Huskers hope to step it up
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) _ Nebraska goes into the season looking to challenge for the Big Ten conference championship it was predicted to win last year.
The Cornhuskers haven't won a conference title in 12 years, the program's longest drought since going 22 years without one from 1941-62.
Last year marked the fourth straight year the Huskers have won at least nine games. Offensive lineman Jeremiah Sirles says an eight- or nine-win season is good, but the Huskers aspire to be great.
The Huskers have a three-year starter in quarterback Taylor Martinez, a durable and tough running back in Rex Burkhead and a dynamic receiver in Kenny Bell.
The defense is confident it can stop its slide in the national rankings the past two years despite having a lineman, linebacker and cornerback taken in the NFL draft. The opener is Sept. 1 at home against Southern Miss.