Nebraska's Bo Pelini gets defensive following 38-17 loss to Iowa
Bo Pelini went on the defensive following Nebraska’s 38-17 loss to Iowa on Friday.
“If they want to fire me, go ahead,” Pelini told reporters following the game. “I believe in what I’ve done. I don’t apologize to you. I don’t apologize to anybody, myself or this staff.
“My record, our record since I’ve been here, speaks for itself. And this program is heading in a good direction.”
The numbers don’t exactly back him up.
With the loss, Pelini’s team finished the regular season 8-4 and 5-3 in the Big Ten. It was the Huskers’ fewest regular-season wins since 2008, his first year. Nebraska lost three home games for the first time since 2007 under Bill Callahan.
Despite a 57-24 in six seasons at Nebraska, Pelini has come under heavy fire in the wake of ugly losses to UCLA and Minnesota. An audio recording of a profanity-laden tirade against Cornhuskers fans that went public in September isn’t helping matters.
Pelini’s temper was on full display Friday, and he was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct after he protested a third-quarter pass-interference call. He didn’t mince words when asked about the call in the postgame press conference.
“I’ve never seen anything like that before,” Pelini said. “I’ve done a lot worse than that, and I saw (Iowa coach) Kirk Ferentz over on the other side acting a lot worse than I act. I didn’t see a flag come out on him.
“The bottom line is they knew they blew the call. They blew it. They blew that call over there on that third down. And everybody in the stadium knew it. They didn’t man up enough to pick that flag up.”
The question now becomes whether first-year athletic director Shawn Eichorst will decide to go in another direction. Pelini, who makes nearly $3 million a year, is under contract through 2017.
The general feeling has been that things were 50-50 with a 9-3 regular season. At 8-4, the odds probably aren’t nearly that good.
Still, the fact remains that six offensive linemen missed time with injuries, and fourth-year starting quarterback Taylor Martinez was limited to four games with a mysterious foot injury. Backup Tommy Armstrong Jr. missed the Iowa game with an ankle injury, forcing third-stringer Ron Kellogg III into action.
Pelini wouldn’t respond to questions about whether or not he had done enough to save his job.
“You know what? People are gonna say what they want to say,” he said. “I really don’t care. If they want someone — if somebody wants someone else — so be it. I’ll move on.
“I know what I know, and I believe in what we’re doing. I believe in how we’re doing it. We do it the right way here. That’s about it. That’s all you can do.”
Photo: Doug McSchooler, AP