Nebraska coach Mike Riley addressed the media following Nebraska’s 36-28 victory against Southern Mississippi.

Opening Statement
“Well, I guess it’s really true, it’s never easy. I think everyone gets an overall picture of what that game was. We played pretty well early but we didn’t capitalize in the red zone with touchdowns. What might have been different point-wise even with scoring the number of times we did, the point differential wasn’t very big and those things can’t… It seems like those things are destined to come back and haunt you. Then we get into that game where that team on offense grew in confidence with what they were doing and could do as the game went on.They’ve been very productive coming into this game, then they just got that rhythm of what they saw they could work on and get and made some great plays and got back in it. Fortunately, we made enough plays to either gain field position or score that one last time that we did. We could’ve used more points out of those early opportunities. At the same time, Drew Brown did a nice job obviously in that first half, too.

On how hard they made it for themselves today

“It appeared very hard. Then I think it stems from letting that game get as close as it did and giving them life. All of a sudden, it was 22-0 then one score and it just doesn’t look that bad for them. That’s the kind of game we were in with them. We had a number of penalties again that I’ll have to look at all those in particular. We had some suprisingliy interesting calls, I thought.” 

On field goals this week after Miami kicked five on us last week

“When you’re on the other side of the coin, you celebrate that. That’s a job well done. It’s kind of a victory for the defense when that happens and that’s what kept us motivated in getting stronger in the Miami game. We were a victim of that today.”

On second half performance

“They gained confidence and momentum. We weren’t quite as active or maybe not in that attack mode on offense, but we still made enough nice plays offensively as the game went on that at least got us field position or points again. That made the difference.”

On senior fullback Andy Janovich’s performance

“He is a really good football player and had one of the best special teams game I’ve seen just about ever a week ago. He’s just a good all-around player. He’s obviously versatile. He can catch. He can run. He’ll run down on kicks and he’ll block on kick returns. That’s what you have to do in the whole coaching world, is utilize the talent you have, and Andy’s a good player. I don’t know if every game running-wise will work out like that for our fullback, but it certainly was good today.” 

On the Southern Miss special teams

“On the onside kick, that was not necessarily a surprise for us. As a matter of fact, they do this a lot. It’s a standard procedure for them. Onside kicks, pooch kicks. I’ll have to look at that on film. It looked strange to me from where we were. I don’t know if the ball just bounced over our guys’ head or we were out-flanked by somebody over there, or what happened exactly. That’s where if you’re in that kickoff return formation, which is normal kickoff return, and we go six up, a lot of people go five up. We do it so we can get a good coverage of the field that way. We feel good about that if it is a surprise situation. But obviously we didn’t make the play so on the last one, I told Bruce (Read) to go with our hands team and that’s the one they just dribbled down the field and Jordan (Westerkamp) recovered it. We had to make some choices on that. They’re very good at that. There’s an art to that onside kick, and he’s really good at it. We failed to make the play. We adjusted as the game went on and they didn’t try it again like that, but we had the thing covered pretty well when they did just dribble it down the middle.” 

On running time off of the clock late in the end

“I’m going to have to check that. Maybe it was as we got better field position that I was really making note of him (Tommy Armstrong Jr.).”

On the most hopeful thing he sees for the team and what concerns him the most

“I think that there is quite a bit of positive stuff. I think we lost our consistency running the ball today, but we run the ball pretty well. And I think we gained quite a few yards at the end of the day – 600 or something yards, which is a good day. So I think we can be productive. I don’t know exactly, Tommy (Armstrong) was 23 for 35.”

On penalties

“That is what I’m going to have to examine. There was a formation deal at the end that really hurt us and what happened was Jordan (Westerkamp) went into motion before everybody was set. So that was one of those. Some of those other ones we’ll have to look at and examine. Of course we want to clean everyone of them up. Some of them are technically, I don’t know, they called pass interference on Josh Kalu down there when he intercepted the ball, that was kind of a bang-bang play to me. I’ve seen a million of those plays, 50 percent of them, it is one of those calls. You can judge that yourself. But the other parts of that we do need to clean up so that we don’t hurt ourselves.” 

On Josh Banderas being ready next weekend

“Well I think that we’ve had monumental work with people like Chris (Weber) and Luke Gifford that have stepped in at linebacker. And (Marcus) Newby did until he got hurt again today. Boy we are just really, really thin. I think Newby pulled a groin muscle.”

On how to improve the consistency in the ground game

“I think that part of it is is that you have to win the line of scrimmage. I thought earlier on we were, and then later on they were. We still hit some that were OK, but we weren’t getting the chunks that we were earlier.”

On if the tailbacks are seeing as well as he would like

“We can help them with a little bit of that stuff as they go. There were some times that it appeared to me that they could have used the cut-back lanes a little better than they did.”

On the takeaway with winning two non-conference games

“We are pleased. I told the team, we have to be pleased with winning the game. We can always look at all of the stuff that we will do, just like we did it in the two games we have lost. We’ve won a couple of games, and we have lost a couple of really close games, and now we are entering into the conference. We’ve been through a lot of different situations, which I hope will be very good learning for us as you stack your experiences up and hopefully get better.”