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Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Midseason report: Nebraska

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Nebraska (3-3, 0-2 Big 12): The Cornhuskers are struggling through a three-game losing streak and are off to their worst start after six games since 1961. But the fans haven't left coach Bo Pelini as they have gravitated to his aggressive defensive style and the sass and vigor he has brought to the team -- even after his own critical penalty that helped seal the Virginia Tech loss. Pelini's biggest concern has been his team's lack of discipline (tied for 114th nationally in penalties) and its inability to create turnovers (tied for 107th).

Offensive MVP, Joe Ganz: The Cornhuskers' offense has been humming thanks to the seamless work of Ganz, who passed for three 300-yard games, ranking 15th nationally in pass efficiency and total offense. The senior has passed for 11 touchdowns and been intercepted six times. But his most important trait has been his confidence running the offense that served as a foundation for Pelini's program to take hold.

Defensive MVP, Zach Potter: Before the season, the Cornhuskers' defensive line was expected to be its biggest weakness, but Potter has helped the group evolve into the team's biggest strength midway through the season. Potter has notched 21 tackles, including seven for loss and two sacks and an interception. He's also blocked two kicks, giving him four for his career.

What's next: The Cornhuskers have a clear path to a bowl game, which would be a good first step for Pelini after missing on postseason action last year. To get there, they will need to split the remaining six games beginning with a critical game at Iowa State on Saturday. The Cornhuskers need to run the ball better, stay away from foolish penalties and hope that some of Pelini's turnover magic starts rubbing off on a team which has struggled making big plays earlier this season.