They Said It: Nebraska Players Discuss Huskers' 42-38 Win Over Illinois
Photo Credit: Eric Francis

They Said It: Nebraska Players Discuss Huskers’ 42-38 Win Over Illinois

September 22, 2019

Nebraska players met with the media Saturday night following the Huskers’ 42-38 win over Illinois. Nebraska racked up 690 total yards in the game despite turning the ball over four times. It was the first road win for the Huskers under Coach Scott Frost and the 900th win in program history. 

Here’s the transcript from their question-and-answer session postgame.

Sophomore quarterback Adrian Martinez

On when the momentum changed in second half:

“Well, I think at halftime we knew we needed to come out steely-eyed and confident. Just not shoot ourselves in the foot. I don’t think our mindset necessarily changed. We just had to pay more attention to detail and go out there and execute. Do our job. We did that. After the first possession, three-and-out, we scored and the ball got rolling with that.”

On the ways the team grew:

“In many ways. Adversity struck. It was a road game. It was tough. We spotted them 14 points. We turned over the ball early. It would have been easy to give up. I think I played real poorly in the first half. We turned it around. Our guys didn’t lose confidence. Again, we stayed steely-eyed and started doing our jobs. It was a big team win for us.”

On how Wan’Dale Robinson responded:

“I think he played great. As a receiver or a running back he answered the call. He knew his assignments. He not only did his job but did it at a high level. He took care of the football. Those are big things for us. He was ready to go.”

On tempo bothering Illinois’ defense:

“For sure. I think once we got later in the second half, we could see it in their eyes. We knew we reached that point as long as we kept executing and doing our job we could move the ball on them. Playing simple. We kept doing it and kept running the ball. We were finding ways to move the ball and get first downs. Towards the end it started to wear on them.”

On what he saw during turnover situations:

“Again, I didn’t play as well as I could have tonight in general. Whatever led to those turnovers I will take responsibility for that as well. It’s tough on our defense. When we give them a short field and don’t have the ball long it puts our defense in a tough spot. I’m thankful they stuck around and hunkered down in the second half to make some stops.”

On what he learned about the team tonight:

“We answered the call tonight I think. Our guys stayed confident. We didn’t let it get to us that we were down a couple touchdowns. No one lost faith in our team. We were confident and executed. We had that faith in our ability to go out there and win the game.”

On getting a road win:

“There was never a doubt in my mind or a lot of the guys minds but it’s definitely nice to have that road win. It’s another building block. It keeps on building this program and team. I think we have gotten better in some way each week. This is another step for us.”

On Wan’Dale Robinson getting running back carries during week:

“He gets reps. I think we have a pretty big running back room. We are pretty versatile there with Wyatt [Mazour], Dedrick [Mills], Maurice [Washington] and Wan’Dale [Robinson]. He’s [Robinson] a smart guy. He knows what he’s doing. He might not need all the reps in practice sometimes to go in there and get it done.”

On getting ready for Ohio State:

“We’ll focus on that when the time comes. Coach Verdu [Verduzco] always has a 24-hour rule and that still applies when we win. WE are going to enjoy this one then we will go prepare our usual way. We realize we can’t turn over the ball like we did tonight if we are going to play a good game against Ohio State.”


Senior cornerback Lamar Jackson

On keeping composure as a defense:

“One of the things we’ve been preaching all year is put out the fire. At the end of the day turnovers and sudden change happen. We don’t want that to happen but it’s a part of football. For the most part we have to go out there and play it play by play. I’m happy that the team can go out there and put the fire out.”

On having to go out there to finish the game:

“The same kind of mindsets. If we want to be one of the best defenses in the country or a great defense we have to live for moments like that. I want our offense to always feel like if the defense has to go out and finish the game, we are going to get it done. For this one I’m just happy we were able to do something.”

On the impact of turnovers:

“It’s big. It’s football. It’s a big thing about morale and momentum. So, whenever momentum is on one or the other sideline the opponent feels that. They had the home-field advantage so the fact that we were able to make plays and get our sidelines engaged and spirt up. We just feed off that. We want to make the most plays possible to continue feeding off that especially in a hostile road environment. I’m happy the defense was able to go out there and make up for all the mistakes and play it play by play and get big stops.”

On not getting too down after they started hot:

“It’s a game of four quarters. We’ve been preaching sixty minutes. Finish, finish, finish. So we knew that 14-0, it’s still early. We still had a whole half. It’s nothing to stress about. We aren’t going to really moan about anything until the end of the game. We just knew if we had a chance to make it right we would. Then Cam got a pick and of course that feeling is addictive. Once you make a play you want to make the next one. You are looking for the next one. It feeds for the whole group. Cam made one so I’m looking like its my turn. That’s kind of how we operate and we want to take this thing up.”


Freshman wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson

On getting into a rhythm:

“It felt really good. I just knew I had to maximize the opportunities that I had. I felt like I did that today.”

On feeling like he had to take on a bigger role:

“Yeah, definitely. The coaches put that one me as well. They knew I had to step. I said I was up for it. I came into the week ready. I came in the week ready to play running back or receiver. Whatever they needed me to do, I was going to do.”

On how many reps a week he takes at running back:

“Probably not as many as people would think. A lot of the stuff is really more the receiver making sure I can read the coverages. Knowing things like that going into every team we play against. Watching the film is really how I get better at running back to see what type of fronts they are in. I can see what type of lanes I’ll have on certain plays.”

On Illinois aggression going after the ball:

“They were really trying to get the ball out. Coach Frost was harping on taking care of the ball. Anytime I got in traffic I was making sure I was holding onto it real tight.”

On getting that first college touchdown:

“You just get that feeling. It’s hard to describe. Obviously, I felt that feeling a lot on Friday nights in high school. It felt great to get that at the college level.“ 

On the offense in the second half:

“I felt like we got in a really good rhythm. Coming out of halftime we knew we’d have to put points on the board. We all took it upon ourselves to do our jobs. If everybody does their job we are going to come out successful. Obviously, we did.”

On being anxious for a big opportunity to contribute:

“I’ve been anxious ever since I stepped foot on campus. I’ve been waiting for that moment since I decided to come here and play football at Nebraska.”

On having that type of role in Frost’s first road win:

“It means a lot. I came here to play a big role and help us win football games. So obviously, I think we did that today.”

On how his body feels after the hits:

“I mean, my body hurts a little bit. But I just have to come back and recover. I’m good. I’m happy we got the win so my body doesn’t hurt that bad.”

On what he saw from Adrian Martinez in second half:

“He has that killer instinct in him. He’s the leader. Whenever we need someone to look to, it’s him. Anytime we got out on the field we know he will make the right reads. He’s going to do whatever he has to do to make sure we are in the best position to win.”

On excitement level for next week:

“I’m really excited. We play the what No. 6 team in the country? We have to come out ready to work in practice and work on Saturday.”

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