”You get back late at night. I know me – I was worn down. It just takes its toll on you,” said Pelini, who watched his team down Northwestern on Saturday night in the Chicago area, 38-17. “I am glad that we have that part of the schedule behind us. We might have a night game coming up, I don’t even know, as far as that is going to work as the season goes on. It was a tough stretch, and I think I said it, it is going to be good to get home for these next couple of weeks.”
Pelini’s No. 16 ranked Cornhuskers (6-1, 2-1) return home for the first time in four weeks to face Big Ten newcomer Rutgers (5-2, 1-2) on Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 11 a.m. CT on ESPN 2.
“We have not played these guys before. Trying to familiarize with what they are trying to do,” said Pelini. “I spent some of the bye week looking at them, prior to the Northwestern game.
“It's one thing seeing them on film, then playing them and seeing them live and what they do. I am sure there will be adjustments that will have to be made on both sides, because we are new to them, too.”
Rutgers enters the game scoring 30+ points four times this season, but was held to 17 and 13 in their two Big Ten losses against Ohio State and Penn State. On Saturday, the defense allowed the Buckeyes to score 56 points in three quarters.
“They are going to have one or two specific packages that they do. You see that week-to-week. They have 90 percent of something they do, and they are not going to change that, but the 10 percent changes depending on their opponent,” said Pelini. “They haven’t changed a whole heckuva lot. You have to have a philosophy, and I know Coach (Ralph) Friedgen and Coach (Kyle) Flood, they have what they believe and do what they do. I am sure they will adjust some things because of our structures, but for the most part they are going to run their offense and their defense and try to execute it at a high level.”
Pelini said the Huskers left Evanston on Saturday night “pretty good,” and everyone available for the game against Northwestern should be available for Rutgers. This includes All-American defensive end candidate Randy Gregory, who was seen during the game slow to get up at various times.
“He got it banged a couple times. Not just his knee, his thigh. He found himself wrapped up in a couple odd positions the other day. But he was fine the other day. He’s feeling pretty good,” said Pelini, who says Gregory is handling well the way teams try to block him.
“Number one he doesn’t get caught up in statistics and all of that. He plays extremely hard and he's a force out there. It doesn’t matter how they’re blocking it or whether they are turning their protections towards him. He still finds a way to be productive and it opens up one-on-ones on the other side, which I think we saw in the second half last week where we were able to take advantage of it.”
Big Red Report will have much more on Monday night from Bo Pelini’s press conference and player availability including a Tommy Armstrong report and a story on the offensive line.