LINCOLN, Neb. -- Nebraska coach Bo Pelini defended his program on Monday amid questions about its ability to compete for a championship after another lopsided loss at Wisconsin.
"What we came here to do was win a conference championship and a national championship," Pelini said at his weekly news conference, "and we're going to fight tooth and nail to keep trying to get that done.
"We've won a lot of football games since I've been here, a lot of football games. A lot of programs across the country would die to have won the amount of football games we've won."Bo Pelini
"But I'm not going to sit here and apologize. The time I'll start apologizing is when I stop working. I believe that the program is on a good track, the right track."
The 16th-ranked Huskers lost 59-24 at No. 20 Wisconsin on Saturday, surrendering 56 consecutive points as Melvin Gordon broke the FBS rushing record with 408 yards. It marked the 10th game since Pelini took over at Nebraska in 2008 that the Huskers have lost by 20 points or more.
Nebraska has not won a conference title since 1999. The school also has won no fewer than nine games in Pelini's six seasons and needs one victory to reach the plateau this year with the home finale on tap Saturday against Minnesota. Nebraska closes at Iowa on Nov. 28.
"Every game to me is high stakes," Pelini said. "We've won a lot of football games since I've been here, a lot of football games. A lot of programs across the country would die to have won the amount of football games we've won."
The 46-year-old coach said the defeat in Madison, with the Big Ten West lead at stake, was "embarrassing" but that Nebraska is not alone in struggling on the big stage.
"It's not like it only happens to us," Pelini said. "Look across the country. It happens."
The Badgers rushed for 581 yards, the most all time against Nebraska, a mark previously set by Wisconsin in a 70-31 win in the 2012 Big Ten title game.
"You sit there and think about why it happens," Pelini said, "and it felt like déjà vu, some of the things I watched out there.
"At some point, you've got to make a play. Somewhere along the lines ... we took turns, to some extent blowing assignments. We put ourselves in bad situation after bad situation, and it snowballed on us."
Pelini said he was unlikely to make major changes as a result of the defeat. He saw issues with consistency in practice, he said, and other games that hinted at the problems on display against Wisconsin.
"I've seen the scout team make some runs like that," he said. "So is it a total surprise? No. But the amount of them and some of the mistakes that we made? Yes, that was obviously very disappointing. But if you're not focused, it doesn't matter who you're playing or where you're playing, you're going to look bad."