Idaho State vs. Nebraska, 9.22.12

Nebraska running back Rex Burkhead (22) sees a chance for the Huskers to put a different spin on the season with a win against Georgia in the Capital One Bowl.

As a team leader, Nebraska standout running back Rex Burkhead must do all he can to push his teammates past last Saturday night's discouraging loss to Wisconsin.

He has an idea how to go about it.

"We have to stay focused, bounce back, and kind of not let it ruin the opportunity we have in the future, against Georgia," Burkhead said Thursday of the Capital One Bowl matchup Jan. 1 in Orlando, Fla.

"It's a great challenge and something we're definitely looking forward to. So, really, it's about bouncing back and really bringing energy, and kind of taking all the negative energy from the game against Wisconsin and putting it behind us. And most importantly, it's about having fun, just making sure guys see light at the end of the tunnel."

That might be easier said than done in the wake of a 70-31 loss to Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game that seemingly has made many folks forget what 23rd-ranked Nebraska (10-3) accomplished during the regular season, including a 7-1 Big Ten record.

Is it frustrating that one loss now dominates discussion of the season?

"We know what we've done," Burkhead said. "Obviously, our goal was to win a Big Ten championship, and we didn't get that done. But it doesn't overshadow the fact we did put up some impressive wins, some great comeback wins. I feel like we've had a good year."

Nebraska four times overcame double-digit deficits.

"Some of the wins we've had, they really showed the character of this team and what we're capable of. At the same time, we're looking forward to the bowl game and hopefully putting a different ending on the season."

Georgia, 11-2 (7-2 SEC) and ranked No. 6, comes off a 32-28 loss to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game. The Bulldogs are 27th nationally in both total offense and total defense.

Burkhead relishes the chance to once again face an SEC team, as Nebraska did in last season's Capital One Bowl, where the Huskers fell 30-13 to South Carolina.

Nebraska senior linebacker Sean Fisher also looks forward to the opportunity.

"Collectively, I think we're pretty excited," he said. "Georgia's a team that very easily could've ended up playing for the national championship.

"Obviously, the Big Ten game didn't go the way we anticipated or really envisioned. The bowl kind of gives us a chance to put a stamp on the end of the season and finish things off in a positive way."

Fisher acknowledged it's easy to feel a bit shaken confidence-wise by the Wisconsin loss.

"But we have a pretty resilient group of guys," he said, pointing to the six-game winning streak that immediately followed a 63-38 loss at Ohio State. "I think with the group of guys we have, and the mind-set of those guys, it's really not one to lay down and accept things the way they are.

"I think you'll see people really push themselves this month through bowl prep."

Reach Steven M. Sipple at 402-473-7440 or ssipple@journalstar.com.


Husker columnist

Steven, a lifelong Nebraskan, newspaper enthusiast and UNL grad, joined the Journal Star in 1990 and has covered NU football since 1995.

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