Nebraska Postgame Player Quotes

By NU Athletic Communications

Nebraska vs. Illinois
Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013
Memorial Stadium (Lincoln, Neb.)

Senior Wide Receiver Quincy Enunwa
On how Quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. played
"He played well. I think he did really well. He commanded the offense well, and he knew what he was doing out there. He had a lot of confidence during the game and really got his feet underneath him. And this game really helped him even more, just to really be confident out there, making the passes he needed to make."

On the early defensive pressure
"Well we like to score, so there's no real pressure. When we go out there, that's our motive. That's all we want to do is score. So regardless of if the defense was playing well or not, we were going to go out there and try to score. How about Kenny (Bell)'s catch though? That was really nice."

On his knack for touchdowns
"I don't know. Coaches are calling the plays and I'm executing them. The quarterbacks are finding me in the endzone and I'm catching the ball. That's about it. I worked in the offseason to be better than I was last year, and so far I'm doing pretty well."

On the Ameer Abdullah's long touchdown
"Yeah I saw it. It was a really good run. That's just Ameer for you. He's a shifty back, and he's also powerful at the same time; explosive. You have to be on your toes because you never know which way he's going to go sometimes."

On Ameer Abdullah's career-high 225 rushing yards
"He always has kind of a focused look. There was no difference. He's always a guy you can always count on to be focused no matter what the score is. He just went out there and did his job and did it well."

On touchdown catches
"We expect to catch every ball. The coaches focus on catching 90 percent. That's what they do in the league (NFL). If you want to get there, that's what you have to focus on. Any ball that's thrown to us, we want to catch it. If we can get our hands on it, then we want to catch it. Kenny (Bell)'s catch was amazing. I don't think even he expected to do that. I think he was just trying to tip it and it just stuck. He's a heck of an athlete and a great player too."

On the challenges of playing with two different quarterbacks
"No not really. Regardless of who is in, we take snaps with them in practice. So you're not really going to get out of the groove. We were running with them in practice, so we know what's going to happen. We knew how it would be in the game, and we just kind of roll with it."

On the importance of winning the first Big Ten game of the season
"It's pretty important. We want to show the Big Ten that our offense and our defense are ready to play. People might have their doubts, but we want to come out strong and hopefully we'll get to the Big Ten championship."


Senior Cornerback Ciante Evans
On his sack
"It was just a double outside blitz. It's something we've been working on all week. When he called it, I knew we were going to get home on it."

On improving over the last two weeks
"I think we took a big step today. A lot of guys were talking, which I haven't seen in the first four games that we've played. There was a lot more communicating out there. Guys were flying around and making play after play. It was fun."

On having David Santos at middle linebacker
"He was understanding what was going on and what he was seeing. He was able to get guys lined up. He was able to communicate on the fly and get checks, so it was fun out there."

On the team defensive performance
"I think we did an OK job. I know we gave up a fourth down, and we obviously have to continue to get better. But I think we did a good job of knowing the down and distance, the situation and what was at stake. We knew we had to get off the field and do other things that are obvious when you're playing defense. I think we understood what was going on."

On the play of Jared Afalava and Michael Rose
"I think those guys did well, especially for being young and seeing a lot of snaps today. I think it boosted their confidence, and I think they played very well."

On success coming with experience
"When you're out there playing with guys, you build chemistry. You build confidence by having great preparation. But, at the same time, it's just about being out there, seeing plays and recognizing what's going on. I think the young guys are starting to gain an understanding of that."

On playing well in the first Big Ten game
"I thought it was key. I thought we needed to do that. The defense knew coming into this game that we needed to come out strong and perform, because they have a very good offense. We knew that we need to stop them, create turnovers and make plays so our offense could get the ball back. That was very important for us this game."

On Illinois driving into Nebraska territory early
"We were just trying to get off the field. We weren't trying to just get big plays. We were trying not to let them in the end zone, and I think we did a good job of that. We didn't let them get in the end zone and create momentum. We just have to continue to do that. We have to understand what's going on, and we have to understand the key situations in order to limit big plays for offenses."

On getting sent on blitzes
"I like it a lot if I'm not getting picked up. At the same time, it's fun. I hope Coach Papuchis continues to do it."

On helping force an interception
"It was another defensive back pressure. Their back didn't pick me up, so I continued to blitz and I got there."

On his overall performance
"I had an all right day. I'm going to continue to get better. I still made some mistakes out there, but no one plays perfect. I just have to continue to get better and get ready for Purdue."

On helping force an interception
"It was another defensive back pressure. Their back didn't pick me up, so I continued to blitz and I got there."

On his overall performance
"I had an all right day. I'm going to continue to get better. I still made some mistakes out there, but no one plays perfect. I just have to continue to get better and get ready for Purdue."


Junior I-Back Ameer Abdullah
On if he was feeling it today
"It was a good day."

On the offensive line
"The O-Line, they were all in-sync. Their steps were great. Their splits were great. The receivers don't get as much credit as they should blocking on the perimeter. They did an excellent job today as well as the fullbacks. Those are the guys who do all the dirty work. They never get their names put in the clippings. All you see is 225 from Ameer but you never see the hard work that Andy Janovich and C.J. Zimmerer do. I just tip my hat off to those guys."

On starting Big Ten play with a win
"It's always important to get a Big Ten win. Starting off the conference, we wanted to set the tone. I knew we could run the ball against this team. Today we showed how good of a running team we can be, but I believe the sky is the limit and we can be much better."

On running with an experienced offensive line
"Confidence. I feel like our offensive line is a very strong bunch. They know each other really well. They know where each other is going to be throughout plays. How we prepared was really key. I feel like we can really run the ball with those guys."

On his cutback play
"The guys did their best to bust down the field for me. A lot of times in college football the longer runs come from when teammates are blocking downfield. One person I remember in particular was Jake Cotton. I got the ball, outrun one guy and I looked up field and saw Jake Cotton busting his butt down field. He cut the guy off and I just did the rest."

On setting the tone early
"It was very important. We always want to come out swinging the first punch. Usually the team throwing the first punch is going to control the M.O. of the whole game. I think we did a good job of that."


Junior Wide Receiver Kenny Bell
On his one-handed catch
"It was lucky. Tommy (Armstrong) placed the ball where only I could catch it and I threw a hand up there and it just stuck. The only people more surprised than me that I caught it was (Illinois') defensive backs. They didn't tackle me. It was just one of those crazy plays in football that turned out pretty good for us. That was probably the best catch I've ever had. And the luckiest catch as well."

On his penalty after the touchdown
"I was (surprised). I'm going to pay for that. I'm going to be in trouble for that one. I didn't know what I did. I didn't think I celebrated any differently than before. With big plays in football, if you can't celebrate, then why are we playing? It's a fun game and you're in the moment. I didn't think it was too out of hand. That's how it went."

On his idea
"I don't know. I was so excited I didn't know what to do with my hands. That's the God's honest truth. I really didn't know."

On the passing game
"Any time the wind is blowing like that, it's tough. The first couple ones (Tommy Armstrong) tried to target me on weren't even bad throws. That wind was really just taking the ball and diving it and shooting it up really fast. I think you saw that happen to Quincy (Enunwa) in the end zone too. Those were tough but the quarterbacks did a really good job getting it together and I thought they played great."

On starting Big Ten play on a positive note
"It was really important. The offense was marching up into that fourth quarter. We kind of took the foot off the gas peddle, which is disappointing. We didn't finish like we wanted to, but hats off to the defense. I had a lot of fun watching the defense today. They seemed like a whole new confident group. They were flying around. They were having fun. And that's what we want to see out of our defense. There's so much talent there, that that's the No. 1 thing that I wanted to see. I'm proud of those guys. Obviously there are going to be mistakes on both sides with special teams included. The defense deserved to play good football."

On the offensive line
"Those guys love games like this because they know they don't have to pass set. They get to run downhill and get after people, which they did. There was one point where I thought a bomb went off and I looked and Jake Cotton had hit (Illinois') MIKE linebacker. I was like 'Wow.' I asked the guy if he had a headache because I know I would've. It was a fun day to watch our offensive line."


Redshirt Freshman Quarterback Tommy Armstrong, Jr.
On the game
"It felt great. Everything was clicking after the first couple drives. We had a great two weeks of practice preparing for Illinois."

On setting the tone early
"It was great. That's the big thing Coach (Tim) Beck wants us to do. Worry about first downs and touchdowns will come after that. That's what we wanted to do was move the chains. That's what we did and we came out and scored on the first two drives."

On his comfort level
"I felt comfortable. I've got my trust in my teammates and I trust them as well. Going into this week just like two weeks ago, it's a chemistry thing. We have to prepare the right way. Coach (Pelini) always tells me that if you prepare the right way, confidence will become a habit. That's what all of it has to do with."

On Kenny Bell's one-handed catch
"Honestly I told him after that catch, 'Thanks for saving my butt.' I read the MIKE and played the MIKE. The MIKE ran with him and I tried to get it over the MIKE. I judged the wind the wrong way. It was just crazy out there. The ball kind of rose a little bit. He went up and caught it. If it wasn't for him catching it, I probably would've thrown a pick. The safety was sitting up top waiting on it so thanks for saving my butt. It was a great thing to see."

On throwing in the wind
"It was challenging. Once the wind got in the stadium, we didn't know where the wind was going to go. The wind may go in and may go out. Sometimes it just sits there and circles. Sometimes you just have to drive and I threw off my back foot and I made a couple of bad throws here and there. It's football. I have to come out and fix my mistakes."

On if today felt different than two weeks ago
"It pretty much felt the same. It's just more competition. (Two weeks ago) everyone was saying we were playing South Dakota State but everyone was big and fast. Everyone is coming in here to win and we have to protect our house like Coach (Tim) Beck always told us. Preparation is the key, and we prepared the right way. We were confident going into the game."

On running the option
"I didn't run too much option when I was in high school. I think I just started clicking here once we started running the option. I learn more and more about it as I progress here and the longer I've been in the system. I guess it's just a habit with me and Ameer (Abdullah). He told me after the game, 'We are a dangerous duo now. We go out there and move the chains.' That's what we like to do and in the future I'm looking forward to it."


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