LINCOLN, Neb. — Not even Nebraska fans, generally regarded as the classiest in college football, avoided the temptation to be sarcastic.
Late in the first quarter, already down 17-0 to Oklahoma State, the Husker offense earned its first first down. And Nebraska fans mockingly cheered. Later, in the second quarter, when defensive end Pierre Allen knocked down Zac Robinson's pass for literally the first decent Nebraska defensive play of the period, the mock cheers returned.
Husker coach Bill Callahan's future is in doubt after Nebraska's second straight blowout loss, a 45-14 thrashing by OSU that was not as close as the score indicated, considering it was 38-0 at halftime. A week ago, Missouri popped NU 41-6, so that's 86-20 in back-to-back weeks.
"I'm not worried about my job,” Callahan said. "I'm just going to do the best I can. Whatever happens happens. I don't think you can coach in fear or coach like you're scared of something.
"I'm not worried about that. I'm just coaching for these kids. I just feel terrible for these players.”
The players feel terrible, too.
"It feels like we let down our fans,” said linebacker Lance Brandenburgh.
Said linebacker Bo Ruud, "First half was just terrible. Worst half I can ever remember playing. Just terrible. No excuse for that.”
Nebraska now is 4-3 overall, 1-2 in the Big 12.
"I really felt we were going to play more competitively, but that wasn't the case,” Callahan said. "There's not really much to say.”
Nothing, perhaps, except thank you to those Nebraska fans, who despite their disappointment remembered their calling. At the end of the first half, as the Huskers trotted off the field trailing by 38 points, the Nebraskans stood en masse and politely applauded, with no mocking.