Photo Credit: Eric Francis

They Said It: Nebraska Players Talk Nebraska’s 30-23 Win Over Penn State

November 14, 2020

Nebraska players met with the media Saturday following the Huskers’ 30-23 win over Penn State. Quarterback Luke McCaffrey, defensive lineman Ben Stille, wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson and defensive back Cam Taylor-Britt were the four to speak.

Here is the full transcript from their question and answer session.

Quarterback Luke McCaffrey

On his emotions finding out he was the starter this week and stepping on the field:

“We found out a little bit earlier in the week when we were game planning and it’s an honor to be able to be on the field with these guys and this team specifically is an honor. I’m so thankful for each and every one of them.”

On the role Adrian Martinez played in his preparation for the game:

“Yeah, he’s one of the classiest people I’ve ever met. Just throughout the game plan this week and throughout my whole entire career here thus far. He’s been right there by my side and he’s been one of the best role models, best people and best leaders that I’ve been able to meet.”

On how big the win is for him and the team:

“It’s huge. You know, anytime you can take the same learning experiences you do week by week, but have them with a more positive mindset is something that’s huge for the future and it’s something that we needed to learn to do. So, this win’s huge, but now it’s time to turn it around and see what we can do next week.”

On difference between the first and second half:

“Yeah, you know part of that too is we had the lead and we knew they were a primarily running team and so that clock was bleeding quite a bit. I’m so impressed by our defense in that in that last quarter. That was incredible. And then if you talked about earlier with Deontai Williams scoop and score and all that. You see Ben Stille with a sack late. All of them played their hearts out and it was something great to see those last two drive specifically, but the whole entire game our defense was lights out.”

On what he was thinking when he was watching the last couple possessions on the sideline:

“It was actually tough to watch. I was looking back talking to Brenden Jaimes and telling him to tell me what was going on. So that was my mindset. And then the other half of it is getting ready for overtime in case they were to score. And so just preparing for every situation just like every drive.”

On the kind of confidence the defense’s performance gave the team today:

“Oh, it’s huge for the whole entire team. It takes a weight off of our shoulders when our defense can be as stout as ours was today. It’s something that is one, hard to come by, especially in this league, but two, just impressive as heck.”

On his reaction to completing a left-handed throw:

“Yeah, I actually didn’t really realize it until later. Marvin Scott III made a really good catch on that. It was not the best ball in the world and his little scamper after it was pretty cool, too. You know, all of our running backs stepped up today. Marvin Scott III, specifically. Wan’Dale Robinson stepped in at running back a lot today and Ronald was in there a lot as well. Once Dedrick Mills went down it was cool to see those guys get in.”

On if improvising and showcasing his athletic ability is something Nebraska fans should expect from him when he’s out on the field:

“Yeah, who knows. Anything that comes up is a different situation every single week. And so you never really know what’s going to happen in a game.”

On how he think he played in today’s game:

“You know there’s a comfort level that was grown throughout the game, and so that’s something that that is huge going into next week, and especially this week’s preparation. So that’s definitely the most valuable thing taken from this game. Then most importantly, we got a win and so any way you can find a way to do that. We did a good job of taking what they gave us, not forcing anything too much as a complete team.”

On his nerves before the game and what it was like playing in front of a near empty stadium:

“Oh, it was a lot different atmosphere than we’re used to seeing this place. But heck yeah, I was nervous. I probably got an hour of sleep last night. But to have the guys around me and surround me, Matt Farniok, Jack Stoll, two of my roommates who really helped me through all this and could see the excitement and yet anxiousness a little bit. But that goes away once you start playing. that’s more in the week of preparation.”

On how long it took for the nerves to go away:

“The minute you step on the field. I looked around I saw all those guys. Cameron Jurgens was back this week and he’s a really good buddy of mine, as well as one of our best players. So just to see those guys on the field, there’s no reason to feel any nervous. It’s more excitement.”

 

Defensive Lineman Ben Stille

On the final plays in the red zone:

“Yeah, I mean that was definitely a high pressure situation for us but I was proud of the way guys responded. Been an area of emphasis for us for sure over those first two games was just getting stops in the red zone and I think we improved on that today.”

On getting the win:

“I think that’ll be huge for us going forward. We’ve got a good team in Illinois coming in next week so just trying to build wins on top of each other. That’s what’s important for this team right now.”

On the end of the game:

“I mean that I think that’s a huge part of you know just developing as a program growing as a program just being able to finish games make plays when the game’s on the line and I was really proud of the guys did that.”

On Coach Frost after the game:

“I mean he was definitely really excited. Told us we about gave him a heart attack but other than that yeah he was really excited just the way we finished again.”

On the final play of the game:

“I don’t really know how I saw the ball kind of flying there. I didn’t know if you do it or what but yeah. Otherwise the game was over. Doesn’t really matter to me how it ended but as long as we got to stop that was important to me.”

On Ty Robinson:

“Ty was a big recruit and he was a big-time recruit for a reason. He has a lot of natural skills and so for us over this past year it’s really just been honing those skills in. He’s naturally gifted so it really just the mental aspect of the game helping him grow there just helping him to be as consistent on an every down basis.”

On the win:

“There’s been a lot of downs over my career here but just be able to come out and finish on top. Just the whole defense be able to. We always talk about winning the game for the team, right? Being on the field when it counts. Just really proud of the guys to be able to pull this one out.”

On Penn State’s quarterback run game:

“I mean whenever anybody is running quarterback they have an extra hitter in the box and extra block in the box. So that’s just the most difficult thing in general. He was a tough physical downhill quarterback. He’s a big kid so between having an extra blocker in the box and then him getting downhill it was giving us some fits there. But yeah we’ll take a look at it definitely better there.”

 

Wide Receiver Wan’Dale Robinson

On redshirt freshman quarterback Luke McCaffrey making his first start:

“Luke prepared like he was the starter, even when he wasn’t starting, so it really wasn’t anything new to him. He was going to come into work and work like he was the starter no matter what. I just knew that we had all the confidence in the world in both of our guys, Adrian and Luke. So whichever one it was coming into with Luke being in the game, we were really, really confident with that.”

On winning a close game:

“I mean it felt great. It just feels good to finally get over that hump and know that we can continue to do this and hopefully we aren’t in too many close games. But if we are in close games, we know exactly what that’s like and we know what we have to do to push through and win.”

On Zavier Betts’ 45-yard touchdown and his ceiling as a player:

“I don’t know. It’s through the roof. Just some of the things that you see him doing. Just run and jump. You’re like this kid can be special, and I tell him that all the time. I’m like, ‘dude you can really be special you just got to keep working and come to work every day and just do the right things and everything’s going to fall right into place.”

On getting over the hump as a team:

“It can just push us through this whole season. Obviously, we feel like going through the rest of this season we’re really confident with what we’ve got and who we’re going against. It’s just coming to work each and every day and not getting lackadaisical over this one win. We’ve just got to keep going and get the rest of them.”

On being in the backfield and whether he’s spent much time there in practice:

“I had a little bit, but once Deidrick went down they kind of told me I might need to take a little bit more carries in the backfield. It started with how much pressure they were bringing, it was a lot easier just to kind of just give me the touches that way, too. So it just worked out that way. But like I said before, if I have to play running back the whole game I play running back, if I’ve got to play receiver the whole game, I play receiver. It’s really whatever they need me to do.”

On whether it feels natural to play running back:

“I played running back basically my whole life, so being back in the backfield is just really natural. Being out at receiver is natural for me, too. I just feel really comfortable at both spots at this point. So just being able to do both.”

On Penn State’s defense:

“It’s really, really athletic. They just want to cause a lot of chaos and bring a lot of pressure, which they were successful on some things doing that. They’re just a bunch of athletes out there, and they’re going to play hard, and they showed that they weren’t going to quit in that second half, too. That was a really, really good defense that we played.”

On the growing pains of the young players in the Nebraska offense:

 

“I feel for them because I know exactly what it’s like to be in your third game and still trying to figure things out and bullets are flying, and you’re trying to get all the signals and everything. I feel for them and I just let them know like, ‘look, just relax and calm down, you’re going to be alright. If you have any questions, there’s usually a veteran out there that can help you.’ So that’s really what I just try to tell them. Just keep coming to work and do what you’ve got to do. Everything is going to happen that should happen.”

On the causes of the offensive struggles in the second half:

“Definitely the pressure that they were bringing, and then a little bit of it we just really didn’t have the time possession that we wanted. We wanted to try some things, but obviously we kind of got a little bit behind in the chains, but that’s just some things that we can clean up for next week.”

On the Nebraska defense’s performance on the final two Penn State drives:

“It was crazy, but I had all the confidence in the world in them. We’ve been through so many scenarios like that where the defense has stopped us before. So, I was really, really confident that they were going to go down there and make that stop and we were going to win that game.”

 

Cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt

On playing 91 snaps on defense:

“Towards the end of the game, it started taking a toll on us. Once they called their time out, we got a little blow, just a sip of water, that’s all we need, just to keep it on going. But I feel like we were fine towards the end of that game. We want to be the one to finish the game off and we did that.”

On winning a close game:

“We had a great week of practice. First off, that’s where it begins at – Monday through Friday until we get to Saturday and we have to understand that. We put in all this work, for what? The defense, we had a great week. For us to go out there and play like that. That’s how we’re supposed to play. They expect that of us but if we go out there, have bull during the week, it’s going to be bad on the weekend. So, we just have to come together man and all play together as one.”

On the secondary:

“Well, we love challenges. We feel like, as the defense, the DBs, [it’s] on our back and we feel like everything is on us. If something breaks loose, we have to be there. If they throw the ball in there, we have to be there. We really just take pride in that. Like I said, we had a great week of practice and that’s what’s supposed to happen on game day.”

On the last drive:

“Well, I just know one thing: lock my side of the field up. Lock it up, man. Let all the distractions go, play loose and just relax. Have fun out there but you know stay locked in. I just felt like it was on us and we wanted it to be on us, like I said. So, just locked my side of the field down.”

On how angry the team was after last week’s loss:

“Well, I could say I was one of the ones that was mad last week. I’ve been here three years and for us to continue to do that, it’s just very frustrating. I’m a true junior now and I’ve seen everything that we’ve done here. We get up and we get right back down because we get comfortable. We were just telling the guys on the sideline, ‘Don’t get comfortable. It’s 0-0 again.’ We were up 27-6 or whatever and I was just like, ‘Man, it’s 0-0. We have to play a full game all over again. Let’s go out here and fight to the end.’”

On building on this going forward:

“We just have to play as a team. When we play together, I don’t believe anything can stop us, man. We tend to beat ourselves in some situations. We may not communicate or something or may miss an assignment that’s very key and they end up in a touchdown. We just try to hone in on those things and make sure everybody’s on the same page.”

On shutting down Penn State WR Jahan Dotson:

“We just really focused on him during the week, during film study, during practice. We had some young guys imitate the things that he does at receiver, just so we can all get used to it. We felt like when he slows down, just go ahead and get on it right now because he has that speed, stack and get on top of you and make those big plays. So, we just wanted to stay on top of him.”

On who they had imitate Dotson in practice:

“Demariyon Houston. Yeah you know he a fast guy, a track guy. It makes us better, with him running full speed, everything and makes us really stick to what we know.

 

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