Sarkisian/Pelini Post-Game Quotes

LINCOLN, Neb. - Here are the post-game quotes from Washington Head Coach Steve Sarkisian and Nebraska Head Coach Bo Pelini, after the Cornhuskers defeated UW 51-38 in front of a sellout crowd Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium.

Steve Sarkisian Post-Game Quotes:
Opening Statement - "Well, I think first of all I'm proud of our football team for battling and competing and showing resolve. I think we could have easily cashed it in there when the game started to get out of hand. I thought our kids competed, and I thought they competed for four quarters - and I'm proud of them for that.

"But the reality of it is - we had a complete meltdown in the third quarter where I think we lost our composure for a bit. We got rattled. We got called for the interference on the returner, which I don't know. The guy caught the ball, we tackled him; I don't know how that's interference, but I'll get a definition of the rule. Then we drop a kickoff and they get it on the one-yard line to score again, and then we get the ball and go down the field and have a fourth-and-two and don't convert. And that sequencing of plays in the third quarter I thought was really the difference in the ball game.

"Obviously there were other things that occurred within there, but a lot of self-inflicted wounds. Take nothing away from Nebraska; they are a great football team and well-coached. But you can't be offsides on a kickoff and then re-kick and have the guy return it 75 yards, or whatever it was. Things like that, that we had talked about…I thought we were prepared for - obviously prepared for play-action pass to start the game, and let a guy behind us right off the bat…one of the huge coaching points of the game. So we've got to do a better job of that.

"But with that being said, I like the way we competed against a good football team on their turf, and we have to get right. Pac-12 play is next week."

On Price - "I think emotionally he's a little distraught. I think he really battled and competed tonight. But physically, he's sore. He's playing with a knee that's not 100 percent, and he took a couple pretty good shots, but nothing that's any worse than what it was coming into the game."

On if he thought about bringing Montana in when it looked like Price was hurt - "No. He wanted to stay and he's a battler - and I think there's something to be said about that."

On injuries - "Nothing really serious. Jesse (Callier) we think his hamstring was tight, and it's right behind his knee…we think it's a hamstring. Chris (Polk) had a little calf tightness. Princeton Fuimaono is probably the most serious…he got stepped on the lower part of his shin, top of his foot, and it swelled up pretty good. So we'll have to assess that, but the rest of them are not considered serious injuries."

On if Sankey being in the game because Callier was injured - "Normally…yes. That's pretty obvious."

On giving up a lot of yards through the air to the first two teams, and then giving up over 300 yards rushing to NU today - "I don't know. We'll have to try and figure it out, what we're doing scheme-wise, or who we're playing…everything that's going on. They are a good team, and they tax you in many ways. Another mobile quarterback again…but that didn't seem to hurt us as much as some of the other guys. But they are a good team. We knew that they were a good offensive football team; we knew it would be a challenge with their up-tempo, no-huddle stuff. We felt like, coming in, offensively we could do some things moving the ball…but the game went the way it went. They wore us down pretty good there, a couple of those drives at the very end in the third and fourth quarters where it took its toll on our guys."

On the halftime message - "It's a three-point game, going into the second half on the road…this is where we want to be. We can't ask for much more than this - being on the road in a great college environment for football…and let's go play. Let's go finish. We felt good about getting the ball to start the second half with the things that we had done in the first half…and we just didn't perform in the third quarter."

On the meltdown being more shellshock - "I don't know…we get stopped, we punt. I think we got caught up a little too much in the call of the interference of the catcher, but we'll get an explanation of the ruling. I felt like the guy caught the ball, and we tackled him. I don't quite understand that. So we'll get an explanation on that…I still think we were caught up in the emotion of that flag being thrown, and maybe a call earlier in the game where the ball bounced off their guy's foot and we recover it and don't get that ball…so we got caught up too much in things we don't have any control over. We can't control when flags are called or not called; we got caught too much in that. In the meantime, Nebraska was playing sound football and getting after us."

On the first penalty on the punt at the end of the first half not being reviewable - "It is not reviewable."

On the explanation he got on that call - "They said our guy interfered with their returner."

On if the play was called on Cort Dennison - "They didn't give me a number."

On Chris Polk, and what they got out of the run game - "I thought they were OK. They're a good front; they've got two great defensive tackles and a good defensive end and an All-American linebacker. They're a good football team, and I thought we found a little something in there to get it going, but I would have obviously liked it to have been even better to balance out what we were doing. So we'll continue to assess that."

On taking more good than bad from this game - "At the end of it all - sure. I think there was a handful of plays that could have swung the game in either direction. Some of which were self-inflicted, but some of which maybe I don't agree with the call - that's neither here nor there…so a lot of good. A lot of it is our kids competed and battled in the fourth quarter and made this thing very interesting. So we're a team that has spirit..which is a lot better than not, and we're a team that knows how to compete. We've just got to fix some things. And we'll do that."

On guys like Sione Potoae and Danny Shelton not doing enough in practice to get playing time - "I don't know. We'll have to assess it as to why it's happening and why we're not getting them in as much and where the issues are. We'll see."

On the decision with struggling to call the onside kicks in the fourth quarter - "Yeah I did, sure I did. We kicked it deep on the previous one and they went down the field…we thought with their alignment before on the first one that we had a chance…so we went with it, the pop-over to Jermaine (Kearse). It was a bang-bang play. Hindsight's 20-20…tell Jermaine to wait to see if the guy catches it or not, and if he drops it like he did Jermaine's right there… all that stuff is hard to coach off of, or hindsight's 20-20 and you kick it deep and play defense. The last onside kick, I just felt we had to give ourselves a chance, and it paid off for us, we got the stop on fourth down, but unfortunately we couldn't capitalize."

On the penalty on the sidelines - "I think that was on all of us for screaming."

On the excessive celebration penalty - "I don't understand it. I'm going to get an explanation on the rule, I don't understand it. It's the first one called on us since I've been here, and I don't quite understand it. I felt like it was a spontaneous, genuine celebration with a guy scoring a touchdown and celebrating with his teammates. I don't understand it, but I'll find out. I'll ask."


Bo Pelini Post-Game Quotes:
Opening Statement - "It was a good win. A good win for our football team, and I'm excited about being 3-0. I just told this team, the beautiful part about it is there's a lot more out there for us. We can get a lot better in every phase. I'm seeing some progress, we just need a little bit more consistency. I think our young guys are coming of age a little bit in some areas. That's a good win against a pretty good football team. They threw a lot at us."

On if he learned anything about his team, especially after halftime - "Absolutely. I thought that the two-minute drill at the end of the first half - taking the lead to go into the half and then carrying the momentum into the third quarter. I love the way we came out as a football team to start the second half. I don't like the way we finished. Defensively, I thought we relaxed a little bit. We did a couple boneheaded things there at the end. I like where we are right now. We're 3-0, and the process continues. We'll keep getting better, there's no question in my mind."

On the five-minute span that began the third quarter - "I love their approach with the way we came out. We came out, we wanted to make a statement. We talked about it in the locker room - to come out and impose our will on those guys to start the second half. I thought our defense responded well, with getting a three-and-out and then our offense took the ball right down there and scored. That was a big way to start the second half. Like I said, that's a good football team we played out there today. I have a lot of respect for them."

On the play of the offense - "Absolutely I thought it was a good mix. I thought we spread them out. I thought we had them guessing all day. I thought that Coach (Tim) Beck called a great game. There was physicality. We ran the ball at them, we threw the ball, we kept them off-balance. We execute like that, it's pretty hard to defend us. We've got some guys that can make plays, there's no doubt about that."

On the improvement of the offensive line - "I thought they played really good out there today. I thought we controlled the line of scrimmage. I thought we ran hard, I thought our backs ran hard. That's a good combination."

On his thoughts on the play of the defense - "You know, they threw a lot at us. That put us out of position at times. They gave us a lot of things that were different, that we weren't quite expecting. But yeah, tackling could be better. I thought we responded well early. I thought they kind of had us reeling a little bit early. I thought some of our young guys got a little bit out of sorts. But then I thought we settled down. I thought we did a good job up until early in the fourth quarter. I thought once we kind of settled in, we were OK. We kind of withstood the onslaught, and we knew it was going to be that way. We knew they were going to run their script and they were going to give us some things that were different. I think our guys, especially defense, might have been a littled too keyed up to start the game. You gotta find that happy medium. Like I said, I thought we settled down and played pretty good football for a while. Obviously, the short fields at the end of the game didn't help us. I didn't call a great game in the fourth quarter. I thought they were going to come out and start throwing the football, so I kind of turned our D-line loose a little bit and was saying, 'OK, go ahead, run the ball.' If we would've just tackled better, I thought we could just use some clock. I didn't really care about points at that point."

On the play of the running backs - "Yeah, I love the way Rex (Burkhead) ran today. I thought Aaron (Green) ran great, I thought Braylon (Heard) did some nice things. I feel good about our backs. You saw that fullback carrying today, that was pretty special. (Tyler) Legate looking like John Riggins going down the right-hand side. It was pretty cool. Like I said, I'm pretty happy about the win. I'm looking forward to the evening off."

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