handed the ball to Jaquez Yant, who tripped and went down short of the goal line, Frost said Minnesota played the sneak well this season but also, "There’s kind of another reason I didn’t feel great about that play right then."
Perhaps that other reason was that he knew he was playing with a beat-up quarterback, though Frost did not expound on Saturday. Martinez, too, took a big shot right at the goal line on a third-down carry that was reviewed.
Martinez has started all eight games for Nebraska this season -- he missed time due to injury in 2018 (knee) and 2019 (shoulder) and was benched for the better part of two games last year -- but has been able to stay on the field so far in 2021. That changed for one series against Michigan State in late September when the 6-foot-2, 212-pounder took a hard shot to the chin during the Huskers' first series and had to be taken to to the locker room, where Frost said he had x-rays on his jaw and mouth area.
Martinez returned to the game, though, and missed just one drive. He's only been taken out in late-game, garbage-time scenarios otherwise so far this fall.
Williams missed all but a single quarter of Nebraska's season opener in 2019 due to a shoulder injury suffered that day against South Alabama. He returned healthy in 2020, played in every game (seven starts) and earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors.
He has been one of Nebraska's most reliable defensive players so far this season and came up with a big play Saturday even after getting beat in coverage a couple of times early in the outing.
After Williams, a Jacksonville, Florida native, went down, redshirt freshman Myles Farmer stepped in and played the rest of the way along side sixth-year safety Marquel Dismuke.
Even though Farmer is a promising young player and acquitted himself well again against Minnesota, it will be a substantial loss for NU if Williams misses much time.
The good news? With two off weeks ahead, NU plays just two games between now and Nov. 20.
On Saturday, redshirt freshman running back Rahmir Johnson also had to leave the game after taking a crushing blow on a goal-line run in the third quarter.
The 5-foot-10, 185-pounder did not return to the game, but Frost said afterward, "Rahmir will be fine."