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Those who were wondering how the dismissal of four Husker offensive coaches two weeks ago and the absence of Husker  linebacker JoJo Domann would affect Nebraska's performance Saturday didn't need to worry.

If ever there were a time when the Huskers could have been unmotivated to play a football game, it was Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin.


Going into that game, Wisconsin was the nation's top-ranked defense. In its prior six games, Wisconsin had allowed only 7.33 points a game.

The Badgers were steamrolling and had lots to play for.

By beating Nebraska, Wisconsin was able to keep its chances alive to win the Big Ten West Division, play for the conference championship and go to a very good bowl game.

How about Nebraska? What did Nebraska have to play for?

At 3-7, Nebraska wasn't playing for a conference title, a divisional title, a winning season or even a bowl game. So how did the Huskers get motivated to play this game?

The coaches have to be given a lot of credit - even the interim assistants - for getting Nebraska ready to play. Let's not rule out what impact the Husker captains and leaders may have had. Nebraska played with pride - tons of it.

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Nebraska took another ranked team to the wire and was in a position to win the game late in the fourth quarter. Nebraska's offense did its best in racking up 28 points, 452 yards of total offense, 351 passing yards and holding a possession advantage of 33:17 minutes over Whisky's 26:43.

So how did Nebraska lose the dang game?

Nebraska gave up a 91yard kickoff return on the game's first play, and that put the Huskers in an immediate hole at 0-7.

But the Huskers never quit. With the kick return, it was Whisky 7-0, then it was 7-7, 14-7, 14-14, 21-14, 21-21, 28-21, 28-28 and finally 35-28 Badgers.

Wisconsin's last score - a 53-yard TD run by freshman running back, Braelon Allen - sealed the win for the Badgers. But something happened on the way to the end zone. Out of nowhere came Husker cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt to hit Allen as he raced into the end zone. Even though Cam had little chance of affecting the play, he didn't give up on it. Great effort.

But not good enough for the team.

No, Nebraska didn't play a perfect game - not by a long shot. But the Huskers never quit. They were in it to win it. And for a while, it looked as if Scott Frost's beleaguered team would finally get a much-needed signature win.

But the old demons that have continued to derail the Huskers in each of their eight single-digit losses this year happened once again. Win just half of those close games and the Huskers are bowl bound and the four Husker assistants who were fired by Scott Frost two weeks ago might still have their jobs.

The Huskers have one more chance to salvage the '21 season. If they can beat Iowa the day after Thanksgiving, it may provide a spark going into the '22 season.

But either way, this class of Huskers will be remembered for their guts and determination.