Huskers' loss to Ohio St set up 'brutal' 2 weeks
OMAHA, Neb. (AP)
Nebraska must stew for two weeks in the wake of another abysmal road performance.
The Cornhuskers gave up the fourth-most points in program history and most ever under fifth-year coach Bo Pelini in Saturday's 63-38 loss at Ohio State.
This came a month after Nebraska gave up the second-most yards in a loss at UCLA and a week after Pelini, in the glow of a 30-27 come-from-behind win over Wisconsin, boasted ''I haven't forgotten how to coach defense and how to stop the run.''
The Huskers (4-2, 1-1 Big Ten), who dropped out of the Associated Press Top 25, will have to live with the fallout from this one until they play at Northwestern on Oct. 20.
''The next two weeks are going to be brutal,'' receiver Kenny Bell said.
Pelini, usually not one to look beyond the next game, threw down the gauntlet in his postgame news conference when he said the Huskers must win out to assure themselves a spot in the Big Ten championship game.
Winning six in a row would seem a monumental task for a program that hasn't won six in a row in the same season since 2001.
''We all know that we can still go to the Big Ten championship and still play in the Rose Bowl,'' quarterback Taylor Martinez said. ''So this game really didn't matter a lot. But we lost. Too bad that we lost. We could have won. But we can still go to the Rose Bowl.''
On Saturday it was Braxton Miller's turn to flummox the Huskers, who have lost eight of their last 12 games against ranked opponents away from Lincoln.
Miller broke his own school record for a quarterback by rushing for 186 yards, including a 72-yarder for a touchdown. He also threw for 127 yards and a score. Carlos Hyde added 140 yards rushing and four TDs, both career highs.
The Huskers also surrendered Corey Brown's 76-yard punt return for a touchdown, and Bradley Roby scored on a 41-yard interception return.
Missed tackles and missed assignments cropped up, same as they did the night Nebraska allowed 653 yards in the 36-30 loss at UCLA.
''We killed ourselves,'' Pelini said. ''We've been here before. We've done it before on the road. That's the most disappointing thing. We talk about it and talk about it and talk about. Believe me, I'm frustrated. I'm disappointed.''
Halfway through the season, a defense that starts eight seniors is 92nd nationally at stopping the run (189 ypg), 73rd in scoring defense (28 ppg) and 49th in total defense (367 ypg).
The offense scored 30 points or more for the sixth straight game. But Martinez threw three interceptions and lost a fumble, the Huskers converted just five of 14 third downs, and four of seven penalties called against the offense were for false starts.
Ohio State converted three of the four turnovers into 21 points.
Running back Rex Burkhead, who ran 14 times for 119 yards, re-injured his left knee in the third quarter. Burkhead already has missed two games with a sprained ligament. Burkhead's latest injury isn't believed to be serious.