For those members of ‘Husker Nation looking for additional ammunition against Bo Pelini continuing on as Nebraska’s head coach, you got it Friday afternoon. In spades.
Down to its third-string quarterback and handing the opposition prime field position time after time, Nebraska stumbled, bumbled and tripped its way to a 38-17 loss to Iowa. At home, no less.
It was the Cornhuskers’ third loss in the last six games, with a Hail Mary the only thing standing between that number moving to four of six.
The Hawkeyes’ five touchdown drives totaled just 156 yards, with the longest coming from 41 yards out. Two of those scores came courtesy of NU’s three official turnovers, while a third TD came after an inexplicable decision — one that reeked of coaching desperation — to fake a punt on fourth and three from their own 32-yard line.
Ron Kellogg, making his first career start under center for the Cornhuskers, threw a pair of interceptions. When Kellogg wasn’t coughing up turnovers, the senior was being harassed and pummeled by a punishing Hawkeye defense.
The loss will make it extremely hard for school officials to bring Pelini back for a seventh season, despite the fact that Nebraska has not won fewer than nine games his first five seasons in Lincoln. Part of the problem, though, is that they haven’t won more than 10 and have finished every season with four losses under Pelini.
This season, the Huskers are 8-4 — they avoided the best teams in the Big Ten, Ohio State and Wisconsin — and a bowl loss away from what would officially be the program’s worst season with Pelini as coach. Provided he makes it to the bowl game, that is.
All season long, athletic director Shawn Eichorst has steadfastly refused to address either Pelini’s status or offer up a vote of confidence. A review is expected at the end of the season, although said review could commence (continue) this weekend. And could result in an interim head coach guiding the Huskers through bowl practices and their postseason game.