LINCOLN, Neb. — Purdue finally found something to celebrate. Nebraska is still looking.
The Boilermakers (1-3) broke through with a win over then-ranked Boston College last week after three losses by a total of eight points. The Cornhuskers (0-3) are coming off a 46-point loss at Michigan and will be three-point underdogs at home when they play Purdue on Saturday.
Nebraska has lost seven straight since last season and six in a row at home. A loss here would extend those streaks to lengths unprecedented in the 129-year history of the program.
"Nobody's more frustrated than me, but I'm also never going to panic," first-year Huskers coach Scott Frost said. "I know what we're asking guys to do works. Maybe this is a little bigger fix or it's taking longer than what I expected. There's no question in my mind that we're going to get it fixed."
Purdue will be playing its first road game, and confidence shouldn't be a problem. The Boilermakers have senior David Blough established as their starting quarterback and a freshman star in receiver Rondale Moore, and the defense limited BC to 229 yards in a 30-13 win.
Purdue coach Jeff Brohm said he expects Frost's Huskers to to be motivated to atone for their dismal outing at Michigan.
"It will be a tough challenge because his team will be hungry and they will be angry and they will be out for blood this game," Brohm said. "We're going to have to hang in there and play stuff and still do the small things in a visiting environment and see if we can get it in the fourth quarter."
True freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez will start his second straight game for Nebraska.
"I think we know what we're capable of," Martinez said. "I think upon watching the film, we know that we're this close on certain plays to it being a touchdown, to it being a bigger play. We know we just need to hammer down those details. We're hitting the reset button. We still have plenty of season left to prove ourselves."
LOOKING FOR A SPARK
Nebraska hopes to establish some offensive rhythm after one of its worst performances in years. A rushing game that averaged 258 yards against Colorado and Troy was held to 39 against Michigan, its fewest yards on the ground since 2007. The passing game managed just 93 yards against the Wolverines.
This will be Blough's fourth game against Nebraska. He's completed 61 percent of his passes for 747 yards, seven touchdowns and one interception in the three other games. Last year, he was 16 of 28 for 164 yards and a TD in a 25-24 loss.
CAN MOORE DO MORE?
Purdue's Moore is the top freshman receiver in the nation with 33 catches for 372 yards and four touchdowns, including a 70-yard catch-and-run last week where he caught a short pass, bounced off a defender and covered 65 yards to the end zone. Moore, who also returns kicks and punts, has four rushing attempts as well, and Brohm is looking for ways to get him more involved in the running game.
"We've been kind of giving it to him around the edge a little bit and maybe there's a few other extra things he can do," Brohm said. "We'll have to be selective with it. You send him in motion as a decoy numerous times and he draws a lot of attention; gets other open. We'll be careful with it. Yeah, there's probably a few extra little things and wrinkles that maybe we can add to the mix."
SPECIAL TEAM STRUGGLES
Both teams are looking for better performances from their special teams. Purdue gave up kick returns of 60 and 40 yards last week, had a personal foul in kick coverage and missed an extra point and a 21-yard field goal. Nebraska, against Michigan, allowed a punt return for a touchdown for the second week in a row. The Huskers' special teams also were penalized for catch interference, a facemask, holding and a personal foul.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"I had other opportunities (and) came here for a reason, because I want to be here. This is the team I want to coach. We're doing the same things that we've done with other teams to turn them into winners. In fact, we're working harder at it. It's going to come." — Frost.
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