Photo Credit: Ohio State Athletics

They Said It: Nebraska Players Talk Huskers’ 52-17 Loss to Ohio State

October 24, 2020

Nebraska players met with the media Saturday after following the Huskers’ 52-17 loss to Ohio State. Quarterback Adrian Martinez, linebackers JoJo Domann and Collin Miller and offensive lineman Matt Farniok all met with the media.

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

Quarterback Adrian Martinez

On overall takeaways:

“When we’re playing really good teams like we will in the Big Ten, we’ll have to limit our errors. Thought we shot ourselves in the foot there more than a few times. I can’t turn over the football. We have to continue to execute at a high level and I think we did that at some times today and other times we didn’t do as well as we should have.”

On Luke McCaffrey complimenting him:

“Luke’s a really talented player and I think we’re going to continue to find ways to get him involved. I was sort of expecting that and I know Luke was prepared for that as well. He did a great job of executing when it was his turn to get in there.”

On responding when getting punched in the mouth:

“The first half, I thought we did a pretty good job. We came out aggressive and I think we continued to do that in the second half but made mistakes we can’t make in a really good team in Ohio State. I’m proud of our guys for continuing to fight. I believe we didn’t give up. We continued to fight there, no matter who was in the game. We just got to limit some of the mistakes, the small errors, and work on what we did today.”

On the pass game:

“As you said, I think we completed a lot of passes here. Most of them were shorter, intermediate balls. I think that’s our next step, continuing to push the ball downfield and continuing to get those longer completions. Once we go back and watch the films, I think we’ll find some times we could have taken those shots, some times when we did the right thing. We’ll continue to build on our pass game. I know us quarterbacks and Coach Verdu have us tuned up to execute at an efficient level.”

On the rhythm when switching quarterbacks:

“I would say I wasn’t affected at all. I felt good out there. I thought the coaches did a good job. I thought we had a solid game plan and Luke did good when he got in the game.”

On the atmosphere with no fans:

“I would say initially it was a little weird but once you’re on the field, playing football, I didn’t really notice it too much. You’re kind of in the zone, you’re locked into your assignment and the guys across from you. From that standpoint, it wasn’t that different. I would say the in-between moments when the crowd can get loud and you come off to the sideline, you see them. It was a little bizarre in that way but our guys are ready. We didn’t need any more juice than we already had.”

 

Outside Linebacker JoJo Domann

On his early assessment of the performance:

“We did some good things. We got a lot of things to correct. We got to get off the field on third down. We can’t be making silly penalties. We fought hard, but we got a lot of things to correct for next week.”

On turning the page to Wisconsin:

“Day by day, week by week, we’ve already turned the page. We’re going to correct the things that need to be corrected and get ready to go into Wisconsin.”

On balance between being physical and playing smart:

“We got to be physical when it’s time to be physical in the box, particularly. Then we got to be smart when it’s hits outside the box like that on defenseless receivers, keeping our head up and using our shoulders. Just being smart about that. It’s tough when bullets are flying but we’re football players and we can do that.”

On leaving Columbus encouraged or discouraged:

“We’re sticking to the script. Win or lose here we know what this team is made of. We know what our goals are. We did some good things. We got a lot of things to correct. So ultimately, I’m encouraged with how our guys fought and how we’re going to play next week.”

On feeling closer to Ohio State physically:

“Yes. The way the way we did step up in the run game and set edges. I mean, that’s a great football team. We played well today. We got to get better at the little things. We have to get off the field on third down. We’re going to continue to be physical. Our goal is to be the most physical team in the Big Ten. We’re going to keep striving until we are that.”

On the defense responding in the right way:

“Yeah, for the most part we did. I can say the first series out of halftime, we got punched in the mouth. We know that’s not how we want to come out of halftime. We did respond after that. So it’s a game. They’re going to get us we’re going to get them. We just got to keep going keep our heads down and play the game.”

 

Inside Linebacker Collin Miller

On where they need to improve for Wisconsin:

“Something we all liked as a whole was tackling. Guys rallying to the ball. We had a few sacks. Need more turnovers though. Things that we need to work on is not beating ourselves with penalties. Penalties is what can kill the game. We have to focus on penalties and keep hats to the ball. Wisconsin is a physical team too. So, we have to keep that physicality up.”

On if they competed better against Ohio State:

“1000%. I think guys were itching to go out there and play football. You can kind of see and feel that on both sides actually Ohio State players were ready to hit. We were ready to hit. Going into half it was think 17-14 or 14-14 something like that going into half. Then penalty in the endzone, touchdown and they get the ball back. We kind of beat ourselves with another penalty. So definitely this year I think that playing with Ohio State like that, the number five team in the country. Just physicality, they are physical. We’re trying to be physical as well. Just got to hopefully transfer that over to next week with our physicality and then no turnovers and no penalties.”

On Ohio State’s offense:

“Like I said in the press conference earlier in the week they’re not going to beat themselves. I think they had like four penalty yards to their to our one-hundred yards of penalty. Justin Fields he’s going to be a first-round draft pick. You guys saw the arm that we sa. He’s making throws that guys on Sundays make. Major credit to the offensive line those guys are all on the same page and real physical. They got the wide receivers that can catch the balls and are athletic enough to make plays once they catch it. But Justin Fields and that offensive line are pretty good.”

On how the team responded to adversity:

“Yeah, playing Ohio State Week 1, that’s kind of a pro. They showed us a good look of what Big Ten football is. I definitely think that adversity hit. A fumble that they picked up and scored. Last year guys would hold their heads down low or hanging their heads. This year with a turnover from the offense guys are ready and itching to go back out there and just time to play football. A lot of young guys out there but a lot of young guys that are ready to make plays.”

On noticing the lack of fans:

“Once you run out there you see an empty stadium. But once you’re playing you don’t even worry about the fans. Same thing with having a normal capacity. It’s kind of crazy. Just you’re out there playing but once that ball is hiked it’s just quiet. You just hear everybody running around and hitting and then somehow it comes out when the plays break and you’re waiting for the next call to come in that you can hear the fans and everything. When you’re running around, it kind of felt like a normal Saturday. They did a good job with their crowd noise maker, whatever you call that. They were bumping in some crowd noise and whatnot. It was definitely nothing too crazy.”

 

Offensive Lineman Matt Farniok

On Luke’s play complementing Adrian:

“I think he brought a good spark. They’re both dynamic players and having two guys like that out there on the field just gives you a lot more weapons to use.”

On the offensive line’s game, and if it felt like a game where they left points on the table:

“We played OK. Obviously, we had some plays we want back. We had some mistakes we need to clean up that can’t happen when you play a good team like that. We absolutely left points on the field. If you get penalties on a drive, it’s gonna kill your drive, it’s gonna kill your momentum, and we gotta fix that.”

On the importance of the little things:

“It’s just discipline and repetition over and over, understanding that five yards can make all the difference. It takes us from a second-and-1 to a second-and-6. It takes us from a first-and-10 to a first-and-20. Those mistakes are critical errors and the only way to fix them are just to be about them, make sure you understand those mistakes just can’t happen. We can’t have them happen against any team we play.

On the stretch late in the second and early in the third and where they’re at as a team in terms of not letting those moments cripple them:

“We’ve just got to find a way to attack. When the defense makes a play, when the defense makes a stop, we have to take advantage of that and find a way to get points on the board and answer back to whatever they’ve done. We just need to find a way to answer and keep attacking.”

On Bryce Benhart’s first career start:

“(He played) really well. He showed a lot more confidence and he became a lot more comfortable as the game went on. That’s a huge step forward, and he’s only going to get better from there as he gets more comfortable with the game, more comfortable with the scheme. He’s going to be a really good right tackle and it’s going to very beneficial to be playing next to (him).”

On the running game:

“I think the run game went decent, we just need to do a better job of hanging onto the ball. If you lose the turnover battle it’s going to be a hard game to win. I think we created the right type of movement and got the leverages done, we just need to be better at holding onto the ball and making sure we can keep driving the guys downfield.”

On Cam Jurgens’ game:

“I think he did a really good job. He showed it’s not his first year here anymore. He’s gotten a lot more comfortable with the center position making calls. He just, overall, looked more comfortable and fluid in that spot.”

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