"I'm not looking here to defend our program or where we are right now. What we came here to do was to win a conference championship and a national championship and are going to fight tooth in nail to keep trying to get that done,” said Pelini. “I’m not going to sit here and apologize. The time I start apologizing is the time I will stop working. I believe the program is on a good track, the right track.”
No. 21 Nebraska (8-2, 4-2) was run on all over by Melvin Gordon and the No. 14 Wisconsin Badgers on Saturday, losing 59-24. Gordon set a NCAA single-game record with 408 rushing yards. The game immediately drew parallels to the Huskers’ 70-31 loss to the Badgers in the Big Ten Championship game in 2012.
“You stay the course. You have to keep working,” said Pelini. “Every season, every game is different. What happened three years had nothing to do with what happened on Saturday. Different kids, different time, different place, and different teams.”
Saturday’s contest was the seventh time Nebraska has lost by 20+ points since joining the Big Ten in 2011. Pelini was asked how he felt national perception regarding the program was after numerous blowout losses on national television over the years.
“Better than it is locally,” said Pelini. “A game like this or losing a football game isn’t exclusive to Nebraska.
“We have won a lot football games since I have been here…A lot of programs would die for the amount of football games we have won.”
Since taking over in 2008, Pelini has won at least nine games a year – only Alabama's Nick Saban can rival the Huskers consistency in those six seasons. Pelini’s 65-26 record is good for a .714 winning percentage. But, as the Omaha World Herald’s Tom Shatel writes, “Pelini’s era is defined by victories you don’t remember and losses that you do.” The head coach is just 9-16 against ranked opponents and 2-9 against opponents ranked in the top ten.
“We have been very consistent,” said Pelini when asked his biggest accomplishments at Nebraska.
Since 1970, no college football program has more wins than the University of Nebraska. With five national championships in that time frame, expectations and pressure are always high in Lincoln. Could that be the cause for these snowball type meltdowns?
“I sometimes feel like our guys are putting so much pressure on themselves to win, they are not going to play to win, but instead not to lose. That’s a bad a recipe,” said Pelini. “These kids want to win in a the worst way and want to have success…the worst thing you could says is they didn’t care, that’s not the case.”