Keller Says Huskers Have To 'Be Men, Move On'
Sunday, October 7th 2007, 6:53 pm
By: News On 6
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) _ Nebraska's offense failed to score a touchdown for the first time in three years, and its defense continued its spiral toward becoming statistically the worst in the program's modern era.
But Cornhuskers coach Bill Callahan says it's too early to write off his team.
``I've got confidence in our football team to play better,'' he said after Saturday's 41-6 loss at Missouri. ``We're certainly not out of this. We're in the Big 12 North race. Anything can happen now.''
The Huskers (4-2, 1-1 Big 12) play three straight South Division opponents, starting at home this week against Oklahoma State (3-3, 1-1).
``We can't let this drag on into the next week, and into the next week after that,'' quarterback Sam Keller said. ``We're in the heat of this battle. We have to refocus and get to work. In the big scheme of things, it's one game. It hurts bad. I know it's awful the way we played. But you just have to swallow it, be a man and move on.''
The Tigers' Chase Daniel-led offense embarrassed Nebraska like it hadn't been embarrassed since the night the Huskers had 70 points hung on them by Texas Tech in 2004. That loss came in Callahan's first season.
This is Year 4, and a 35-point loss in Columbia, Mo., is less palpable for the Big Red faithful who already have seen their team pushed to the limit by Ball State and challenged by Iowa State in consecutive weeks.
Daniel passed for a career-high 401 yards, rushed for a game-high 72, and the Tigers became the second opponent in three weeks to amass more than 600 total yards.
``We just need to go back and regroup and work as hard as we can to rectify the error in our football right now,'' Callahan said.
Callahan was at a loss to say what's wrong with the defense.
``We're going to have to go back and look at it,'' he said. ``I wish I could give you a statement and cover it all. But right now I can't really give you a blanket statement as to where we're at defensively.''
The Huskers better find a quick fix, because Oklahoma State brings a productive and balanced offense to Lincoln.
Dantrell Savage has rushed for 355 yards in his last three games after a groin injury. Freshman Kendall Hunter is third in the conference in rushing, averaging 88.2 yards a game and 7.7 a carry.
Zac Robinson's passing numbers are solid for an offense that is generating 473.2 yards a game to rank fifth in the Big 12 and 14th nationally.
Nebraska's defense slid to 96th in total defense (441.5 ypg) and 75th in scoring defense (29 ppg). The Huskers are last in the Big 12 in both categories. Their numbers are the worst since the 1948 team, which was 2-8 under George ``Potsy'' Clark, gave up 379.5 yards and 30.3 points a game.
Offensively, the Huskers managed only two field goals by Alex Henery against Missouri. It marked the first time in 33 games, since the 30-3 loss to Oklahoma in 2004, that the Huskers have gone without a touchdown.
The Huskers rushed for just 74 yards and finished with a season-low 297. Keller was 25 of 43 for 223 yards, with one interception.
``Extremely disappointing,'' Keller said. ``I can't really put my finger on it. It's a horrible, horrible feeling and I put all the blame on myself. What it comes down to is I have to make the plays to keep this team in it. And I just feel bad I couldn't do that.''