Pelini Leaves Game, Huskers Roll in Win

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Nebraska football head coach Bo Pelini left Saturday's game early with what is believed to be flu-like symptoms. He was taken to a local hospital while his team rolled to a 42-13 victory over Arkansas State.

"Far as I know, the news on Bo is good. Precautionary tests. The word from the hospital is that he's fine," Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne said following the game.

Pelini was looked at by Nebraska's medical staff both during the game and at halftime. Though he left for precautionary reasons, his medical condition made for an emotional setting on Nebraska's sideline.

"Bo is as close to me as anybody. My initial reaction was as a friend and not a colleague. I had to compose myself," Nebraska defensive coordinator John Papuchis said.

"He said he didn't feel good. We didn't know what he meant. When they said he wasn't coming back in the second half, we were like, 'Let's do what we have to do.', Ross Els commented.

Senior linebacker Will Compton said, "We were in shock at first, we had no idea he was having issues. We all knew what we had to do. We did it for each other. We did it for him."

Pelini was actively coaching during the first half, but midway through the second quarter is when his assistants noticed a change.

"He seemed a little quiet. I've seen him like that before also - contemplative sometimes. I didn't think there was any health issue," running backs coach Ron Brown said.

In Pelini's absence, first year defensive coordinator John Papuchis took over as Nebraska's acting head coach. Papuchis said he willingly took over the position. He was very animated on the sideline - coach with energy and passion - much like Bo Pelini.

"Bo is, in so many ways, the emotional leader of this football team. The players feed off of his energy. I do believe players reflect the leadership of their coaches. That was the time to show that," Papuchis commented.

Players and coaches expect Pelini to be back with the team in no time. Offensive coordinator Tim Beck joked, he thinks Bo might be up watching film late Saturday night.