The Big Ten reportedly rejected a proposal by Nebraska to replace its previously scheduled game against Wisconsin, which was canceled because of COVID-19 concerns within the Badgers' program, with one against Chattanooga.
ESPN's Chris Low reported Thursday the Cornhuskers had an agreement in place with the Mocs, including payment for all of the FCS school's coronavirus testing before Saturday's contest, but a Big Ten committee turned down the idea.
Chattanooga is part of the Southern Conference, which is expected to play football in the late winter and spring. It suffered a 13-10 loss to Western Kentucky last week, however, and was willing to play Nebraska on short notice before an extended hiatus until its Feb. 20 clash with VMI.
The plan called for both teams to get tested for COVID-19 multiple times before Saturday's game, including a round of tests for the Mocs on game-day morning, per Low.
It's unclear why the Big Ten, which is playing a limited eight-game, conference-only schedule this year because of the pandemic, denied the Cornhuskers' request.
Since teams don't have a bye and the conference wants to play its championship week before the College Football Playoff selection committee makes its choices Dec. 20, the Huskers don't have an alternative beyond taking the week off and playing one fewer game.
Nebraska opened the campaign with a 52-17 loss to fifth-ranked Ohio State last weekend. Head coach Scott Frost told reporters he believed the team's on-field problems were fixable:
"I thought we did some good things. Unfortunately, some of the things that led to the game getting out of hand were self-inflicted things that we can fix. We had too many penalties. They hardly had any. We turned the ball over a couple times with the quarterback running. We got them in a couple second and really longs and gave up first downs on third and 14s. We can fix those as a group. We hung in with them a lot better physically...I was proud of how our kids fought."
The Huskers' next scheduled game is Nov. 7 when they'll visit Ryan Field to face Northwestern.