Bruce Thorson, USA Today Sports

Nebraska/Purdue Post: Mike Riley

Get the transcripts of head coach Mike Riley after the win over Purdue.

Opening Statement

"All right, this will sound like a little bit of a broken record. We are extremely happy to win the game. My feelings are Purdue came here and played hard and their intentions were to win. I think their quarterback is a real good player. He made plays, so did their team. We struggled in a lot of ways and we just had to stay with it. I thought we did settle down after the first quarter. Defensively we gave up big plays, it didn't look very good in the first quarter. We became more consistent defensively as the game went on. Offensively, it was hit or miss all day. Not enough consistency, but enough plays to score and win the game."

 

On the offensive line

"It was probably a decision that was talked about as late as this morning. We're pretty thin there right now, but we're not going to talk about that too much because when we go out there we expect to look better than that and play better than that as a group, have some more consistency. I'm hoping that we will feel better and get healthier as we go. We'll have to look at it closely. (David) Knevel has now started to come out of three games in a row, so we've got to look at all of that pretty hard."

 

On the play calling

"I think that it really hurts what has been kind of the formula. The recipe for this team when we gain one yard or none on the first down. We were doing so well on third-down conversions as late as a couple of weeks ago. As we all know, that's a great stat, but it's also a product of doing pretty good on 1st-and-10. If you can gain five or six yards on first down, it changes the opportunity a lot more to be a better third down team. It just looks better. We were always just struggling today, it felt like to me. I do appreciate how we do struggle and how we eventually have enough in us to make some plays to win the game, and it's just kind of glimpses to me of how good we could be if we could just find a little more consistency, I think in the running game primarily. We can do the rest of it. We just have to be better. We have been disrupted there a little bit through the injuries with that group, but I think everybody has that from time to time."

 

On the wide receivers

"I think that this is really a good group when you talk about our receiving corps and you include all of those guys, I think that's appropriate. I think besides being a good group of people that can make plays, it is in that area of catching passes and making plays. It is our deepest area on the team. It would not normally be very easy to fill in for Jordan Westerkamp and Cethan Carter and make it look like football at all. But, we have enough guys that can make plays that we can do that. I really like this group."

On running the ball:

“We did want to run the ball, but I don’t know about more. Things got a little better as we went, and we did some plays that were nice looking. But those came late, there was no consistency early, there was nothing that we didn’t say, okay this is what we can rely on."

 

On special teams:

"I think that we had a very nice day on special teams. We had the one great rugby punt that went down to the one, we had a nice kickoff return. I don’t know how we almost got that last punt blocked. That really bothers me. And we changed the protection out, and I think the kids went back to what they had in the gameplan earlier in the game. We should have just stayed with it and punted it, and we would have been fine. I just hated seeing that. But overall, special teams was pretty good."

 

On playing Wisconsin next week:

"I think it will be great for our team and great for our league. All those pieces that you get to when you play later in the year, when there’s a little more definition of who the teams are. We’re heading into the third quarter area of the season, so it’s one of those games that is between two teams who have done well. It will be good.

 

On the defense:

"We played really well, and we played smart. Purdue leads the league in passing yardage, and they’re second to last in running yardage, so we played better to their strengths as the game went on. We certainly didn’t early. We gave up a monster 90-yard pass play. So you’re playing right up their alley. The one thing you cannot do with a team like that is give up big plays, and then we start the game like that. That play is what really caused everything to be like it was for so long. That pumped them up totally and gave them some confidence. Had we been able to do more early, we might not have had to go through all that we did. I’m still proud of our guys. I think we still play our best ball as the game goes on, and we did what we had to do to win in the second half and fourth quarter of the game."


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