It was a sight Nebraska fans never thought they would see again. During Bill Callahan’s tenure, Texas Tech shocked Nebraska by notching 70 points against the Blackshirts in 2004. And in 2007, Kansas hung 76 points on the Blackshirts, driving the final nail into the coffin of Callahan’s tenure in Lincoln.
In came defensive mastermind. Bo Pelini. He shepherded Nebraska into a B1G title game in NU’s second conference season and appeared to get a fortunate draw. Nebraska faced Wisconsin, a 7-5 team that finished third in the Leaders Division (behind ineligible Ohio State and Penn State) and a team that Nebraska had already beaten earlier in the season.
Nebraska fans, then, had every reason to think that the conference title drought might finally come to an end. At the very least, they had every reason to think the game should be competitive with Nebraska having a chance to win at the end.
What they got, instead, was an evisceration. Wisconsin moved the ball and scored at will against a hapless Nebraska defense. The Badgers rushed for 539 yards and averaged a staggering 10.8 yards per carry against the Blackshirts.
If Nebraska fans were certain of anything, it was that the dark days of Callahan and defensive coordinator Kevin Cosgrove were over and that they would never have to endure humiliations like Texas Tech and Kansas again. Wisconsin demonstrated that, even in year five of Pelini’s tenure, Nebraska was still quite vulnerable to ugly and embarrassing losses.
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