Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said that his team’s performance Saturday night should help with motivation as the Huskers prepare for Southern Mississippi, adding on the weekly Big Ten teleconference: “We didn’t play like we wanted to the other day.”
But Pelini went on to say the Huskers would be motivated no matter what for the Eagles, even though Southern Miss is currently stuck in a 13-game losing skid that goes back to the 2011 season. The team started its season last week with six turnovers in a 22-15 loss to Texas State.
“You look at Southern Miss on tape and they’re a dramatically improved football team,” Pelini said Tuesday. “They turned the ball over a bunch the other day, which hurt ’em. But they’re a better football team than what their record states and kind of what they’re going through as a program right now.”
Todd Monken, who coached with Pelini at LSU in 2005 and ’06, took over as head coach at Southern Miss after an 0-12 season in 2012.
“I think Coach Monken is doing a good job there,” Pelini said. “He has that thing heading in the right direction. They have talent on both sides of the football. They’re playing hard. They’ll catch your attention when you’re watching them on film.”
Some other comments from Pelini during his 10-minute segment as he rehashed the 37-34 win over Wyoming that included the Cowboys piling up 602 total yards and staying in the game until the final minute:
>> “We got the first-game jitters out of us, I think, a little bit. We had a lot thrown at us. And I think we’ll grow a lot from our experience the other day and it’ll make us a better football team going forward.”
>> On how hard it was to watch the defensive film: “I’ve been around a long time, so I’ve seen games like that before, and we’ll see them again. Hopefully not to that extent. There were good things, there were some positives. I equate it to like a basketball game when you miss a lot of layups. We had a lot of layups that we missed.”
>> Pelini said it was “probably not our best game up front” but thought the Husker I-backs ran well. Ameer Abdullah rushed for 114 yards, Imani Cross for 105 and freshman Terrell Newby for 76.
“They made a lot of yards. A lot of guys missed,” Pelini said. “They made a lot of yards on their own, and not just Imani and Ameer but Terrell Newby came in and did a nice job. He ran hard and ran well, and made a lot of people miss.
“I’ve been saying all along I really like our running back position. We’re deep there, and pretty talented. So I like that group.”