Northern Illinois vs. Nebraska, 9/16/17

Nebraska quarterback Tanner Lee (13) looks for a receiver in the second quarter of last week's game against Northern Illinois at Memorial Stadium.

ERIC GREGORY, Journal Star

Jerald Foster

How to keep the team feeling motivated after a loss like this:

“We understand that first we have a lot more games to look forward to. Second, this is the non-conference games, so our ambitions for the Big Ten are still always open. It’s a hard game, but we are going to pull together and take it day by day. That’s what I got.”

If he can assess how the offensive line played regarding run and pass block:

“I would say we had hiccups on both of them. There is a lot that we are going to look at and we are going to improve, definitely. We are going to figure out our problems. We are going to take initiative in finding our solutions. So both run and pass, we have problems, we are going to figure it out.”

If he feels the offense was pressing after the first pick six:

“I would say that it felt like we had such a good drive to start it off. And for that, it was so close. That would have had to affect any offense. Pressing, I don’t know. We are going to have to sit back and watch the film. It’s just different when you are out there. But again, we just need to be able to answer better when it comes up starting. It’s unfortunate we did get that pick, but that is how games go.”

If there was anything NIU was doing stunt-wise defensively that gave the offense problems:

“Nothing specific. I would say that they are playing their game. We have played against three-fours, four-fours, we have done that before. So I would say they were just doing what they were taught. Nothing really specific that I would say really got us. We just didn’t have the day we wanted.”

His reaction to the crowd booing:

“I didn’t hear it.”


Tanner Lee

His first interception:

“That was tough. They just had a perfect defense, I took a gamble and they blitzed the corner who jumped that bubble throw and took it to the house. That was a tough way to start a game, but you’ve got to think that we are able to drive the ball and put it behind us.”

On the team feeling pressed after the first interception:

“I think we knew we could move the ball, and we just wanted to hurry up and do it and start scoring. I do think we were pressing a little bit, and we were making mistakes and doing uncharacteristic things that we pride ourselves in not doing. It was disappointing, and we just couldn’t get out of that hole.”

Thoughts on his play as quarterback throughout three games"

“I feel a lot better. I think as an offense we’ve got to play better, and I know we will. I look forward to getting back to work on Monday.”

Importance of running game:

“It is important every game. We run the ball and move the ball and it is something we will focus on.”

His last interception:

“It was tough. They were playing and off coverage and I threw a seam ball in. I should have put more air on it and it’s tough trying to make a play like that late in the game.”

Things he has to work to make sure it doesn’t happen again:

“Not hurting the team with bad plays and making sure we finish plays in the end zone. That is our number one goal and something we will get better at.”

How defenses are playing against Nebraska’s receivers:

“I think we have played some good defenses, and our guys are handling it well. I’ve just got to get them the ball more often and quicker, and we will get better at that.”

Play calls against Northern Illinois’ defense:

“They were doing a good job, and we were trying to call plays that have good protection against what they were bringing. We just weren’t executing great.”

What he does as a leader to keep the team together:

“As captains, we have a job to keep everyone together. We’ve got a lot of the season left. It can go one of two ways, good or bad. We’re not going to get deterred with what we are trying to do, and we’re going to stay on track.”


Luke Gifford

How the defense played today:

“We really found something to work with after that Oregon game and we knew we wanted to get going from the jump. I think we did a good job of that but when you get the lead back there in third or fourth quarter and we got an opportunity to get off the field and give us momentum. We got to get it done when it comes down to it.”

The mentality as the game went on:

“Well for us it really doesn’t change. Coach Diaco preaches play by play and we knew that the offense was going to keep working. They pick us, we pick them up. We just knew we had to keep playing and that’s what we did.”

The defensive scheme:

“I would say that it was more execution. We really just worked our tail off on the last couple of pressures. It was a good added dimension to our defense today. I think we were happy with that.”

The message to fans:

“We are going to keep busting our tails. There is a sense of urgency and the standard here has not changed. Losing is not okay and I know we got a group of guys that are going to work their tails off. It just makes you sick going into that locker room afterwards and it sucks. No one likes losing. So we are going to just keep working. We still have a lot of things ahead of us. We are going to take it game by game, play by play and we are still going to work our tail off.”

The rushing yards:

“I think we did pretty well with the runs. I know I missed one bad tackle. We had a couple missed tackles. Overall, I thought we did a pretty good job shortening it up and keeping it above. It was good, staying on defense.”


Luke McNitt

How he would describe the locker room:

“Guys are disappointed obviously. But we came together, we had a good little talk. I think there’s not a lot of guys in that locker room that are going to go off and do their own thing or be negative for too long, so it’s about as good as it could be after a loss like that. But I’m proud of these guys, they didn’t quit. The way we came together in the locker room, I think it bodes well for us moving forward.”

How much the first pick six affected the team:

“You can’t let things like that affect you, but obviously it did. We were moving the ball pretty well that drive. We got down to the eight yard line, looking like we were about ready to score and put points on the board. But you see it go the other way, 92 yards. That can hurt you. There is two ways you can react to it. You can come back and be better or you can… but what I am trying to say is you’ve just got to forget about that. Moving forward I think the sophomores just need to forget about that and go into the next play.”

How he thinks junior quarterback Tanner Lee is holding up:

“I wouldn’t worry about Tanner. He is a tough kid, he is a competitor. He is going to come back every single week ready to work. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. That’s what they always say. And he’s a tough kid so I got a lot of confidence in him and I know everyone in that locker room has a lot of confidence in him that he’ll come back better next week.”

What he believed the confidence level was of the offense taking the ball down, 21-17:

“Just like every other drive this year, the confidence was high. We were saying the whole time we were going to go down and win the ballgame on that last drive. Obviously it didn’t work but in the huddle you didn’t see any doubt in anybody’s eyes that we were going to go down and win that game. We were going to do that but I think we trust in each other and I think moving forward that will help us out a lot.”

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