October 5, 2015

Coach and QB take blame for botched play

Mike Riley

Mike Riley

Nebraska coach Mike Riley and quarterback Tommy Armstrong both took responsibility for a pass play in the waning seconds of Saturday’s game at Illinois which allowed the Illini to get the ball with enough time to drive for the winning touchdown in a 14-13 victory over the Huskers.

Leading 13-7 with just over a minute left at the Illinois 28 and the Illini out of timeouts Riley called for a bootleg run on third down. Instead of running the ball and milking another 40 seconds off the clock, Armstrong tried to throw to Devine Ozigbo and the pass fell incomplete.

My thought and my idea, so it was a bad idea, was that we would run the quarterback on a bootleg sweep play and we would maybe gain some yards and eat more clock”, said Riley. “Obviously that was not a good thought so that is my responsibility.”

Armstrong faced an unblocked defender off the edge and says he should have taken the sack and let the clock run.

Tommy Armstrong Photo Courtesy Scott Bruhn/NU Media Relations

Tommy Armstrong
Photo Courtesy Scott Bruhn/NU Media Relations

“I was supposed to run the ball and I didn’t run the ball”, said Armstrong. “My mind set was that if I loose yards we may be out of field goal range so that is on me”.

The Huskers are 2-3 for the first time since 1959 as they prepare for this week’s game at home against Wisconsin.


Former Husker Fryar sentenced for mortgage fraud

Former Nebraska Husker wide receiver Irving Fryar has been sentenced to five years in prison for a mortgage scheme in which he and his mother provided false information to obtain loans.

Fryar’s mother, 74-year-old Allene McGhaee, has been sentenced to three years’ probation.

Both were convicted in August of using the same property as collateral on a number of mortgage loan applications.

According to prosecutors, Fryar and McGhee falsified their wages on the applications, at one point making the claim that McGhee earned thousands of dollars a month as the event coordinator for the church Fryar pastors. Prosecutors says the two made only token payments on four of the loans. The banks wrote off the loans as losses.

Fryar had claimed he was a victim of a con artist who devised the scheme. Williams Barkdale pleaded guilty last year to a conspiracy charge and was sentenced to 20 months in prison. He became the key witness in Fryar’s trial.

Fryar, who is 53, was the first pick in the 1984 NFL draft, selected by the New England Patriots. He also played for the Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, and Washington Redskins.

Fryar is the pastor of a church he founded.

Inability to Run Out the Clock Costs Huskers; fall to 2-3

Mike Riley

Mike Riley

On third and seven in the 4th quarter, Tommy Armstrong rolled to his right and threw an incomplete pass.  It was the Huskers’ 13th failed third down attempt of the day against Illinois, but this errant pass likely cost the Huskers the game.

Illinois took over after a failed fourth down attempt by Nebraska and marched down to the endzone for a game winning touchdown pass with just ten seconds left.  And with that drive, Nebraska fell to 2-3 for the first time since 1959.

Both the Huskers and Illini missed opportunities to score on several occasions. Illinois drove inside Nebraska’s 35 yard line three times in the first quarter alone, but came away with no points.  Nebraska’s offense couldn’t stay on the field, going 4 of 17 on third down conversions.

“We were not sharp converting,” said Mike Riley after the game. “Basically we had pretty good situations early… we just didn’t convert the intermediate to short stuff and that really hurt us getting any rhythm at all on offense.”

The final failed 3rd down try with less than one minute remaining in the game wasn’t intended to be a pass play.

“It was a designed quarterback run,” said Riley. “I think he just reacted with that pressure and instead of just taking the sack at that point he threw the ball.  Incomplete.”

Following the game, Riley also said he believes the team will rebound well from the loss with a good practice on Monday.  He said they’ve done that after the previous two losses in the 2015 season.

“You just come together as a team, that’s all we can do,” said linebacker Chris Weber. “Come together, play for each other, play for these coaches, keep preparing week in and week out like we know we should.”

The Huskers defense was improved throughout much of the game.  Illinois had just over 380 yards of offense in the game, but through the first three quarters didn’t have a point.  Nebraska used a Devine Ozigbo touchdown and two Drew Brown field goals to jump to a 13-0 lead, but the final fourteen points of the game were scored by Illinois, leaving Nebraska with a 14-13 defeat.

Nebraska returns home to host Wisconsin next Saturday at Memorial Stadium.  Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m.

Huskers open B1G race at Illinois

Mike Riley

Mike Riley

Nebraska opens the Big Ten Conference race with a visit to Illinois. The Huskers finished non conference play with a record of 2-2 and take on Illini squad that is 3-1.

After spending the past 12 years navigating the PAC-12 Conference this will be Husker coach Mike Riley’s first trip around the Big Ten.

“It’s both exciting for me and a little scary”, said Riley. “We did offseason study of these teams and we will basically apply all of that stuff and what we learn right now to each game, game by game.”

It is the Husker’s first visit to Champaign since 1986. With the Maryland-Michigan game moving to the morning, kickoff has been move back to 3:02p.m.


Return of Pierson-El would give Husker offense a boost

De'Mornay Pierson-El

De’Mornay Pierson-El

De’Mornay Pierson-El has returned to practice and may play in Nebraska’s Big Ten opener at Illinois on Saturday. The sophomore wide receiver and punt returner has been sidelined since suffering a broken foot in practice back on August 18th.

Junior quarterback Tommy Armstrong is looking forward to having an added weapon on offense.

“He’s one of the great players on this team and we’ve just got to make sure we are smart with him”, said Armstrong. We’re not sure when he is going to be 100 percent.”

Pierson-El earned freshman All-American honors in 2014 when he returned three punts for touchdowns last season and led the nation with 596 punt return yards. He added 23 catches for 321 yards and four touchdowns.