Mohamed Barry doesn’t want his team to lose sight of the bigger picture.
Saturday’s loss against Colorado hurt, but Barry has said consistently for months that the Huskers’ No. 1 goal is to win a Big Ten Championship and a non-conference loss doesn’t affect that pursuit.
“I’d rather lose this early in the season than late,” he said. “There’s no excuse for the loss and again, that loss is what hurt for a long time because I know how bad Husker Nation wanted that win. I know how much (head coach Scott) Frost wanted that win. I know how bad (sophomore quarterback Adrian Martinez) wanted that win. I know how bad our players wanted to win. We didn’t achieve that.
"But … we want to be in Indianapolis, so whatever it takes to be there, whatever we have to fix this week, then we need to build to be that team that we want to be.”
Barry took it a step further, reiterating that he fully plans on playing for a conference title at Lucas Oil Stadium in early December.
“We can’t cry about it, we can’t sap about it. It’s on to the next one,” he said. “There’s a lot we have in front of us. Our goal is to be in Indianapolis. That was the goal from the start.
“No one’s going to care about Colorado when we’re in the Big Ten Championship, and that’s a fact. There’s a lot to achieve and that’s what we’re looking forward to.”
Warner nearing return: Sophomore wide receiver Kade Warner missed the second half of preseason camp and Nebraska’s first two games with an injury, but Frost said Monday that the walk-on is nearing a return to action.
“We expect Kade back pretty quickly,” Frost said.
Warner traveled to Colorado and was in uniform, but did not play.
24-hour rule: Sometimes you gotta embrace the suck.
Then you gotta let it go.
Just like avoiding the trap of letting a win go to their heads, Nebraska players gave themselves 24 hours to wallow in Saturday’s stunning loss to Colorado. Then it was on to Northern Illinois.
“Soak in it. Feel it. Roll around in it a little bit, but once those 24 hours are over, you have to snap back because we have a whole different opponent this week,” defensive back Dicaprio Bootle said. “We've got Northern Illinois coming in here. Last time they were here, they put our face in the mud, and we weren’t happy. That’s something to be mindful of.”
Nebraska shouldn't have any trouble focusing on an opponent that came to Lincoln two years ago and walked out of Memorial Stadium with a win.
No matter how much the loss in Boulder stings.
“I would say there is no exception,” quarterback Adrian Martinez said. “Twenty-four hours, put it behind us. It is what it is, and we have Northern Illinois this week and they’re a good football team, so we are going to have to come prepared and come to play.”
The ‘Stollet’ is no more: Tight end Jack Stoll perhaps made Monday’s most shocking statement when he showed up on the sixth floor of Memorial Stadium without his mullet.
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Two years in the making, the waterfall of wavy brown hair cascading haphazardly down the back of Stoll’s neck was gone, just as Stoll promised, after Nebraska lost to Colorado.
“I’ve always said, when we lose I’d cut it,” Stoll said. “Unfortunately that happened way sooner than I wanted.”
It’s all business for Stoll up top now, just as it is for the rest of the Husker offense.
“We went into that film room (Sunday), and specifically, we tried to dissect that third quarter (against CU) and just figure out what wasn’t clicking,” Stoll said. “I have full confidence that we’re going to go out there and be a lot better this week than we were last week.”
NU confident in Armstrong: Isaac Armstrong is now listed as the No. 1 placekicker in place of injured sophomore starter Barret Pickering (leg/hip). Armstrong, who is also the Huskers’ starting punter, handled place-kicking duties for the first time in his career against Colorado, while redshirt freshman William Przystup handled some of the kickoff duties.
Frost said Monday he's not sure if Pickering will be available this weekend against Northern Illinois, but complimented the work Armstrong, a senior walk-on from Lincoln, did last week. Armstrong made all four extra points and a 26-yard field goal before missing from 48 on a game-tying attempt in overtime.
“The kid is a gamer and a good person and he will be just fine,” Frost said, who added Armstrong didn’t know he would be the place-kicker until late in the week.
Przystup moving up: Will Przystup’s name is difficult to spell, but his duties are becoming more defined by the day.
The transfer punter from Michigan State handled four of Nebraska’s six kickoffs Saturday, and Monday found himself listed as the backup to Isaac Armstrong at place-kicker.
That news was a surprise to Przystup, a 6-foot-4, 250-pound redshirt freshman from Oviedo, Florida.
“Well that’s good to know. I’ll talk to Cres (NU special teams staffer Zach Crespo) about this for sure,” Przystup said when told he was the new backup. “I need to practice a little bit more, get a little bit more work in, and probably cut down on eating so much.”
Przystup (pronounced Priss-tup), who was recruited by Scott Frost’s staff at Central Florida before attending Michigan State last year, said he was capable of hitting field goals 57 yards “pretty consistently” in high school, but hasn’t worked on that part of his game much as he’s focused more on punting in college.
Przystup punted against Nebraska last season when Michigan State visited, but said the butterflies were fluttering when he took the field Saturday wearing scarlet and cream.
“It was very interesting, for sure. I was at first nervous, then after a while it just felt like I was at home,” Przystup said. “When I looked to my left and to my right I didn’t see teammates. I saw brothers. And I knew they had my back, so I knew I had to give 110%.”
Sideline picked up penalty on Saturday: A critical 15-yard penalty during the fourth quarter Saturday was called on a Nebraska staffer, but it wasn’t Frost.
After defensive back Cam Taylor-Britt forced a fumble on CU receiver Laviska Shenault’s fourth-quarter kick return and a pile-up ensued, one that walk-on freshman linebacker Luke Reimer ultimately emerged from with the ball — the referees enforced a personal foul against Nebraska and moved the ball from its own 43 to the 28.
“There was a member of the staff that bumped into a referee on the field,” Frost said.
Then, on the first play of the drive, sophomore quarterback Adrian Martinez was flagged for intentional grounding for a loss of 7, putting the Huskers back to their own 21 -- 22 yards behind where the drive would have otherwise started.
NU went three-and-out and worked less than two minutes off the clock while nursing a 7-point lead.