Mitch ShermanESPN Staff Writer
LINCOLN, Neb. — One week after first-year coach Scott Frost said Nebraska hit rock bottom with a blowout loss at Michigan, the Cornhuskers returned home Saturday and fell 42-28 to Purdue to establish a school record for futility.
Going back to last season, it marked the eighth consecutive loss for the five-time national champion program, surpassing the seven straight defeats endured in 1918-19 and 1957.
The Huskers have not won a game since Oct. 28, 2017, at Purdue, and last won at Memorial Stadium 53 weeks ago, over Rutgers. This season’s 0-4 start is the worst for Nebraska since 1945, when it opened with five straight losses.
Frost, the former Nebraska quarterback who directed UCF to a 13-0 finish last season, criticized his team’s discipline in defeat.
“We look like one of the most undisciplined teams in the country,” Frost said. “And it kills me.”
The third-most-penalized team nationally through three games, Nebraska exceeded its per-game average against Purdue with 11 penalties for 136 yards — often killing its possessions with flags or extending scoring drives for the Boilermakers.
Nebraska recorded 31 first downs and 582 total yards to Purdue’s 27 and 516.
“I’m tired of coaching an undisciplined team,” Frost said. “I don’t want to be the only one who won’t put up with it. The team has to not put up with it.”
The coach drew attention after Michigan pounded the Huskers 56-10 last week in Ann Arbor for his reference to Purdue, saying “we get a game that we can win next week.”
Purdue coach Jeff Brohm said the Boilermakers (2-3, 1-1 Big Ten) took note of Frost’s remark. They answered an opening-drive Nebraska touchdown with 27 consecutive points and capitalized on the only turnover of the game — a fourth-quarter interception of Adrian Martinez by Simeon Smiley — to stymie Nebraska’s momentum.
“This is the second time we’ve lost with almost 600 yards of offense,” said Frost, whose team is 0-2 in Big Ten play. “That’s not supposed to happen. But it happens when you make all those mistakes. It happens when you beat yourselves. We’re not going to win as long as those things are happening.”
Frost said he learned after it occurred that a group of Nebraska reserves danced on the sideline to music that played over the stadium speakers before multiple kickoffs as the Huskers trailed by a double-digit margin.
“They look like they love losing,” he said.
Nebraska players said they’d had enough of the mental mistakes.
“Now,” said senior offensive guard and co-captain Jerald Foster, who was asked when accountability takes over for the Huskers. “Right now. We are four games in, and we’ve lost four games. We can’t go any farther. We’re going to do what we need to do. If we need to take people out, that’s what it’s going to be.
“We’re going to figure it out here in these next couple practices, whatever we’ve got to do. That’s the end of that.”
Martinez said he believes this team will reverse its poor play. The true freshman threw for 323 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 91 yards against Purdue.
Nebraska visits No. 15 Wisconsin next week.
“We don’t accept losing,” Martinez said. “Coach Frost doesn’t accept losing. I don’t. The players don’t. It’s tough. It’s something I’m not used to, he’s not used to, and we’re not going to put up with it.
“We’ve got to respond. We’ve got to play. I feel like we let [Frost] down a little bit.”