LINCOLN, Neb. — Junior linebacker Luke Gifford felt sick. Walking into the Nebraska locker room after losing to Northern Illinois 21-17, he knew it wouldn’t be easy. It wasn’t what he or his teammates envisioned.
It’s also not what fans envisioned. Nebraska was a 14-point favorite over Northern Illinois heading into the matchup, so the loss came as a shock to many on Saturday.
Gifford knows that, but his message to fans did not waver.
“We are going to keep busting our tails,” Gifford said after the loss. “There is a sense of urgency, and the standard here has not changed. Losing is not OK, and I know we got a group of guys that are going to work their tails off. It just makes you sick going into that locker room afterward, and it sucks. No one likes losing.
“So we are going to just keep working. We still have a lot of things ahead of us. We are going to take it game by game, play by play, and we are still going to work our tail off.”
Other notable comments by Nebraska players after the game
Senior fullback Luke McNitt on how he would describe the locker room:
“Guys are disappointed, obviously. But we came together; we had a good little talk. I think there’s not a lot of guys in that locker room that are going to go off and do their own thing or be negative for too long, so it’s about as good as it could be after a loss like that. But I’m proud of these guys; they didn’t quit. The way we came together in the locker room, I think it bodes well for us moving forward.”
Junior quarterback Tanner Lee on what he does as a leader to keep the team together:
“As captains, we have a job to keep everyone together. We’ve got a lot of the season left. It can go one of two ways, good or bad. We’re not going to get deterred with what we are trying to do, and we’re going to stay on track.”
Junior offensive lineman Jerald Foster on how to keep the team feeling motivated after the loss to Northern Illinois:
“We understand that first we have a lot more games to look forward to. Second, this is the nonconference games, so our ambitions for the Big Ten are still always open. It’s a hard game, but we are going to pull together and take it day by day. That’s what I got.”
Foster on his reaction to the crowd booing:
“I didn’t hear it.”