Nebraska coach Scott Frost accepted responsibility for a controversial onside kick decision in Saturday's season-opening loss to Northwestern while acknowledging he needs to do more to retain his job.
Frost made the call to attempt an onside kick with Nebraska leading 28-17 midway through the third quarter in a game being played in Dublin. Northwestern easily recovered the kick at the Nebraska 44-yard line and scored five plays later. The Wildcats outscored Nebraska 14-0 in the final 24:37 to win 31-28 at Aviva Stadium.
Nebraska became the first major-conference team in the AP Poll era, which goes back to 1936, to lose seven straight games by single digits, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
"I made that call, so it's on me," Frost said. "At that point in the game, I felt all the momentum was on our side. I thought if we [recovered] it, we could win the game. ... I felt like maybe we were the better team. You can't really foresee them scoring 14 straight and us sputtering after we played well to start the second half on offense.
"Those are excuses. If I had it over, I wouldn't have made the call."
Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said the onside kick recovery swung momentum toward his team. According to ESPN Stats & Information, only two FBS teams leading by 10 or more points in the second half attempted an onside kick last season.
Special teams have contributed to Nebraska's struggles under Frost, who fell to 15-30 at his alma mater and 5-21 in one-score games.
"We've just lost too many close games," Frost said Saturday. "These guys need something to believe in. We need to believe in ourselves in a team. I think they do."
In November, Nebraska announced Frost would return for 2022 but with a restructured contract, which dropped his salary by $1 million and cut his guarantee if fired from $15 million to $7.5 million. Frost also had to overhaul his offensive staff, bringing in new coordinator and play-caller Mark Whipple and others.
Frost is under contract through the 2026 season.
"You've got to win in this business to keep your job, that's the way it is," Frost said." I love Nebraska, I love the state of Nebraska, I love these fans that made the sacrifice to come over here."
A Nebraska native and former national championship-winning Huskers quarterback, Frost returned to his alma mater in 2018 amid great fanfare. He led UCF to a 13-0 record in 2017.
Frost is under increased pressure after Saturday's loss but will not consider stepping down if things don't improve soon. Nebraska hosts North Dakota, an FCS opponent, next week.
"No, absolutely not," Frost said of a potential resignation. "I love Nebraska. I going to fight with the guys, as long as I can fight."