Tape It Up: Nebraska: Apparently, It Gets Worse

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Nebraska: Apparently, It Gets Worse

Nebraska started the 2007 season touting its depth at quarterback, excited about the four-man race for the starting spot that had former Arizona State standout Sam Keller as a participant. A lot has changed since then, to say the least, and yet another nail was hammered into the coffin of this Huskers season when the team released on Monday that Keller will miss the rest of the season with a shoulder injury.

The details on the injury were not specified, but at this point, they do not really matter. The news has to be frustrating for Keller, a senior who two years ago had what began as one of the best seasons in NCAA history (16 touchdowns in his first four games) cut short by injury at Arizona State, only to lose his job, transfer to Nebraska, spend a year on the scout team, fight for the starting spot in his senior season, and then lead the Huskers into the worst season Lincoln has seen in 40 years.

Not exactly what he was hoping for when he left Arizona State, which is now ranked No. 4 in the BCS.

Keller was picked as the preseason Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, but will not get the chance to finish out his newcomer campaign, in which he completed 63 percent of his passes this season for 2,422 yards with 14 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He sustained the season-ending injury with just over two minutes left to play in Saturday's loss to Texas, when he took a hit from Longhorn defensive end Eddie Jones.

With Keller sidelined, junior Joe Ganz will get the start under center when Nebraska takes on No. 8 Kansas on Saturday, where they are 17-point underdogs. Ganz has played in three games this season, most recently completing 2 of 3 passes against Texas, including a 4-yard touchdown strike to Maurice Purify. Ganz has some running ability that should help the Huskers' offense, but it's never good news when the guy you didn't want starting suddenly becomes the starter by default.

"We've given our backup quite a few [practice] reps during the season and he's well-prepared," head coach Bill Callahan said. "Our team and staff have the utmost confidence in him. We lose a good player, but we have a good player stepping in."

Callahan will decide on a backup later in the week, but the choice is between freshman Patrick Witt and junior Beau Davis.

As if that wasn't enough, linebacker Lance Brandenburgh also sustained a season-ending shoulder injury on Saturday. The senior ranks fourth on the team in tackles, with 51, and will certainly be missed from an uncharacteristically porous Blackshirt squad that needs every tackle it can get. He was also hurt in the fourth quarter while trying to make a tackle.

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