Husker' Pelini says defense vs. UCLA sickened him

Associated Press Modified: September 11, 2012 at 5:16 am •  Published: September 11, 2012

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Bo Pelini still felt awful Monday, two days after Nebraska's defensive meltdown at UCLA.

"I've been sick to my stomach since that game," Nebraska's coach said. "I felt we should have won that football game. We didn't, and it hurts. It's hard to live with. But you know what, you move on. You have to. That's part of the deal. That's part of this profession. It's sickening. You can't turn back the clock."

The Cornhuskers (1-1) surrendered 653 yards — the second-most in program history — in the 36-30 loss that dropped them out of the Top 25.

Now they must prepare to face another spread offense when Arkansas State (1-1) visits Saturday. The Sun Belt Conference's Red Wolves feature one of the nation's top dual-threat quarterbacks in Ryan Aplin, who has opened the season with two straight 300-yard passing days.

Pelini looks at the game as additional preparation for Big Ten opponents that run the spread, like Ohio State and Northwestern.

"We will be tested," Pelini said. "It'll be kind of a good follow-up to the game we just played. We need to get better in that area. I think it comes at the right time for us to kind of make another jump and evaluate how far we're coming."

Pelini spent most of his half-hour news conference discussing what went wrong against the Bruins.

Missed tackles, a problem against Southern Mississippi in the opener, were an even bigger issue against UCLA. The defensive front was neutralized by the Bruins' young offensive line. There were blown assignments, especially in the first half.

"We have a long season ahead of us," Pelini said. "We have to work through the thing. We're looking at every possible thing we need to do to get better. You can't sit there and worry about what happened. You've got to use what happened to make yourself better as you go forward."

That message already has been delivered to the players, linebacker Alonzo Whaley said.

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