The flight – roughly some 11 hours from Dublin, Ireland, to Lincoln, Nebraska – is about the only thing longer than the Cornhuskers’ current losing streak.
After dropping its final six games of 2021, setting up a make-or-break 2022 campaign for former Cornhuskers standout-quarterback Scott Frost, Nebraska opened this season Saturday with a come-from-ahead, 31-28 loss to a Northwestern team that entered as one of Nebraska’s three wins from a year ago.
Moreover, Frost was left to again answer questions after a single-digit loss; his Huskers are 5-21 in games decided by a score or less one game into Frost’s fifth season at his alma mater.
“Well, you’ve got to win in this business to keep your job,” Frost said. “That’s the way it is. I love Nebraska, love the state of Nebraska. I love these fans that sacrificed to come over; I want to thank them.”
Fans wanted rewarded for their patience as much as their lengthy and costly travel. In that closing six-game losing streak a year ago, Nebraska lost each of those contests by nine or fewer points. It had late leads in multiple games.
As Nebraska had earlier released after it brought back Frost for a fifth season in Lincoln, it greatly reduced Frost’s overall compensation package and likewise positioned itself to cut Frost’s buyout – should it come to that juncture – in half by Oct. 1.
While Frost acknowledged he must win to remain employed, he emphasized he would not back down from the challenge at Nebraska when asked if he would consider resigning should the Huskers’ losses continue to mount.
“No. Absolutely not,” Frost said. “I love Nebraska. I’m going to fight with the guys as long as I can fight.”
Frost might find a bit of the wrong kind of fight amongst his revamped offensive staff. He took a not-so-veiled jab at new offensive coordinator Mark Whipple after Nebraska failed to score across the game’s final 24 minutes.
“I think we’re going to have to learn as an offensive staff that you’ve got to be a little creative in this league,” said Frost, who relinquished play-calling duties and hired away Whipple from Pittsburgh. “We have some things that we can work on. Thought we did a lot of good things but it’s got to be more of a complete game. …
“It’s tough for me [not to be the play-caller]. I’ve said this, there’s no one way to do things but I think we can cooperate a little bit more. Probably the thing that hurt our offense was when we got in situations where just running the ball we weren’t efficient enough.”
Frost also shouldered the blame for a failed onside-kick attempt in the second half that set up the Wildcats with a short field that they turned into a touchdown that signaled the game’s turning point.
“I made that call, so that’s on me,” Frost said. “At that point in the game, I thought all the momentum was on our side; if we got it, I thought we could end the game. The way we were playing, I felt at that point like we had a really good chance of winning the game and maybe we were the better team.
“You can’t really foresee them scoring 14 straight and us sputtering on offense. Again, those are excuses. If I had it over, I wouldn’t make the call.”