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Frost says Michigan State win part of ‘special season’ for seniors

November 19, 2018

Nebraska coach Scott Frost addressed the media after the Huskers’ 9-6 win over Michigan State. Check out a transcript below, as provided courtesy of the Nebraska athletic department.

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On happiness on today’s win

“Good teams figure out how to win any kind of game, and that’s a different kind of game that I have been apart of as a coach, winning a game with no touchdowns. I am so happy for the seniors, so happy for the Blackshirts. Some of these games we’ve won, we’ve been winning on offense, and it was great to see the defense step up today.”

On difficulties with wind and injuries

“Basically, it was one play away. That was not a good day for offensive football. That hurt both offenses. They’re really good on defense. We had a lot of stuff, kind of, game planned for them. We couldn’t run a bunch of it, especially in two of the quarters when you’re going into the wind. They’re really good against the run. It’s hard to sustain drives against them. But, we knew going into halftime, with the score what it was, it was one play somewhere to get us down there. I thought it would be a touchdown, ended up being a three field goals. Give a ton of credit to them. They have a disciplined, well-coached team that plays their butts off. They’ve been bit by the injury bug and certainly aren’t as complete of a team as they could’ve been. That’s November football. We have a couple hurt too, but I give a lot of credit to Coach (Mark) Dantonio’s staff.”

On team’s grit and grind

“Every week I have been coaching them, I think there is a little more fight. Today was certainly the most I’ve seen. I haven’t seen these guys quit. I’ve seen them keep practicing better and better. I’ve seen them keep playing harder. I’ve seen them come together better as a team. That’s a hard game to win. It would’ve been even harder to lose. Our guys had to stick with it. Offensively, we had to keep grinding and the defense had to keep coming up with stops. They found a way to get it done.”

On Barret Pickering and Isaac Armstrong

“Two of the unsung heroes, I don’t know if it’s unsung with Barret (Pickering), but two of the heroes today were Barret Pickering and Isaac Armstrong. Some of the punts that he hit into the wind made a difference in field position. It was a field-position game. Barret hitting the two field goals, I had enough confidence in him at that point to let him go out and try a long one, and he buried it. It turned out to be the difference. So, you could pick about a dozen guys on our team that have gotten just infinitely better as the year has gone along, and those guys are kind of representative of our whole team.”

On toughness

“Toughness is mentality I think. It’s also easy to be tough when you care more. I think both of those things have gotten better.”

On Antonio Reed

“Antonio (Reed) is another one. He was kind of up and down at the beginning of the year. He is certainly one of the most talented guys we have on defense. But, talent doesn’t matter if you’re not doing everything the right way, not in the right place. Antonio is that guy now, and it showed today. He was certainly the hero of our defense today. I couldn’t be happier for him on senior day, last game at Memorial Stadium. That’s a great way to go out. So, my hat’s off to Antonio.”

On realizing when wind became a factor

“Probably warm ups. I laid in bed last night with my fingers crossed and hands folded in prayer, hoping that we’d be able to throw it. Going into the game, I think they were giving up 270 a game in the passing game, or something, 70 yards rushing. I knew it would make it harder on us if we weren’t able to throw. We tried to come out in the first drive and just run our offense. It was pretty obvious after that, that we had to flip the script on our game plan. Again, a lot of credit to them. That’s as good of a run defense as we’re going to play, and on a day when it’s tough for offenses, that’s not a team you want to play.”

On the team’s improvement

“I told the guys in the locker room if from a coaching standpoint, or pretty much on everything, I guess, the team could’ve started the season where it is right now, that would’ve been a funny act. Some of the growing things we had to go through were necessary, and I’m crushed for the seniors we couldn’t get that done quicker. This team has been through so much and to be where it is right now and have the second half of the season it’s been having, it makes it really special. And I think the seniors will probably look back on this and think it was a pretty special season after all.”

On what he did with the game ball

“I didn’t ask for the ball, somebody came up and handed it to me. But I probably won’t give it back to equipment.”

On senior running back Devine Ozigbo

“Devine has been that guy for us since the Purdue game that we can hand the ball to, and he’ll get tough yards, he’s going to make plays… we needed one first down. And we were in that situation a couple of other times particularly at the Northwestern game, we didn’t get a first down, and we had to punt and lost the game. The offensive line did a great job blowing a couple of holes open and he got it. I thought (freshman running back) Mo (Washington) ran hard today, made a couple of big plays for us. The guys are just playing with more courage, more toughness, more passion and that’s a lot of fun to coach.”

On the seniors

“Seniors stepped up big today. Antonio (Reed), Tre (Neal), Jerald (Foster) and Tanner (Farmer) on the offensive line, Stanley (Morgan Jr.) broke a record today. Awesome to see, he deserves everything he gets. Just a bunch of guys, Devine (Ozigbo) going over 1,000 yards (on the season), some of these seniors are the guys that are carrying this. I couldn’t be more happier for them and the success we’re having at the end.”

On Michigan State’s playing style

“I kind of thought going into the game it’d be a throw-to-run game, not a run-to-throw game, just because of their style. We just kind of had to keep grinding, and particularly in the first and third quarters, when we were against the wind, we just kind of had to bide our time and try to get where we could open up a little bit. When the fourth quarter hit, we took a few chances and tried to throw a few shots on them, hit a couple and that led to some points. Again, I’ve got a ton of respect for them. They’re not who they want to be on offense right now because they’ve had so many injuries. It’d have probably been a different game if everyone was on the field, it would’ve helped them… certainly would’ve helped us and some other guys. But that’s a really good team and a well-coached team.”

On a tough sequence in the fourth quarter and kicking the ball against the wind at half

“Yeah, definitely. Those are decisions you have to make, and I thought it’d be a close enough game that we’d want to win in the fourth quarter. I knew we had to survive the third (quarter), and then (freshman kicker) Barrett (Pickering) came out and kicked it to the end zone into the wind. That was a big way to start the half. So, sometimes those same decisions work out, sometimes they don’t work out.”

On the pre-game ceremony and former Husker Sam Foltz

“The pre-game ceremony was touching. I didn’t know Sam, I know his family well now. I was actually in Western Nebraska with a couple of friends when the news came over on the radio, so I was back in Nebraska when I heard. Boy, everything you hear about Sam is not just how good of a player he was, but how good of a person he was. Coach Mark Dantonio said the same thing about the other young man (Mike Sadler). Lives that end too soon, it’s a tragedy. So, we’re sorry to see that happen, but it was pretty special what they did for him on the field today.”

On JD Spielman

“We knew coming in this morning that he wasn’t ready.”

On keeping emotions under control on Senior Day

“I don’t think that’s one of our problems other than being smart when you get angry on the field, so we don’t get any dumb penalties. But, aside from that, I think we just play with more emotion. Having the inspiration of playing for some of these guys added to our emotion today and our energy, and that might’ve been the difference.”

On Noah Vedral

“He’s just got a little strain, but it’ll be alright.”

Stanley Morgan

Senior, wide receiver

On if he has ever experienced a game with this type of weather

“I don’t think I’ve ever played in a game with snow like this. It was crazy. It was fun though.”

On what the conversation was like in the huddle before the fourth quarter

“Just finishing it out and being proud of the young guys. These guys stuck it out all senior day for us and sent us out with a bang.”

On if it has hit him yet that this was his final game at Memorial Stadium

“It hit me. We have one more (game) so I have to focus on practicing. Get the win out after tonight and focus on the next week.”

On if J.D. Spielman said anything to him before the game

“He just encouraged me off the field. He watched out for the corners and coaching me up on the field.”

On the fourth quarter play that set the team up for the field goal

“I just saw the coverage, cover 2. I came in, set up a route for my boy Reem (Brian Reimers) to come out. I saw the safety shoot out to him and I just straightened it up and got to my landmark.”

On how important that play was to the offense

“It was very important. You saw the conditions, we weren’t able to throw the ball as much as we could so big plays were huge.”

On watching the defense close the game for the team

“I’m extremely proud of the Blackshirts. These guys played good all year, I mean you have Luke (Gifford) and Mo (Mohamed Barry) and (Antonio) Reed, man he played out of his mind today. You gotta give those guys credit.”

On if this is the type of weather he hoped for his final game at Memorial Stadium

“Oh no, but it’s a memorable moment. It was pretty cool to go out in the snow in the bad weather and get a win. It was cool.”

On if he thought about the record during the game

“I was thinking about it a little bit with the weather and stuff.”

On what it feels like to have more receptions than any other receiver in Nebraska history

“It’s amazing. I have to give props to all the guys that did it before me. Those guys paved the way for me so it’s amazing to go out there and get that record and to have Kenny (Bell) tell me to go get it. It was crazy.”

On if he’s happy he came back for his senior year

“Absolutely.”

On Senior Day

“I know it’s senior night, going out with that win, it’s the young guys. The young guys played for us. That’s amazing to see youth in your brothers. That’s amazing.”

Antonio Reed

Senior, safety

On if his performance made it a fun game

“I think it was more credited to the rest of the defense. Seeing them jump around made me more energized and had me making plays I made today, so I give credit to them.”

On how he and the team has stuck with it this season after a tough start

“It’s been a lot of ups and downs, but the leadership on our team, I guess they helped me get through it more than anything with the current leadership, from the lack of leadership we had. I think that’s where it’s come from.”

On if the condition of his shoulder has improved

“Actually, it did. It was something [that] I knew how I felt the day you asked me [earlier this week], and I just wanted you to basically wait and find out and come out to see how I was going to be.”

On how it felt to win in a defensive struggle in his last game with snow falling

“I’d say, back to what [Devine] Ozigbo said, it was like a movie and honestly it was. It’s nothing I ever played in but it’s something I wish I played in. So just being in the area today and the scenery of Memorial Stadium and feeling the energy from all the fans, it felt amazing.”

On his reaction to freshman kicker Barret Pickering’s career-long field goal that provided the winning points

“Actually, I didn’t have a reaction on the outside, but on the inside I was jumping for joy. It was something we always practiced, so I figured, Barret, that’s his job so he’s going to do it. We congratulated him on the sideline. We were very excited for him, but it’s something we planned on happening. We just went out there and executed it.”

On if he knew he’d be unblocked for his strip sack

“Actually, I didn’t. The right tackle actually was looking out at me, and then he looked away for a split second right when the ball snapped. So that’s when I went. I never could’ve envisioned it, but I’m happy with the way it ended.

Luke Gifford

Senior, linebacker

On his experience today

“I don’t know if we put together a game quite like that yet this year and couldn’t have come on a better day. We knew the offense was going to need us a little bit today. It’s tough conditions, a good defense. So yeah we knew what we were going to have to do coming into the game. We played really hard. A couple runs got away from us, I got beat on a wheel route, but we stood up as a defense, got stops when we needed them and that’s what it’s all about.”

On keeping his composure during a chippy game

“It’s just emotional you know. It is what it is just kind of let it roll off your back and keep going. There’s a lot of game left especially at that time and I don’t know what the calls were I don’t know if it should have went our way or what. I was happy with the way every one responded. That’s how it’s going to be in a Big Ten physical game. You get going like that, crowd’s crazy, it’s emotional, and it’s kind of what you expect.”

On Antonio Reed’s sack

“It was huge. Just you know telling them this is our opportunity. We got them the ball and Antonio made a great play. Man, Antonio balled out today. He played really well I’m really proud of him, it was fun to watch those guys today, they played well in the secondary.”

On if he feels comfortable leaving the team where it is at now

“I’m really glad we won today. It’s really easy to say things are moving in the right direction but without the actions and the results, it’s kind of hard to believe. So getting a win today and doing it like that. Coming out, playing hard on both sides of the ball in an old-fashioned game in front of our fans. The whole set up, I think it kind of shows where this program is going and I’m super excited for these guys. They’re going to win a lot of games, we got a big one next week that we are excited for so we still have another one left, but there are going to be a lot of won games in the future here.”

On if he soaked in his last game coming off the field

“Yeah, I tried to soak it in even these last couple of weeks I’ve been thinking about it and I knew today that I wanted to take it in and even watch the tribute they had going on coming off the field. The whole scene, it’s snowing, everyone is still in the stadium going crazy and I’ve dreamt of that since I was a little kid. So I wanted to take in everything that I could, put it in my mind and just remember it. I don’t have any regrets here. I’m excited for the way that we’re leaving this program and it’s been a heck of a ride but we have one more.”

On what Coach Chinander said to the defense

“He just told us great job. I think that’s what we’ve been searching for as a defense all year. A complete game. Obviously, there were a couple of plays here and there that the got us but at the end of the day, we got the stops when we needed them and that’s what it’ all about so yeah it was huge. I’m really happy for Coach Chinander, they’ve (coaches) been working their butts off and so have we and to finally put it together now is pretty cool.”

Devine Ozigbo

Senior, running back

On running against Michigan State’s No. 1-ranked rushing defense

“The holes were closing fast today, faster than the average team. Those guys had very good pursuit on every level. It was very tough, when you see a crease you have to hit it as fast as you can because they are going to come fill it.”

On beating Michigan State at ‘its own game’

“I’d say it shows a lot. This team has gone through a lot and that’s one thing that’s toughened us up. The leadership we have has definitely toughened us up. It definitely helped us through everything. This style of game is not something we’ve had to play. We knew that if we had to play this way that we’d be able to get it done.”

On what the team said in the huddle with 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter

“The wind was a big thing, now we can open up and get back to our game a little bit. Throwing the ball, using the wind to our advantage. It’s kind of tough to throw it into the wind, you have to have some guts. That definitely helped us and it opened up our offense.”

On if he sensed a shift in momentum during the fourth quarter

“I think after Barret hit his second field goal and tied it up, I think the attitude was a little more eager. We were like ‘alright, we get the ball, we get up, we got this game in the bag.’ Our defense was playing well, let’s get out there and get some points. Honestly, the (defense) got what they deserved, they played well today.”

On the Husker defense

“It was kind of fun to see the defense play the way they’ve been capable of all year. These guys have been making plays, practicing hard, making plays all year. For the most part they’ve done a good job, but this is the first time I’ve seen them play a complete game from start to finish and shut everything down. They played lights out.”

On the play of senior safety Antonio Reed

“Antonio is a spirited being, he likes to talk a lot in practice. These guys came at us early, so we just adapted and Antonio thrived in that situation.”

On if he saw early on it was going to be a tough game

“I kind of had the idea, but that’s what set it off for me. I definitely expect that coming in, but I quickly found out that’s how it was going to be.”

On walking off the Memorial Stadium field for the final time

“That was nice, I was talking to Wyatt [Mazour], it was like a scene out of a movie. I got my last look after the game as a player. I had to take it all in, I saw my brother, hugged him and sprinted into the locker room. It was special. It’s hard to explain.”

Barret Pickering

Freshman, kicker

On if he knew he’d score every point for Nebraska

“I had no idea, but today was a good day. I’d like to mention the Sadlers and the Foltzes. Today was about them, this was a game for them, and definitely I’d like to [dedicate] my performance to Mike and Sam out there. It means a lot that I go out there and represent them well.”

On what has changed since the Northwestern game

“Definitely just trusting what I do and having fun out there and just believing in myself.”

On his game-winning field goal

“We just went out there like we do for any other kick. We just cleared off the ground to make sure we’d get a good ball off. We just played a little bit of wind and hoped it would go in.”

On the influence of the wind on his last kick

“For that one it was kind of on a diagonal, so it was left to right. We ended at the left post and let it carry back into the middle.”

On if he knew it would be good

“Once I saw it moving back right, I knew it was going in on that one.”

On what Coach Frost said to him before his last kick

“Honestly, not a whole lot. Just have faith in myself and go out there and do my thing.”

On if he has kicked in snow before

“I have not. This is my first time playing in the snow.”

On his thoughts of playing in snow

“It was a little cold out there, I’m not going to lie.”

On how tough the conditions were

“It was definitely a pretty strong wind out there and it’s not the easiest thing when the ground is frozen, so stuff like that.”

Adrian Martinez

Freshman, quarterback

On what the team did to continue drives in tough conditions

“Just perseverance. Not quitting, not getting frustrated. Especially talking about myself. There were conditions but can’t make excuses, just have to trying to execute the things that we do well and find a way to win.”

On if he wore gloves during the game

“I’m not a glove guy. I mean just a keep my hands warm type of guy.”

On how he stayed warm throughout the game

“It’s really a testament to our equipment guys. We have heaters on the sideline, big coats, and any time we were on the sideline, even kind of, there was one of those guys running over, putting a coat on me. I had a hand warmer, it’s gone now I don’t know how but it’s gone. It’s a big thanks to those guys. I didn’t have a moment in the game where I really felt my hands were cold.”

On if the wind was a big help on offense

“I think going with the wind was definitely a big advantage, but I think our mindset was the same. Just attack, we know what we’re capable of and just be confident and try and score points one way or the other. Find a way to win.”

On the last snap of the game that he had to jump for

“There’s a guy behind me so. It would have been okay either way I think but obviously it was snowing, it was tough conditions there and just had to make a catch and go down quick. Luckily it worked out.”

On what it says about the offense to change from a pass heavy game plan to a run heavy

“I think it says a lot about our team in general. The defense coach Chins (Chinander) did a great job of putting us in some really good situations. Special teams played great and our offense. We did what we needed to, to win. I’m really proud of those guys for pushing through and we played for each other today. We found a way.”

On Barret Pickering

“Barret’s my roommate so I know him pretty well. Happy for the guy, so happy for him. Really came through for us, kick off, did a good job, and obviously the field goals, gave us all our points. I’m really happy for him and credit to Isaac Armstrong and the whole special teams unit there.”

On what he said to him after the field goals

“I don’t even know if he heard me, I think he got carried into the locker room so.. Just happy for him. I’ll talk to him more tonight obviously, but really great team win. Just really happy for the seniors and a lot of guys that we pulled this off.”

On Devine Ozigbo’s performance

“Michigan State has a very solid run defense and defense overall. There’s some tough hitters and Devine didn’t back down. He ran hard especially when we needed him too and at the end there. You know, our guys knew we needed one first down. I think we wanted it more at the end of the game and Devine just put his head down and ran as hard as he could for us.”

On when he sensed that they wanted it more than Michigan State

“From the beginning we wanted this game. It meant a lot to us to send our seniors out right and it wasn’t easy it was tough and we played for each other. At the end there the defense came up with a big stop, offense got a first down to put the game away and you could tell we were fighting, we wanted that game. Really happy we pulled it out.”

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