Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Cornhuskers Struggle to Recapture Past Glory

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Cornhuskers Struggle to Recapture Past Glory

Article excerpt

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - There have been more storied college football programs than the one at Nebraska.

More successful ones, too.

There just haven't been all that many of either.

The Cornhuskers, who will face Penn State at 4 p.m. Saturday at Beaver Stadium, have finished atop the final Associated Press poll four times -1970, 1971, 1994 (to the considerable consternation of Nittany Lions partisans) and 1995 -and have more all-time victories (893) than all but four Football Bowl Subdivision schools.

Trouble is, Nebraska hasn't done much to add to that total lately.

The Cornhuskers are 4-6 and have lost four of their past five games, including a 54-21 thrashing Saturday at Minnesota.

"That was disappointing football by our team and by our players," linebacker Mohamed Barry told reporters Monday.

Nebraska's fan base is large and loyal -the past 360 games at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln have been sold out -and more than a little distressed that the Cornhuskers seem doomed to finish with a losing record for the second time in three years.

"I know everybody -players, coaches, fans -is disappointed in what is going on," coach Mike Riley told his weekly news conference. "This place has maintained their passion for their teams and Husker football for a long time, and I am certain that they will continue to do that, and they should."

Tuesday, Penn State coach James Franklin drew a historical parallel between his program and Nebraska's -"tremendous history, tremendous tradition and pride" -but the Nittany Lions are on an upward trajectory, while the Cornhuskers appear to be headed in the opposite direction.

And for some obvious reasons.

Like how a school that once mass-produced offensive linemen who could plow through armored plating to create running room -Outland Trophy winners such as Dave Rimington, Dean Steinkuhler and Will Shields are on that list -now ranks 13th in rushing in the 14-member Big Ten Conference, averaging just 115. …

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