LINCOLN — The fallout Sunday from Nebraska’s 9-6 loss to Texas A&M turned even more dramatic than the nail-biting game.
Coach Bo Pelini refuted a rumor gone viral that injured quarterback Taylor Martinez had quit the football team. Meanwhile, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor Harvey Perlman expressed displeasure over Pelini’s sideline temperament in College Station, Texas.
Word began to spread Sunday evening of a Martinez-Nebraska split. By 9 p.m., the quarterback’s name ranked as the No. 1 trending search topic nationally on Google.com.
Pelini, reached by phone, said Martinez remained a part of the team. Asked if any issues might jeopardize Martinez’s status for the Huskers’ regular-season finale, Friday at Memorial Stadium against Colorado, Pelini only reiterated his initial comment.
“He’s still on the team,” Pelini said.
Martinez’s father, Casey Martinez, declined to comment Sunday.
Pelini also again declined to offer an explanation for a sideline incident between the coach and QB.
After Martinez reinjured his right ankle early in the game, he returned from a treatment and X-ray session in the locker room to receive a verbal lashing from Pelini late in the first half. Pelini shouted at Martinez for several seconds and poked the player with a finger above his chest.
Martinez wasn’t the only one who got an earful from Pelini at Kyle Field. The third-year Nebraska coach repeatedly chastised the officiating crew as the Huskers were penalized a school-record 16 times for 145 yards.
Texas A&M was flagged twice for 10 yards.
Television cameras often captured Pelini’s verbal assaults, which disappointed Perlman and reflected poorly on the school and the football program, the chancellor told the Associated Press. “I think it was very unfortunate,” Perlman said, “and I think it’s something we’ll have to address with Bo.”
Perlman said he felt uneasy about the numerous camera shots of Pelini’s outbursts. The chancellor said that he spoke Sunday morning with Athletic Director Tom Osborne about Pelini’s conduct and that Perlman, Osborne or both would talk to Pelini about his decorum.
Perlman wouldn’t speculate on whether disciplinary action would be taken.
“Bo has a lot of passion for his football team,” Perlman said, “and there is a strong upside to that. But again, overall, the conduct was unfortunate last night.”
Pelini, himself flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct in the fourth quarter, declined to comment about the matter Sunday to the AP.
Perlman also commented on Pelini’s encounter with Martinez, who returned to play on his reinjured right ankle in the second half but struggled to run and throw.
“There is a part of the culture of intercollegiate athletics that involves coaches talking strongly to players,” Perlman said. “That’s unfortunate it had to happen on national television. I think that probably occurs in a lot of programs.”
The defeat dropped Nebraska’s record to 9-2 and knocked the Huskers down seven spots to No. 16 in the AP Top 25. NU can still win the Big 12 North with a victory Friday over Colorado in the last regular-season Big 12 game for both programs.
Contact the writer:
* * *
• Video: NU-Texas A&M postgame analysis:
• Video: NU coach Bo Pelini at the postgame press conference:
• Video: Highlights from the NU-Texas A&M game: