They Said It: Nebraska Players Discuss Huskers' Win Over MSU
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

They Said It: Nebraska Players Discuss Huskers’ Win Over MSU

November 17, 2018

Nebraska players met with the media Saturday afternoon following the Huskers' win over Michigan State, 9-6.

Seniors Stanley Morgan Jr., Antonio Reed, Luke Gifford and Devine Ozigbo all spoke after the game, as well as quarterback Adrian Martinez and kicker Barret Pickering. Here's the full transcript from their question-and-answer session postgame.

Wide reciever Stanley Morgan Jr.

On if he has ever experienced a game with this type of weather:

"I don't think I've ever played in a game with snow like this. It was crazy. It was fun though."

On what the conversation was like in the huddle before the fourth quarter:

"Just finishing it out and being proud of the young guys. These guys stuck it out all senior day for us and sent us out with a bang."

On if it has hit him yet that this was his final game at Memorial Stadium:

"It hit me. We have one more (game) so I have to focus on practicing. Get the win out after tonight and focus on the next week."

On if J.D. Spielman said anything to him before the game:

"He just encouraged me off the field. He watched out for the corners and coaching me up on the field."

On the fourth quarter play that set the team up for the field goal:

"I just saw the coverage, cover 2. I came in, set up a route for my boy Reem (Brian Reimers) to come out. I saw the safety shoot out to him and I just straightened it up and got to my landmark."

On how important that play was to the offense:

"It was very important. You saw the conditions, we weren't able to throw the ball as much as we could so big plays were huge."

On watching the defense close the game for the team:

"I'm extremely proud of the Blackshirts. These guys played good all year, I mean you have Luke (Gifford) and Mo (Mohamed Barry) and (Antonio) Reed, man he played out of his mind today. You gotta give those guys credit."

On if this is the type of weather he hoped for his final game at Memorial Stadium:

"Oh no, but it's a memorable moment. It was pretty cool to go out in the snow in the bad weather and get a win. It was cool."

On if he thought about the record during the game:

"I was thinking about it a little bit with the weather and stuff."

On what it feels like to have more receptions than any other receiver in Nebraska history:

"It's amazing. I have to give props to all the guys that did it before me. Those guys paved the way for me so it's amazing to go out there and get that record and to have Kenny (Bell) tell me to go get it. It was crazy."

On if he's happy he came back for his senior year:

"Absolutely."

On senior day:

"I know it's senior night, going out with that win, it's the young guys. The young guys played for us. That's amazing to see youth in your brothers. That's amazing."

Safety Antonio Reed

On if his performance made it a fun game:

“I think it was more credited to the rest of the defense. Seeing them jump around made me more energized and had me making plays I made today, so I give credit to them.”

On how he and the team has stuck with it this season after a tough start:

“It’s been a lot of ups and downs, but the leadership on our team, I guess they helped me get through it more than anything with the current leadership, from the lack of leadership we had. I think that’s where it’s come from.”

On if the condition of his shoulder has improved:

“Actually, it did. It was something [that] I knew how I felt the day you asked me [earlier this week], and I just wanted you to basically wait and find out and come out to see how I was going to be.”

On how it felt to win in a defensive struggle in his last game with snow falling:

“I’d say, back to what [Devine] Ozigbo said, it was like a movie and honestly it was. It’s nothing I ever played in but it’s something I wish I played in. So just being in the area today and the scenery of Memorial Stadium and feeling the energy from all the fans, it felt amazing.”

On his reaction to freshman kicker Barret Pickering’s career-long field goal that provided the winning points:

“Actually, I didn’t have a reaction on the outside, but on the inside I was jumping for joy. It was something we always practiced, so I figured, Barret, that’s his job so he’s going to do it. We congratulated him on the sideline. We were very excited for him, but it’s something we planned on happening. We just went out there and executed it.”

On if he knew he’d be unblocked for his strip sack:

“Actually, I didn’t. The right tackle actually was looking out at me, and then he looked away for a split second right when the ball snapped. So that’s when I went. I never could’ve envisioned it, but I’m happy with the way it ended.    

Linebacker Luke Gifford

On his experience today:

“I don’t know if we put together a game quite like that yet this year and couldn’t have come on a better day. We knew the offense was going to need us a little bit today. It's tough conditions, a good defense. So yeah we knew what we were going to have to do coming into the game. We played really hard. A couple runs got away from us, I got beat on a wheel route, but we stood up as a defense, got stops when we needed them and that’s what it’s all about.”

On keeping his composure during a chippy game:

“It’s just emotional you know. It is what it is just kind of let it roll off your back and keep going. There’s a lot of game left especially at that time and I don’t know what the calls were I don’t know if it should have went our way or what. I was happy with the way every one responded. That’s how it’s going to be in a Big Ten physical game. You get going like that, crowd’s crazy, it’s emotional, and it’s kind of what you expect.”

On Antonio Reed’s sack:

“It was huge. Just you know telling them this is our opportunity. We got them the ball and Antonio made a great play. Man, Antonio balled out today. He played really well I’m really proud of him, it was fun to watch those guys today, they played well in the secondary.”

On if he feels comfortable leaving the team where it is at now:

“I’m really glad we won today. It’s really easy to say things are moving in the right direction but without the actions and the results, it’s kind of hard to believe. So getting a win today and doing it like that. Coming out, playing hard on both sides of the ball in an old-fashioned game in front of our fans. The whole set up, I think it kind of shows where this program is going and I’m super excited for these guys. They’re going to win a lot of games, we got a big one next week that we are excited for so we still have another one left, but there are going to be a lot of won games in the future here.”

On if he soaked in his last game coming off the field:

“Yeah, I tried to soak it in even these last couple of weeks I’ve been thinking about it and I knew today that I wanted to take it in and even watch the tribute they had going on coming off the field. The whole scene, it’s snowing, everyone is still in the stadium going crazy and I’ve dreamt of that since I was a little kid. So I wanted to take in everything that I could, put it in my mind and just remember it. I don’t have any regrets here. I’m excited for the way that we’re leaving this program and it’s been a heck of a ride but we have one more.”

On what Coach Chinander said to the defense:

“He just told us great job. I think that’s what we’ve been searching for as a defense all year. A complete game. Obviously, there were a couple of plays here and there that the got us but at the end of the day, we got the stops when we needed them and that’s what it’ all about so yeah it was huge. I’m really happy for Coach Chinander, they’ve (coaches) been working their butts off and so have we and to finally put it together now is pretty cool.”

Running back Devine Ozigbo

On running against Michigan State's No. 1-ranked rushing defense:

"The holes were closing fast today, faster than the average team. Those guys had very good pursuit on every level. It was very tough, when you see a crease you have to hit it as fast as you can because they are going to come fill it."

On beating Michigan State at ‘its own game’:

"I'd say it shows a lot. This team has gone through a lot and that's one thing that's toughened us up. The leadership we have has definitely toughened us up. It definitely helped us through everything. This style of game is not something we've had to play. We knew that if we had to play this way that we'd be able to get it done."

On what the team said in the huddle with 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter:

"The wind was a big thing, now we can open up and get back to our game a little bit. Throwing the ball, using the wind to our advantage. It's kind of tough to throw it into the wind, you have to have some guts. That definitely helped us and it opened up our offense."

On if he sensed a shift in momentum during the fourth quarter:

"I think after Barret hit his second field goal and tied it up, I think the attitude was a little more eager. We were like 'alright, we get the ball, we get up, we got this game in the bag.' Our defense was playing well, let's get out there and get some points. Honestly, the (defense) got what they deserved, they played well today."

On the Husker defense:

"It was kind of fun to see the defense play the way they've been capable of all year. These guys have been making plays, practicing hard, making plays all year. For the most part they've done a good job, but this is the first time I've seen them play a complete game from start to finish and shut everything down. They played lights out."

On the play of senior safety Antonio Reed:

"Antonio is a spirited being, he likes to talk a lot in practice. These guys came at us early, so we just adapted and Antonio thrived in that situation."

On if he saw early on it was going to be a tough game:

"I kind of had the idea, but that's what set it off for me. I definitely expect that coming in, but I quickly found out that's how it was going to be."

On walking off the Memorial Stadium field for the final time:

"That was nice, I was talking to Wyatt [Mazour], it was like a scene out of a movie. I got my last look after the game as a player. I had to take it all in, I saw my brother, hugged him and sprinted into the locker room. It was special. It's hard to explain."

Kicker Barret Pickering

On if he knew he’d score every point for Nebraska:

“I had no idea, but today was a good day. I’d like to mention the Sadlers and the Foltzes. Today was about them, this was a game for them, and definitely I’d like to [dedicate] my performance to Mike and Sam out there. It means a lot that I go out there and represent them well.”

On what has changed since the Northwestern game:

“Definitely just trusting what I do and having fun out there and just believing in myself.”

On his game-winning field goal:

“We just went out there like we do for any other kick. We just cleared off the ground to make sure we’d get a good ball off. We just played a little bit of wind and hoped it would go in.”

On the influence of the wind on his last kick:

“For that one it was kind of on a diagonal, so it was left to right. We ended at the left post and let it carry back into the middle.”

On if he knew it would be good:

“Once I saw it moving back right, I knew it was going in on that one.”

On what Coach Frost said to him before his last kick:

“Honestly, not a whole lot. Just have faith in myself and go out there and do my thing.”

On if he has kicked in snow before:

“I have not. This is my first time playing in the snow.”

On his thoughts of playing in snow:

“It was a little cold out there, I’m not going to lie.”

On how tough the conditions were:

“It was definitely a pretty strong wind out there and it’s not the easiest thing when the ground is frozen, so stuff like that.”

Quarterback Adrian Martinez

On what the team did to continue drives in tough conditions:

“Just perseverance. Not quitting, not getting frustrated. Especially talking about myself. There were conditions but can’t make excuses, just have to trying to execute the things that we do well and find a way to win.”

On if he wore gloves during the game:

“I’m not a glove guy. I mean just a keep my hands warm type of guy.”

On how he stayed warm throughout the game:

“It’s really a testament to our equipment guys. We have heaters on the sideline, big coats, and any time we were on the sideline, even kind of, there was one of those guys running over, putting a coat on me. I had a hand warmer, it’s gone now I don’t know how but it’s gone. It’s a big thanks to those guys. I didn’t have a moment in the game where I really felt my hands were cold.”

On if the wind was a big help on offense:

“I think going with the wind was definitely a big advantage, but I think our mindset was the same. Just attack, we know what we’re capable of and just be confident and try and score points one way or the other. Find a way to win.”

On the last snap of the game that he had to jump for:

“There’s a guy behind me so. It would have been okay either way I think but obviously it was snowing, it was tough conditions there and just had to make a catch and go down quick. Luckily it worked out.”

On what it says about the offense to change from a pass heavy game plan to a run heavy:

“I think it says a lot about our team in general. The defense coach Chins (Chinander) did a great job of putting us in some really good situations. Special teams played great and our offense. We did what we needed to, to win. I’m really proud of those guys for pushing through and we played for each other today. We found a way.”

On Barret Pickering:

“Barret’s my roommate so I know him pretty well. Happy for the guy, so happy for him. Really came through for us, kick off, did a good job, and obviously the field goals, gave us all our points. I’m really happy for him and credit to Isaac Armstrong and the whole special teams unit there.”

On what he said to him after the field goals:

“I don’t even know if he heard me, I think he got carried into the locker room so.. Just happy for him. I’ll talk to him more tonight obviously, but really great team win. Just really happy for the seniors and a lot of guys that we pulled this off.”

On Devine Ozigbo’s performance:

“Michigan State has a very solid run defense and defense overall. There’s some tough hitters and Devine didn’t back down. He ran hard especially when we needed him too and at the end there. You know, our guys knew we needed one first down. I think we wanted it more at the end of the game and Devine just put his head down and ran as hard as he could for us.”

On when he sensed that they wanted it more than Michigan State:

“From the beginning we wanted this game. It meant a lot to us to send our seniors out right and it wasn’t easy it was tough and we played for each other. At the end there the defense came up with a big stop, offense got a first down to put the game away and you could tell we were fighting, we wanted that game. Really happy we pulled it out.”

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