EVANSTON, Ill. — Nebraska players spoke with the media Saturday afternoon following the Huskers' loss to Northwestern, 34-31.
Quarterback Adrian Martinez, linebackers Luke Gifford and Mohamed Barry and running back Devine Ozigbo all fielded questions from the media.
Here's the full transcript from his question-and-answer sessions postgame.
Freshman Quarterback Adrian Martinez
On the fourth down play in overtime:
"Just make a play. Knowing it was fourth down, try not to panic and just try and make something happen. I threw it up there as a last shot, probably could have put more on it, but just trying to make something out of the play."
On if it was supposed to be a running play:
On what Scott Frost said postgame:
"He was proud of us, the way we fought. I believe it was a game we should have won, just need to finish. Little details coming back at us a little bit there. There wasn’t a lot to say. We’ll look at the film, review, bounce back and there’s really no other way to go."
On if the offense was more expanded:
"I don’t think it was necessarily that, it was more what we were game-planning each week. This offense can be so broad in so many different directions so Coach Frost has the capability to do whatever he may want within our offense. That’s just what we had going this week. I felt comfortable, the coaching staff trusts me and I trust the plays they call."
On how much he's grown up as a freshman:
"It’s tough. I don’t necessarily think of it as me being a freshman. I have to assume a leadership role, I have to keep these guys going. We can’t get down, we can’t give up, we can’t stop believing in each other. There’s no other direction but up, we need to keep going. I try and learn from each experience but I’d rather learn through winning."
On the interception:
"I definitely thought I was going to be able to take a shot there. I didn’t anticipate the backside safety coming back into the play and that’s obviously my mistake. I thought we had a good shot there. I thought Jaron, with his speed, was going to be able to take the top off the defense. Just put the blame on my shoulders on that one."
Senior linebacker Luke Gifford
On processing the loss:
"Frustrating, man. We played a good game for about three-and-a-half quarters and we did a lot of good things and for once we had the offense and the defense clicking and to throw it away like that, it hurts. It hurts a lot. Especially when we’re not a bad team. We can do a lot of good things and to lose a game like that, it just sucks."
On Northwestern's Nagel:
"He’s really good, especially when they throw it that many times, he’s bound to shake loose a couple here and there."
On feeling cursed:
"It is frustrating, that’s for sure. At this point, the rah rah stuff, it’s got to go. I think we’ve passed that point. Like Coach Frost said, we have made a turning point and I think we’re on the way up but those are the types of games we have to finish. We’re close. We’re really close but that can’t happen for us to take those next steps."
On if he's still processing what happened:
"Yeah, to be honest. It’ all just a blur. I don’t know, really. Frustrating to watch things continue to break right at the end. It’s extremely frustrating especially when it happens every week. There’s something there. Obviously something is causing that, whether it’s mental or something we’re doing in practice or if we’re letting off here and there. You don’t see that, it’s not glaring, so that’s what makes it suck so much.
We had a really good week of practice. Obviously, because we played really well for three-and-a-half quarters and so we’ve just got to figure out what that thing is."
On doing different things to get pass rush:
"There was quite a bit. Coach Chins talked about it all week, we were going to have to be able to get after them because they were going to throw it a lot, so we did dial up a lot of different things and I think some things were pretty successful and there were some other things we could have done a little bit better."
"Yeah, it was at big times in the game. I thought, for the most part, it seemed like we were pretty clean there for a while and then the big ones. It’s a step to have the penalty-free stretch that we did but we’ve got to eliminate those big ones, they’re killers."
Senior running back Devine Ozigbo
On the chance to put the game away:
"We thought we had a chance but didn't get the first so it kind of really stopped us. When I looked up the clock and saw 2:11, I thought we didn't take much time off the clock because they kept calling timeouts after every play. We definitely thought we had a shot right there but it didn't work out."
On the team's mindset heading into overtime:
"We were still confident. We knew we were moving the ball all day so all we had to do was continue doing what we were doing and so we went into overtime with a good attitude and thinking we were going to win this."
On the fumble on fourth and inches:
"There was enough space to get whatever was needed so I just . . . Whatever play, we would have hit it. It was definitely there. I think it was definitely there if we would have got it but unfortunately, just crazy, uncontrollable circumstance."
On what experiences the team could lean on:
"Depends on people's personal histories, but I've had games like that where we won and where we lost it. It's just different every time depending on who you're playing and how the game has been going to that point. Honestly, we were just confident. Regardless of what happened in the past, I really though we were going to go get it done."
On how hard it is to square the feeling of getting better with the losses:
"I was just thinking about it and we've progressed so much over the weeks, but we're just missing that one thing. We've marked off every box. We just haven't gotten a win. It's a crazy thing. It's hard to understand and know what you need to go and work on because you feel like you're doing . . . Obviously it's little things but every team has little things. As a whole what's stopping us? It's hard for us to identify. We're just going to go through this week of practice doing whatever we can to not have those things hinder us anymore."
On the close games with Northwestern:
"Honestly, I thought . . . This game just kept going. Everyone had a good feeling, they scored, but even in overtime spirits were high. It just didn't work out. It's crazy, especially with the season we've had. It makes it that much more … Come on. It's kind of hard to describe. People in the locker room are just kind of like speechless. Didn't even know what to do.
Junior linebacker Mohamed Barry
On where his mind is at:
“Just to get better. Help my game first and foremost after getting a look at the film. I’ll critique the film to see where I made mistakes then see about my teammates and see if its effort plays. Just being a better leader and football player.”
On having Northwestern where they wanted them:
“We had them right there. We lost the game at the end. It’s crazy. Right now, I just got to evaluate the film but right now it’s just high emotions.”
On what the team is thinking:
“Everyone contributed to the lost. You have to look at what everyone did and yourself first and foremost. It’s crazy that we didn’t win that game.”
On that final drive:
“I wasn’t in there. I have to see the film on that.”
On what he was thinking:
“We had them on the one-yard line. We had to game sealed. I thought it was the end. I thought we’d be coming off the field celebrating with my teammate but it didn’t happen. I trust my coaches’ decisions so I left it up to Coach [Barrett] Ruud and Coach Chins [Erik Chinander].”
“You’ve got to win. It’s not little things. It’s that everyone has to have the mindset that we win. That’s the biggest thing. It’s not schematically. I can’t point out any little thing because very week it’s a different little thing. Everyone has to have the mindset that we are going to win this game and come out through four quarters that will we will. Every week will be one small issue. At the end of the day it’s a mindset that you believe you’ll win each quarter to the end of the game."