Updated

The first Nebraska football player to meet with the media after Saturday’s dramatic loss to BYU was Drew Brown.

The sophomore kicker was standing there, prepared for the questions he seemed to want to answer, even after a dismal day in Nebraska's 33-28 defeat.

Brown missed two field goals, from 40 and 41 yards, the second attempt coming with 48 seconds remaining, and one that would’ve given Nebraska a four-point lead.

The other miss came at the end of the first half, after a 10-play drive that began with 1:38 remaining at the Nebraska 32-yard line.

“I just didn’t control the things I can control,” Brown said. “It was a tough wind out there, an electric atmosphere. I just let it all get to my head. I didn’t do what I needed to do. I didn’t rely on what I’ve had this whole fall camp.”

Brown said a strong south wind didn’t help matters, but said he didn’t make clean ball contact, something he needed to do regardless of the wind.

“I just didn’t do that at all today,” he said.

Brown was also visibly upset and shaken up after punter Sam Foltz was carted off the field with a leg injury, something Brown said he shouldn’t have let get to him emotionally.

Yet it did.

“Sam’s definitely our best special-teams player,” Brown said. “He’s a weapon for our team, he’s one of my best friends, most importantly. When he went down, it got the best of me.”

Brown, 14-of-21 on field goals last season, with a long of 44 yards, said he can’t recall having a recent poor practice.

“I try to be as consistent as I can in practice. It translates to the game. It obviously didn’t translate today,” Brown said.

“You’ve got to get through these bad days to get to the best days. It’s going to happen. It happens to everyone. It’s definitely something that I will definitely improve on.”

* THIRD-DOWN FAILURES: The Huskers three times failed to convert on third-and-short plays in the fourth quarter.

Two of those were third-and-1 plays. And a missed conversion on third-and-3, when Jamal Turner was hit for a 2-yard loss, kept Nebraska from icing the game with a minute left.

Asked about having any of those plays back, Husker coach Mike Riley said: "Yes. All of them. When you don't make third-and-1s, that should be your high-percentage ones."

The Huskers were actually pretty solid on third down before those three failures. NU finished the day 6-of-13, which isn't bad. Had it converted seven, though, it might have won.

"Had we converted some of the easier, higher-percentage ones, that would have been a heckuva third-down game," Riley said. "I know on that last one, we thought we could get the fly sweep in there. We've been running the power off of that action and saw some success off that power. They stopped it the last time, so we thought we could get that one."

* LINE EVALUATION: The Huskers struggled to get any sort of consistent running game going, finishing with 126 yards on 37 carries, an average of 3.4 yards per rush.

Riley said coaches need to evaluate the film and look for things the offensive line can improve technically. "But I like our group. I think this is a good group. With the effort that we get and the things that look we might be capable of doing, I think it's going to be good."

* FOSTER'S RETURN: Alonzo Moore and Trey Foster both had walking boots on after the game. Sometimes that's just precautionary, and both said they were feeling all right, but it speaks to the licks Nebraska took.

The junior tight end Foster, in fact, left the game momentarily with an ankle injury. It occurred after fellow tight end David Sutton injured his ankle, and was carted off the field, after a low hit by a BYU defensive back.

All that with junior Cethan Carter watching from the sideline as one of five suspended Huskers.

Foster, though, returned to score a 9-yard touchdown to put Nebraska ahead 28-24 in the third quarter. It was the first touchdown of his career.

"At that point in the game, I had already kind of tweaked up my ankle a little bit ... and we called the play and I knew it was made for me and I was like, 'Oh, geez, here's the defining moment. I'm not worried about this ankle right now. I'm just gonna make sure I make this play.'"

* FROSH APLENTY: As expected, the Huskers relied heavily on some defensive freshmen.

True freshman Dedrick Young, in fact, was second on the team in tackles with seven. And true freshman Aaron Williams played most of the game at safety, with Byerson Cockrell serving in a nickel role. Williams had six tackles. Linebacker Luke Gifford, playing Michael Rose-Ivey's position, also was out there in key moments, including the final play.

"It was tough for them getting thrown into a chance like that," said junior safety Nate Gerry. "But there's a reason they're out there with us. We believe in these guys as a team and I also believe in those guys and I don't see any difference in us."

* STRONG EFFORT: Tommy Armstrong had a strong-enough statistical day, finishing with 319 passing yards, the second-highest total of his career, trailing only the 381 he had in the Holiday Bowl against USC.

"I thought Tommy competed like crazy, made a lot of plays and I'm pretty excited about where we can go," Riley said.

Armstrong was 21-of-26 passing in the first, third and fourth quarters, but went 3-of-15 in a second quarter, when the offense seemed out-of-sync.

"We kind of killed ourselves in certain situations when it came to getting first downs," he said of the second quarter. "False starts, holding calls, illegal procedure ... and I think we've got to communicate. ... There were times and situations where we didn't communicate well and that's what got us to have those kind of plays."

* THIS AND THAT: With 107 receiving yards, Jordan Westerkamp moved from 23rd to 15th on NU's career receiving yardage list. ... Before Foltz was injured, he hit a 67-yard punt that was downed at the BYU 1-yard line. It was the second-longest punt of his career. ... Young was just the fourth Nebraska true freshman to start a season opener since World War II, joining Ralph Brown (1996), Terrence Nunn (2004) and Tyler Moore (2011).

Reach the writer at 402-473-7439 or bchristopherson@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraBC.