11.21.2011 / With a Big Ten Championship out of reach, the Huskers focus on the Hawkeyes. Blog posting by Mike Babcock, Huskers Illustrated Magazine.

Nebraska football coach Bo Pelini has talked about his teams character more than once this season. And that character will be tested on Friday when the Huskers play Iowa at Memorial Stadium in the first Heroes Game. Kickoff for the final regular-season game is 11 am

"Marlowe said, We play for our team, play for our coaches, our families, the state of Nebraska. We have a lot of pride."

A week ago, Nebraska still had an outside chance of getting to the Big Ten Championship game, and even if that hadn’t happened, the Huskers might have earned an at-large bid to a BCS bowl.  In order for either to be a possibility, however, they had to win at Michigan.  And they didn’t, losing 45-17.
“You can’t play that way on the road and win a football game,” said Pelini.  “You talk about the penalties, the turnovers, I mean, all the things that we preach, all the things we’ve been doing well, we didn’t do well today. There’s your result, as simple as that.”

In particular, Nebraska’s special-teams play was far from special. “We’ve been playing well on special teams,” Pelini said.  But not on this day.

Nebraska was a favorite to get to the first Big Ten Championship game, and not getting there is “very disappointing,” junior wide receiver Tim Marlowe said. “That was our goal at the beginning of the season, but we can’t have a letdown because there’s still a lot out there for us.

“We’ve just got to get back to work . . . start preparing for a great Iowa team.” The Hawkeyes are 7-4 following a 31-21 victory at Purdue.  “We play for us,” said Marlowe. “We play for our team, play for our coaches, our families, the state of Nebraska. We have a lot of pride. We still have a chance to win 10 games.”

The Huskers can’t look beyond the Iowa game, however. And they can’t look back at what might have been. “No sense in crying about it,” Pelini said of the Michigan loss.  “Every guy who participated in that game, coaches included, didn’t get it done, so you don’t sit there and make excuses or anything else.

You be a man, you accept responsibility for what happened and you move on, get ready to go play Iowa on the short week. It’s as simple as that. “There’s nothing magical about it.” With pre-season goals no longer intact, character will be a factor, too.

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