Words? You want words?
Not after this one. Not Saturday. Not after Kansas had just defeated Nebraska 76-39 on the football field.
“Obviously, there’s really no words to explain this loss,” Husker coach Bill Callahan said.
“I can’t even put it into words for you honestly,” Husker senior safety Bryan Wilson said. “I can’t describe it. I mean, five weeks in a row, it’s just frustrating. It’s something different every week.”
That’s OK. Words weren’t necessary. The numbers speak loud enough.
It has become a Husker football season of historical numbers — hardly any that you’d want to put on Mom’s fridge.
* Let’s start with this number: 118.
Nebraska now ranks 118th out of 119 major college football teams in the country in rushing defense. It was worse. Last week, the Huskers ranked dead-last.
But thanks to KU’s overwhelming success in the air, running the ball proved unnecessary, helping the Huskers climb out of the cellar in that category. Nebraska is giving up an average of 240.1 yards rushing a game. Only the University of Alabama-Birmingham is worse (248.7).
* Another number: 359.
Nebraska has given up that many points in 10 games. That’s already the most points a Husker defense has ever given up in a season. The previous high was the 335 points allowed by the 2002 defense. But that was in 14 games, not 10.
The Huskers rank 106th in the country in scoring defense and have given up at least 40 points five times.
* And this number: 115.
NU is 115th in the nation in turnover margin. It’s tough to win when you can’t stop the run. It’s tougher yet when you’ve turned the ball over 14 more times than your opponent.
* Maybe the most amazing number: 4,776.
The Huskers have surrendered 4,776 yards. Nebraska is just 291 from the school record for most yards allowed in a season. The 2002 defense gave up 5,067 yards, but again, that was in 14 games.
Nebraska ranks 112th in the country in total defense at 477.6 yards per game. This is a jaw-dropping statistic, almost 100 yards above the previous worst average in a season for any Husker defense. The 1948 defense allowed 379.5 yards a game.
n Then there’s this round number: 50.
It’s been 50 years since Nebraska lost six straight games. Under coach Bill Jennings, the 1957 Huskers were shut out three times and, after winning the third game of the season, against Kansas State, lost seven in a row to finish 1-9.
* And, finally, this new ugly number: 76.
Someone asked Husker senior receiver Maurice Purify how difficult it is to accept that he was part of the Nebraska team that gave up 76 points in a game.
Purify, who had a career day on the field, also chose the right words off of it. He didn’t try to separate himself from the defense that has struggled so much this year.
“I’m with the Nebraska team,” he said. “You get what you got. You got to take it. There’s no way to say, ‘All right, I’m not part of this.’ I’m part of it.”
Reach Brian Christopherson at 473-7439 or email@example.com.