‘We embrace chaos’: Underdog Huskers looking to overcome Purdue
LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Nebraska has done what some fans believed to be unthinkable: win back-to-back conference games for the first time since 2018.
During a Tuesday press conference, Mickey Joseph had high praise for the team’s offense and defense against Rutgers.
“This is an explosive offensive team, and the defense is top 10, top 20. It’s a really good football team,” he said. “It’s a mature football team. They have done a really good job of keeping the kids in the program. That’s part of the reason why they’ve been successful.”
Joseph said he was proud of the players for finding a way to win, despite being down 13 at halftime.
But he believes the team can continue improving.
This includes the Huskers’ offensive line, which allowed one sack and three tackles for loss against the Scarlet Knights’ defense.
“We’ve got to get them some help with the play-calling and the protections, all of that,” Joseph said. “And we have to make sure we have our best five on the field.”
But Joseph didn’t go without giving the line some compliments.
“They just have to continue to work. I think that they are really good run-blockers, but they can also pass-block,” he said.
Nebraska’s O-line was able to give quarterback Casey Thompson enough time to throw touchdown passes to Travis Vokolek and Trey Palmer to secure the win.
During Scott Frost’s tenure as head coach, winning close games or coming back from deficits wasn’t common.
But down by two scores at halftime on Saturday, the Huskers knew changes needed to be made.
Mickey said the players went into the locker room saying they were going to come back out and win the game despite the abysmal first half.
“They had a short memory,” he said. “They know we are going to get it to the fourth quarter, and we are going to finish. They did it on their own.”
Joseph said there is a 24-hour rule when it comes to celebrating wins.
“We celebrated for 24 hours, and then we came in Sunday and we get back on it Monday,” he said. “It’s about preparing. I know we all talk about momentum, but there really is no such thing as momentum because you can have momentum and get your butt whooped.”
Now the team prepares for the Purdue Boilermakers, who are 4-2 after a 2-point win over Maryland.
So far this season, the Boilermakers’ only losses have come in close games against No. 10 Penn State (35-31) and No. 18 Syracuse (32-29).
Saturday’s game could be detrimental for Nebraska, which is looking to go to its first conference championship game since 2012.
Nebraska is currently in a three-way tie for the Big Ten West division with Purdue and Illinois.
Joseph said he doesn’t personally know Jeff Brohm, who has led the Boilermakers since 2017.
“I don’t know him personally, but I know he’s a really good football coach,” he said. “He’s a really good play-caller, and he’s doing a really good job at Purdue.”
Joseph also spoke about Purdue’s six-year quarterback, Aidan O’Connell.
“He don’t make mistakes,” he said. “The ball is always in the area code; it’s always around the body. He runs that offense well.”
Joseph did assure the team that nobody will be winning the division on Saturday. He said the job is to go 1-0 this week.
“We aren’t looking down the line; we are looking straight at Purdue,” he said. “The most important thing is Wednesday practice.”
Nebraska will travel once again for Saturday’s game, marking the third trip of the season.
Joseph complimented the Huskers on doing a great job in front of what he called Rutgers’ “so-called” sellout crowd.
“Let’s be real about it: It wasn’t a sellout,” he said. “We are hoping Purdue has a sellout because at the end of the day, we embrace playing in a hostile environment. We embrace chaos, and the kids really get their focus.”
Nebraska will face Purdue in West Lafayette, Indiana, at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday. The game will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.