What do you say when your team gives away a 21-3 lead by allowing 35 unanswered points, sending 85,000 fans running for the exits and effectively killing off your program's national championship dreams? Take it away, Bo Pelini (video courtesy of the Omaha World-Herald):
Let's count the clichés, shall we?
1. "That's what you call a team loss."
2. "We got beat in every phase of the game."
3. "It's nothing magical."
4. "We didn't show up."
5. "The pendulum started going the other way, and we needed to make a play." (This one could count twice.)
6. "We didn't execute well enough to win the football game."
7. "Maybe we're reading our press clippings too much."
8. "We've gotta get it fixed and move forward."
9. "We lost a sense of what our job was."
10. "Our guys, instead of playing to win, are playing not to lose."
11. "I'd like to see our football team just turn it loose and have fun."
Pelini is correct about at least one thing: His offense, which was supposed to be enough in and of itself to overcome a young and inexperienced defense, has not performed to expectations. The Huskers are 37th nationally in points per game and 95th in passing. Fourth-year starting quarterback Taylor Martinez is averaging just 6.6 yards per pass attempt this season -- the lowest average of his career -- and was held to minus-13 yards rushing on Saturday. If Nebraska is going to turn it around, it has to start on offense.
Fortunately for Pelini, the schedule gives Nebraska ample time for correction. The Huskers will likely not see another ranked opponent until November. They close their non-conference slate against South Dakota State next week, then face projected Big Ten also-rans Illinois, Purdue, and Minnesota in October. Nebraska also has two bye weeks during that stretch.