Some notes and quotes from the defensive side of the ball following the Hukers 37-34 win over Wyoming:
–A disappointed mood overtook most of Nebraska’s post game interviews, with most players making short appearances with the media. Defensive coordinator John Papuchis said the Husker locker room after the game was devoid of celebration. Papuchis said he felt the defense let up after Nebraska built its late lead.
“The biggest thing I was emphasizing to them on the sideline was to forget about what’s happened to this point, it’s time for you to go out and go play,” he said. “You can feel sorry for yourself tomorrow. We can correct the things that already happened tomorrow. Now it’s time to play, and make sure this doesn’t turn in a nightmare. That to me was a really bad dream. It was really close to being a nightmare.”
Wyoming totaled 219 rushing yards against Nebraska, averaging 7.3 yards per carry. The Huskers’ one sack of the game by newcomer Randy Gregory was nullified after the defensive end was called for unnecessary roughness.
“Other than the Josh Mitchell pressure, we didn’t have any sack from our front four,” Papuchis said. “We need to get better pressure from the front four.”
–Stanley Jean Baptiste played one of his better games as a Husker with four tackles, a pass breakup and an interception he returned for 42 yards.
“That was a big time interception he had coming all the way across the field,” defensive backs coach Terry Joseph said. “We’ve got some things that we’ve got to clean up on the back end. We were on our heels a lot in the second half; didn’t really take the adjustments as quickly as we’d like as coaches.”
Joseph said Wyoming quarterback Brett Smith’s deceptive mobility wasn’t surprising after seeing Smith on film.
“We knew coming into the game, when the guy got outside the pocket, it was gonna be trouble for us,” he said. “He did a good job of finding some extra time. Late in the down, we were not discipline enough to make the play.”
With Nebraska’s route-matching style of secondary play, Joseph said Wyoming’s improvisations hurt the Huskers.
“We want to match a lot of routes, but it was so late in the down we just got undisciplined and lost guys late in coverage,” he said. “At the end of the down, especially when he gets outside of the pocket, it turns to man [coverage] and he’s your guy for the down, and I think those guys did a good job of losing us late in the down.”
–Freshmen Vincent Valentine, Maliek Collins and Kevin Maurice made their first appearances Saturday at the defensive tackle spot. Avery Moss and Greg McMullen, also freshmen, both saw time at defensive end.
Valentine and Moss got their first career starts against the Cowboys. Valentine led the defensive line with 4 total tackles and Moss topped the team with two quarterback hurries. He added three tackles. McMullen finished with two tackles and Maurice added one of his own.
Valentine said Wyoming double teamed him for most of the night.
“They were kind of running away from where I was at,” the 325-pound defensive tackle said. “I kind of felt like that was effective. That’s really it. I feel like if we would have prepared a little bit better ourselves then we could have stopped them a little bit better than we did.”
In total, Wyoming gained 602 yards on the Nebraska defense.
“That’s crazy,” Valentine said.