November 28, 2009

NU reflects on five-game winning streak

By no means has Nebraska looked anywhere close to perfect on either side of the ball over the course of the last five weeks.

However, their perfect 5-0 record during that stretch is the only thing that matters in the end.

Whether or not the Huskers are a Big 12 Conference championship caliber team is certainly is debatable, but the fact of the matter is that they will have the chance to show it on the field next week when they face No. 3 Texas in the conference title game in Dallas.

"Our backs were against the wall coming out of the Iowa State game, and we just ran off five straight," defensive coordinator Carl Pelini. "That's not easy to do in college football today with all the parity. We knew we were going to get Colorado's best shot, and we played our tails off."

Not everyone has been so optimistic about Nebraska's play during its winning streak. While everyone agrees that wins are the most important stat of all, the other numbers NU has put up the past month haven't exactly been too impressive.

Whether it's been a lack of offensive production, costly defensive breakdowns or inconsistent special teams play, the Huskers haven't been able to put it all together in all three aspects yet this entire season.

On Friday, the Huskers put up just 217 yards of offense and two touchdowns against a Colorado team that has struggled to stop anyone all season. It wasn't much better on the other side of the ball, either, as the Buffaloes finished with more than 400 yards and came two missed field goals away from making it a much scarier game for NU.

With not only the best team in the conference and maybe the best in the country in Texas now staring them right in the face, the Huskers know they have to have their best performance yet to have any chance at winning their first Big 12 title in a decade.

"9-3 is great," head coach Bo Pelini said. "We have to focus this week. We have to be ready for Texas… We've won some games. That's great, but I have higher standards than what I saw on the field (on Friday)."

For the players, just having the chance to play a team like the Longhorns for a potential trip to a BCS bowl game is all they could ask for. Don't get confused, though - the Huskers are going into the game with the full belief that they can leave with a conference championship.

"I think we're ready," senior linebacker Phillip Dillard. "We're just going to have to go in and start from the beginning again. We have a good long week ahead of us, and we're going to have to go in and hit the film early. We're going to have to bring it to them. We're going to have to bring to a step higher.

"That's what you've got to do when you play a team of that caliber. You've got to come in and you've got to hit them in the mouth first. You've got to bring it every play."

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