Nebraska vs. Michigan State
Nebraska Player Quotes
Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013
Senior Offensive Lineman Jeremiah Sirles
On his physical status
"I'm fine. I just kind of tweaked it (knee) again, but it's no big deal. I should be a full go for practice and everything next week."
On his playing ability
"I thought I played pretty well in the first half. Coming off the ball felt great. I didn't really have any problems with it (knee) until one play when I stepped wrong and tweaked it a little bit. Other than that, I'll be fine."
Junior Wide Receiver Kenny Bell
On the game's momentum shifts
"There's not much to talk about. When you turn the ball over five times, the momentum is going to be against you. That's pretty much the answer to that one. In football, momentum is a powerful thing, and if you're turning the ball over that many times, the other side's going to have it."
On how Tommy Armstrong Jr. handled himself after the early mistakes
"It's not just Tommy (Armstrong Jr.), it's our whole offense. I thought we handled ourselves well. I thought we were resilient. We played our tails off tonight. There was no lack of want-to or heart. Guys played hard tonight. We just didn't play smart. We lost the football game with five turnovers. If you're turn the ball over five times, you're not going to beat an average team, let alone a pretty stout one. It was tough, but I thought Tommy handled himself well."
On his attitude after his touchdown catch
"I thought we had them. That was tough. I thought we had them."
On how the team will respond
"We'll respond the same way we always do. We're used to it around here. We just have to come in and hammer our work again. Losses are something that every team experiences. How you rebound and how resilient you are is a reflection of your head coach, and I think we've proven ourselves to be pretty resilient. We're going to come in tomorrow and watch the film just as if we had won 35-0 today, and we're going to get better. We're going to get ready to go play at Happy Valley."
On Michigan State's defense
"We turned the ball over, but they weren't forced turnovers. Hats off to them. They played great. They played a good game. But we went for 350 yards with five turnovers. When we wanted to, we moved the ball. But hats off to them, they won the football game."
On correcting the mistakes
"All you can do is practice. Ball security during practice is all you can do. It's a mental thing as well. Some of the turnovers were just disappointing."
On his physical status
"It's November. I'm feeling tweaks, but I'm healthy. I'm fine. I can play football, so I'll be fine. Nobody's feeling very good right now, and that's not just in our locker room. I'm sure that's across the nation."
On the offensive line
"We've had a significant amount of injuries up there, and it's impressive for every guy to just step up and go. Hats off to those guys. At the same time, that's coaching. That goes to the guys upstairs. They're having guys ready to go play. You can say the same thing about guys like Sam Burtch. Burtch led us in receiving tonight. That's a guy that nobody knew heading into the season. And he's leading us in receiving for big games? That's awesome. Hats off to the coaches upstairs."
On Jeremiah Sirles playing through injury
"It was exciting, but I knew he was hurting like the rest of us. We just have try and get everybody healthy. Hats off to the guy for coming out and trying to stick it out. You have to respect guys like that who are beat up. He's physically beat up, so I appreciate him even trying to go today. I love him for it."
On having a positive outlook on the game
"It's a positive outlook on life. I love football, and it hurts. We put a lot of time into this. When you put 350 days out of year into something, it's going to hurt when you lose. But you have to have a positive outlook on life. We play a game and we're blessed. Everybody in that locker room has a pretty good understanding of what's going on. You have to stay mentally tough, and you do that by circling the wagons around the guys you love. These guys come in and do it every single day in the weight room, upstairs, in the locker room and down on the practice field. Everything else can go by the wayside. We've got each other, and that's all we need."
Senior Cornerback Ciante Evans
On how difficult the game was for the defense with the offense committing five turnovers
"It's just a part of football. We know we signed up for it. It's a team sport. When things go wrong for the offense, we have their back just like when things go wrong for us, they have our back. You have to bull up at different times and unfortunately we didn't get the job done."
On Michigan State's third-down conversions
"It's not what we wanted it to be, especially as a defense. I think it needs to be a little bit lower. Credit Michigan State for calling the right calls on third down. That's all I have to say. Just credit them."
On finishing the regular season now that Nebraska cannot advance to the Big Ten Championship Game
"You have to finish strong. You have to get those guys prepared to win out and win the bowl game. I know that we can't go to the Big Ten Championship (Game), but you can still win out your season and finish with a winning record and win a bowl game."
On the mentality of the team
"It's down. It's a tough loss. We wanted it so bad. You could just tell after the game. It's hard but at the same time, you just have to let it go. Everything happens for a reason. You have to come back tomorrow and get ready for Penn State."
On his mindset during the early turnovers
"I was still thinking of winning the game. Especially when you have turnovers so early, there's a lot of football time left to win. I was still thinking we could (win). I think we did a good job (defensively), especially after their first two turnovers. We held them to three points. I don't think we did good enough, especially on the defensive side. We let them get in the endzone too many times."
Sophomore Defensive End Randy Gregory
On the defensive performance
"I think we held our own out there. (Michigan State) had a few drives and a few good plays down the field on us. I know we kind of got tired. I know I got tired. I know there were a lot of guys who were banged up. We can't make excuses. I think we played pretty well. We just made a lot of mistakes here and there and it cost us."
On Michigan State's third-down conversions
"We knew going in that (Connor Cook) was a pretty decent quarterback. He had a good arm. I give a lot of credit to him. He made some nice passes. (Michigan State) moves the pocket around a lot. I think they knew we were bringing pressure. Like I said, we had some mental errors and it cost us. When a guy like that can make those kinds of passes, he's going to make you pay for it."
On the fake field goal
"All week we knew that was something they were going to throw at us at some point of the game. I tried my best to get in there. I had my own coverage on that play. I saw the kicker coming and trying to make the first down. I started going in there to try and make the tackle. I know Corey Cooper went in there and hit him. It's a game of inches. We can't accept that. We worked on it all week. It just goes back to the mental errors. We need to eliminate those throughout the game."
On the team's motivation for the rest of the season
"We just have to go back to work tomorrow. We still have two games left. We have to finish up the season strong even though we are out of the race. That doesn't mean the season is over. We still have two more games and the bowl game left to finish up strong and that's what we intend on doing."
On the team's emotion
"We've always been close and games like these bring us a little bit closer I think. We saw the offense struggling a little bit. I know we got them on the sidelines a little bit. We told them to keep their heads up. They got themselves back in it. It's happened like that in a lot of games this year where the defense has been down or the offense has been down. We're all a family here, so we just have to pick each other up."
On growing from mistakes
"Everyone is going to make mistakes. It doesn't matter whether you are young or a veteran or whatever. Everyone makes mistakes. It's part of the game. You just have to move on and make a play after that. That's what we tried to do. Obviously it didn't work out in our favor but we have to go into next week with our heads up high and get ready for the next game."
On if he's been part of a game with five turnovers
"Not that I can remember, but I'm sure it has happened. I don't think I've been a part of a game where we've turned over the ball that many times on our side of the field. It definitely hurt us but I think our defense did a good job bulling up and trying to stop them on our side of the field. Like I said, we can't worry about what the offense is doing. We have to worry about what we're doing."
On what Head Coach Bo Pelini told the team after the game
"Pretty much what I just said. Keep our heads up. We have two games left. We have to go back to work tomorrow. We're still a family. He loves us. We love him. The feelings are mutual. He doesn't feel any differently about us no matter what the outcome is. We still all believe in each other. We just have to stick with each other through the rest of the season and we'll be fine."