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Nebraska Football’s Five Most Overrated Quarterbacks Of The Past 20 Years

Discussion! Anger! Let’s all encompass it right now!

Wyoming v Nebraska Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images

Note: We’re starting a summer series here at CN. We’re going to look at each position and name our most overrated and underrated players at each position.

We did want to put a litmus on this, however. We could go all the way back to the Bill Jennings days. So, to be fair, we put a time limit of post-Tom Osborne on this. It’s players in the last 20 seasons that are fair game in this.

Every post will have multiple choices for you to vote on at the end. If you don’t agree with our choices & want to put your own in, go ahead.

Nominations of Overrated Quarterbacks Of The Past 20 Years:

Joe Ganz

Nebraska v Colorado Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Now, this is coming with a caveat in that overall, Ganz wasn’t a terrible quarterback in his whole time at Nebraska. His senior year was a good one, going for over 3500 yards and 44 TD’s. However, the issue is that Ganz’s junior year where he replaced Sam Keller on that fateful day in Austin after Sam Keller had his collarbone destroyed by the Longhorns.

Ganz stepped in and was the quarterback of the ill-fated Kansas game that saw the Jayhawks put up 49 points before halftime in a 76-39 asskicking, followed two weeks later by squandering a 35-24 halftime lead vs. Colorado in Bill Callahan’s final game as Nebraska HC.

What I’m saying is that Ganz’s numbers that season was simply due to the lack of ability of Kevin Cosgrove to stop a single defense those last 3 12 games of the season. Plus, in his senior season, Ganz’s overtime interception against Texas Tech made everyone forget about that masterful game-tying drive. And.. oh god, the first play vs. Oklahoma where the audible was a bad call. I witnessed that one personally.

Again, Ganz wasn’t a bad QB at Nebraska, but let’s not pretend he was something special here.

Taylor Martinez

Nebraska v Minnesota Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Low-hanging fruit? You betcha!

Probably the most polarizing figure in Nebraska football in the last decade whose name was not “Bo Pelini,” Martinez was plagued by injury and inconsistency. The flashes of brilliance were often overshadowed by sustained bouts of dumbassery.

While Brian (or others) would give you specific games where play was substandard, I honestly look at Martinez more as a systematic failure, as in the system failed him. That’s right. Bo failed to “execute the process.” Sending Taylor to QB coach Steve Calhoun in the summers instead of having a good coach on staff, etc.

In his four years as Nebraska QB, his completion percentage was 56% to 62%. There really wasn’t anything “dual-threat” about what many considered a top dual-threat QB in college football at that time. He was a running QB who threw occasionally and looked horrendously when he did.

But while Taylor’s production on the field was inconsistent at best, some of his non-playing issues had fans scratching their heads. We all remember the famously reported incident that T-Magic was allegedly on the phone with his dad while on the training table at Texas A&M. Or when he was rushed back for the ever-important game against Minnesota and then never taking a snap ever again. One wonders if this came down to Taylor having too many people in his ear? In other words...too many cooks in the kitchen? Would he have been better suited at another position? At another school entirely? But love him or hate him, he gave us some memorable moments.

And he loved playing against road games.

Sam Keller

Nebraska v Missouri Photo by G. Newman Lowrance/Getty Images

For nearly an entire year, Husker fans were fed a steady diet of Keller-hype. The Arizona State transfer was going to be a first round NFL draft pick. Nebraska was not just going to win the Big XII behind Keller, but there even was talk about the national championship. Expectations were high.

Then the season began. What had been sold as a future NFL star turned out to be the master of the check-down. He rarely threw the ball downfield, content instead to settle for the short pass. Even then, he wasn’t terribly accurate; he completed 63% of his passes with 14 touchdowns and ten interceptions. His passer efficiency rating of 133.7 trails the numbers Taylor Martinez and Joe Ganz put up.

And Nebraska lost with him at quarterback. It started with a blowout loss to Southern Cal, where he padded his stats in the second half after the Trojans pulled their starters. Keller’s best game arguably was a comeback victory against Ball State. Then came the wipeouts against Missouri, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M before a broken collarbone finally ended his football career against Texas.

Today, Keller is best known for his part of the lawsuit against the NCAA and EA Sports that essentially killed the college football video game.

Monte Christo

Monte Christo

It’s hard to put a guy who won 3 NC rings in the piece, but at the same time Christo’s Senior season was a little rough. The quarterback job was a wide open thing after the departure of Scott Frost. Bobby Newcombe was wanting that job after Tom Osborne left, and he and Eric Crouch had a pretty healthy battle for the starting job.

Christo did some mop-up work in Nebraska’s first couple games, and did well to finish off a victory in Berkeley vs. Cal after Crouch went down injured. Christo even rallied Nebraska to a come from behind win vs. Missouri on October 24th.

That earned him the start vs. Texas on Halloween. With a 47 home game winning streak on the line, Christo started slowly and gave way to Crouch after Nebraska was down 10-0 in the 2nd quarter. There wasn’t much of Monte anymore, and the walk-on from Kearney finished his career in mop-up duty.

Bobby Newcombe

Bobby Newcombe

One play in the 1998 Spring Game ended up being the highlight of his quarterback career; on his first carry, he ran an option keeper 92 yards untouched to claim the starting job. He started six games as a sophomore before a knee injury ended his season. As a junior, he lost the starting job after two games after being outplayed by Eric Crouch and ended up being moved back to wingback, the position he played on the 1997 National Championship squad.

To this day, there are still people who believed that Newcombe was a better quarterback than Crouch, even though Crouch would go on to win the Heisman Trophy in 2001.

Time to vote! If you disagree and want another answer, put it in the comments!


Vote: Who’s the most overrated QB in the past 20 years?

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    Joe Ganz
    (59 votes)
  • 35%
    Taylor Martinez
    (834 votes)
  • 46%
    Sam Keller
    (1094 votes)
  • 3%
    Monte Christo
    (74 votes)
  • 4%
    Bobby Newcombe
    (111 votes)
  • 7%
    (188 votes)
2360 votes total Vote Now