Thursday, October 15, 2009
Pelini won't let Cornhuskers bask in Missouri win
By David Ubben
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Calling Nebraska’s victory over Missouri stunning simply doesn’t do it justice.
The Cornhuskers’ 27-point fourth-quarter eruption was one of the most memorable comebacks in school history. It grabbed them much national attention and pushing defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh high on many Heisman lists.
An encore of that performance might be just as difficult.
Nebraska will attempt to follow up what arguably is Bo Pelini’s greatest victory at the school since taking over as coach with another one against Texas Tech –- a team that has beaten Nebraska three consecutive times coming into Saturday’s game.
Pelini understands how important it is to maintain the momentum from last week’s victory, which boosted the Cornhuskers into a share of the early North Division lead and into the No. 15 spot in the Associated Press poll.
“It’s all about having that consistent approach and that’s something that we always do,” Pelini said. “Our guys understand that. We’re not talking about Missouri. Missouri is over. We put that to rest a long time ago and it’s time to get into the next thing.”
Suh’s breakout game notwithstanding, the massive defensive tackle is intent on returning back to action rather than basking in the national spotlight.
“It’s all good and gravy, but like Coach Pelini has said, it’s still early in the season,” Suh said. “We’ve just got to continue to stay focused and move on and get ready for this Texas Tech team.”
The Red Raiders arrive as a little bit of a mystery team after beating New Mexico and Kansas State after close, tough losses to Texas and Houston.
But their 66-14 beatdown over Kansas State has infused them with confidence for this week’s game.
“That’s something we’ve been wait on for a long time,” Tech tackle Marlon Winn said. “We experienced it for one game and I think everybody liked the way it felt. When we go out in confidence, we’ll have a little more boost of confidence to go out there and handle our business.”
Nebraska did a good job of keeping the ball away from Tech in last season’s game in Lubbock, controlling the ball for more than 40 minutes as they maintained a 78-48 edge in plays. But Tech made just enough plays to escape with a wild 37-31 overtime victory that wasn’t sealed until Jamar Wall’s interception on Nebraska’s second play from scrimmage in the extra period.
And despite Tech playing a spread offense like the one that Missouri plays, Pelini said there’s little similarity between the two offenses.
“It’s a totally different offense,” Pelini said. “Everybody wants to loop these spread offenses into one category. It’s not even close. They’re all unique in their own ways.”
Tech’s offense also could be scrambled depending on who starts at quarterback. Steven Sheffield blistered Kansas State for seven touchdowns. He’s more of a scrambler when compared with Taylor Potts, who has missed the last 1.5 games because of a concussion.
Tech coach Mike Leach has been coy about his starter and isn’t expected to make a determination until shortly before game time.
Pelini said that both Tech quarterbacks are alike in many ways, but doesn’t expect much change depending on the starter.
“I think they are pretty similar guys,” Pelini said. “I think the second guy who’s come in (Sheffield) might be a little more mobile, but they both can move their feet. They’re both similar players. They both have good arms. They both run the system well. There’s really not much of a difference.”
And he expects their presence to make Tech a difficult test after the victory over Missouri.
“This is going to be a unique challenge,” Pelini said. “They are a good football team. They were right there with Texas until the very end. That speaks for itself.”