LINCOLN — It seems as if Noah Vedral was born to play football at Nebraska.
The sophomore took a bit of a detour but he’s in Lincoln now. Vedral played one year for Scott Frost at Central Florida before following Frost to Nebraska.
But Saturday the former Bishop Neumann standout did his job to help the Huskers to a 13-10 victory over Northwestern. He entered the game in the fourth quarter after starting quarterback Adrian Martinez left the game with an apparent left knee injury at the end of the third quarter.
After Lane McCallum’s 24-yard field goal on the last play of the game gave Nebraska (4-2, 2-1 in the Big Ten) the win, Vedral got to celebrate with his uncle Jon Vedral, who played at Nebraska from 1993 to 1996.
Jon Vedral was on the Nebraska sidelines Saturday.
“It was super fun,” Noah Vedral said. “I actually got to see my uncle, Jon, (he) was one of the first people I saw. He had a sideline pass today, so he came down and that was super fun to get to give him a hug and celebrate with him right after we made that kick.”
Noah Vedral has another uncle, Matt Turman, who played quarterback for the Huskers at the same time as Jon Vedral was playing.
Turman, now the head coach at Omaha Skutt, was also a backup quarterback for most of his career at Nebraska, although he did get one famous start for the 1994 national championship team. That came at Kansas State when Tommie Frazier and Brook Berringer were both injured.
The Huskers won that game 17-6.
“It will be fun to talk to him though because we kind of get to compare stories now a little bit,” Noah Vedral said.
Noah Vedral is now a sophomore after taking last year as a redshirt season following his transfer from Central Florida. Vedral was originally declared ineligible by the NCAA to play in 2018, but that was reversed partway through the year. He played in just one game last year to preserve his redshirt season.
Last year wasn’t easy for Vedral.
“Ups and downs,” he said. “I mean it’s hard when you go from ineligible to eligible, to hurt, to this, to that, but I think everything settled down this spring.
“It felt like normal football again. Practices were competitive. I felt comfortable. I didn’t feel rusty. And that’s the way this fall has been. You know with the ups and downs but as of late it has felt pretty steady.”
Vedral said he was ready to go when needed. He credited Frost and quarterbacks coach Mario Verduzco with having all the quarterbacks ready to go.
Luke McCaffery, a freshman expected to redshirt, even got a play when Vedral had his helmet knocked off and had to leave the game.
“Sometimes that’s what backups struggle with, just staying locked in,” Vedral said. “Even Luke is ready to go at a moment’s notice. They do a really good job at preparing us, and I did my best this week to be locked in and know the scouting report and all that stuff and as the game goes, (it’s) sometimes an advantage as a backup I get to watch that stuff without having to make the tough decisions that Adrian did.”
Vedral completed 2-of-5 passes for 41 yards and had seven carries for 33 yards. His big play was a 32-yard pass to Wan’Dale Robinson that set up the winning field goal.
“It’s one of our familiar concepts that our guys know like the back of their hands, so we felt comfortable calling it, and I know Coach Frost knows that, too,” Vedral said.
Robinson makes his mark
Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald probably isn’t thrilled to know he will have to face Robinson for the next few years.
Robinson was the key offensive player for the Huskers Saturday. He scored their only touchdown of the game on a 42-yard run in the first quarter.
He later went 49 yards on a shovel pass from quarterback Adrian Martinez to put the Huskers in scoring position, although that drive ended with a missed field goal.
The freshman from Frankfort, Kentucky, caught seven passes for 123 yards. He also had 44 yards on seven carries, so the Wildcats bottled him up except for the touchdown run.
“I think he’s a really talented guy,” Fitzgerlad said. “He’s got loose hips, he’s able to make you miss in space. He got JR [Pace] a couple of times which you knew he was going to make some plays. He’s an explosive athlete.”