Cornhuskers Comment on Loss to Auburn

Comments from Nebraska players are featured following that team's 17-14 loss to Auburn.

Dallas, Tex.--One of the big plays of Auburn's Cotton Bowl victory over Nebraska was a fake punt play by the Cornhuskers that was stuffed by the Auburn return team for a 15-yard loss.

That play set up Auburn's second touchdown of the game on the way to a 17-14 victory for AU's first win vs. the Cornhuskers in four tries.

Commenting on the fake punt, Nebraska fullback Dane Todd said, "They are very confident in their return game and they go safe block. And so you start getting up toward midfield and they start going safe, especially with our record of running trick plays. We knew we had to do it somewhere deep in our own end, and it's a gamble and we ended up losing on that deal. It happens."

While Nebraska coach Bill Callahan said the play didn't cost his team the game, Todd said it was a huge. "It's really tough," he said. "Obviously we couldn't overcome it.

"Offensively, we needed to do more things in the second half to score, and we couldn't pull that off. I thought defensively we played phenomenal all game. Our defense did a wonderful job this year. It's disappointing. We gave up some points we shouldn't have. At the same time, they scored when we gave them the opportunities. You can't take anything away from them. We got a couple turnovers, too, and didn't always capitalize."

Commenting on the fake, Callahan said, "It was my call. It didn't work, obviously, but nonetheless, it was still early enough in the ball game that if it didn't work and if it faltered, we were still in a good position we felt to come back, but things got discombobulated there. We fumbled the exchange, then lost some critical yardage, so that hurt us. We got behind the eight ball on the short field."

Nebraska wide receiver Maurice Purify notes that the Auburn defense gave the Cornhuskers some problems. "Our game plan was a little off," he said. "We thought they were going to throw us a lot of man (coverage). In the SEC, they played everybody man up so we didn't think they would change on us. They played a little bit more zone."

Commenting on why the Cornhuskers tried to run the ball more in the second half, the receiver said, "They've got a good pass rush. We just tried to slow them down and keep them honest with the run and pass so they just couldn't pin their ears back and just rush the quarterback."

Nebraska defensive end Adam Carriker picked up a sack and made four tackles. He says he thought his defense played well enough to win. "It's frustrating, but Auburn's got a good defense themselves," he said. "They played just as well against our offense. You have to give them credit. They held our offense out in the second half."

Cornerback Cortney Grixby said the setback to the 10th-ranked Tigers didn't do any damage to the Nebraska program. "We're right there," he said. "We're right where we want to be. We're going into the offseason with great enthusiasm. We've got high hopes for next year. We wanted to get the seniors out of here with a win and unfortunately that did not happen."

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