Mike Riley: "I would have to just say that we are not yet there"

Nebraska's Mike Riley speaks to the media following the Huskers' 31-24 loss to Northwestern.

Here's what Mike Riley had to say about the Huskers' overtime loss to Northwestern: 

Opening Statement

“Very disappointing loss, probably lots of things to look back on and talk about in that game. But, had an opportunity to win and let that slip away and couldn’t respond in overtime.”

 

On Tanner Lee’s interception

“We actually had a max protection called, we got beat on a stunt and he was free. The hit caused the interception. It looked like we had a real good play going, but it turned into a real bad play. I just said that the field goal here makes it two scores.”

 

On the run defense

“They hit some seams that we didn’t quite get to, especially somewhat throughout and one near the end, but definitely early. We weren’t setting the edge and getting the width on their reach blocking, wide blocking perimeter runs out there. We didn’t do a good job out there, but except later at times we seemed to have gotten a handle on some of their run game. What we did better, second or third quarter I would say, but early on it was not good and the totals aren’t good.”

 

On the overtime offensive series

“The biggest play in that was the sack-screen pass that we tried to throw. When you get that far behind in an overtime deal, that’s not fun and that’s what caused the collapse of that drive.”

 

On the 18-play drive

“That frankly didn’t worry me, when we didn’t score a touchdown right there. I thought that would’ve been the perfect drive to try to capitalize on for a touchdown. Seven points instead of three, that was disappointing.”

 

On the second down screen play

“We have, but as of late we’ve hit a couple. That obviously was bad timing for that play.”

 

On getting control of the game

“I absolutely think you need to do what we did last week over time to have an identity about being able to do that and respond. I would have to just say that we’re not yet there.”

 

On Northwestern’s Pass Defense

“I think that they spent a good deal of time with different looks, kind of curveballs to the short side of the field on Stanley (Morgan Jr.). It wasn’t necessarily different from what they’ve done, it was just more of an emphasis of what they did most often, I think was it, and then we got surprised with a couple of coverages, not that they haven’t run those coverages, but we just got surprised with a couple of them when they intercepted those out-routes earlier in the game.”

 

On Kyle Queiro and what he was doing differently

“The first time he didn’t have a lot of space to have to cover because the ball was in the middle of the field. The second time he did, but I think that the first thing the quarterback has to see right there is man or zone, and so I believe we didn’t recognize that that guy slipped out into zone coverage off of covering down on a man that was inside of it, so he just slipped out and we didn’t see it in time. That’s actually how you teach quarterbacks. The dominos that fall from there when that guy moves then the next throw becomes available, and Tanner’s good at that, he just made a mistake.”

 

On Northwestern’s 84-yard tying touchdown drive

“When their big pass play, third down over the middle, that was an impressive play. I don’t know about people, but I thought they had a good mixture on that drive.”

 

On if there is any emotional attrition within the team

“No, and just like everything right now, it’s a little too early to assess that. I mean we just finished the game not long ago to know how they’re going to react in the next 48 hours so when we get to Monday’s practice or whenever that is, that’s when we’ll know more.”

 

On the second half of the game

“Well we’re obviously disappointed in our finish. It felt like there had been some good football, and then it kind of felt deflated, right into the overtime, now the defense did their best I think after giving up some yardage in the overtime to try and keep them out, it went to fourth down, and didn’t quite get it done, but did a good job to get it done.”

 

On chances to go up two scores

“That’s the deflating, disappointing part, we had our chances to take a lead that would have made them get two scores in the fourth quarter and we didn’t do it.”

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