Archive for Monday, October 13, 2008

Cornhuskers on verge of worst start in conference since 1945

October 13, 2008


— Nebraska enters this week's game at Iowa State hoping to avoid a third straight loss to open conference play - something that hasn't happened to the Cornhuskers in 63 years.

George "Potsy" Clark's 1945 team started the Big Six with losses to Oklahoma, Iowa State and Missouri.

Bo Pelini's 2008 squad has followed a nonconference defeat to Virginia Tech with back-to-back Big 12 losses against Missouri and Texas Tech, both of which were in the Top 10 at the time.

Nebraska (3-3) made big strides in Saturday's 37-31 overtime loss at Texas Tech after losing, 52-17, at home to Missouri.

But don't offer congratulations to Pelini for coming close.

"We're not about moral victories. Nebraska never will be as long as I'm head coach," Pelini said. "If we start being about moral victories, you need to get a new head coach."

Still, the Huskers did show improvement.

Nebraska outgained Texas Tech, 471 yards to 421, and held nearly a 20-minute advantage in time of possession. Joe Ganz completed a career-best 81.8 percent of his passes (36 of 44) for 349 yards, leading a 79-yard scoring drive in the last 2 minutes to force overtime.

But some old bugaboos came back to bite the Huskers. They committed eight penalties for 55 yards, including one on Ndamukong Suh for roughing the passer and back-to-back holding calls on offensive lineman Mike Smith after the Huskers had driven to the Tech 24 when down, 17-7.

And Ganz, for the third straight week, threw a costly interception. This pick, by Jamar Wall, came as Ganz desperately tried to get rid of the ball on the Huskers' second play of overtime. Defensive end McKinner Dixon was pulling Ganz down as the quarterback flung the ball at Wall to end the game.

"We have a good offense, and I don't think we get the credit for it," Ganz said. "We've been shooting ourselves in the foot and we did it again (Saturday)."

The loss gave Nebraska an 0-2 conference record for the first time since 1968.

"Obviously, it's not fun whether you lose in overtime or you get beat by five touchdowns like last week," Nebraska wide receiver Todd Peterson said. "There's a lot of guys in there who are heartbroken right now."


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