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    Northwestern vs. Syracuse -- Postgame Quotes



    Sept. 1, 2012

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    Northwestern Head Coach
    Pat Fitzgerald

    On today's game:
    "The goal was to go 1-0 and we found a way to get the job done. That being said, I'm proud of the way our guys fought; proud of the way we found a way to win. But obviously in between we have a lot things we need to work on. You'll hear me say this all week, but I think most of the teams in the country would feel the same way, you make the biggest improvement from week one to week two. I know a lot more about our football team sitting here right now than I did three-and-a-half hours ago. I like the way we responded to some early adversity that we created for ourselves. We have to keep better focus, do a better job of keeping the big things small. That's what we talked about and learned from camp, and obviously today we don't know it well enough yet. It feels great to win, I'm incredibly happy to be able to get out of here with a win. We'll move forward and try to find a way to get the guys coached up and do better for next week.

    "I thought we executed across the board. I thought we had pretty good protection. We brought a little bit of heat. We missed a couple of throws that are still there. We'll look at the tape and learn from them. He'll also learn he cannot take a sack in the red zone, especially in the two-minute situation. There were all kinds of stuff - we can be hear an hour talking about all my notes on the back of my page - that we got to get fixed and we have to get corrected . Number on,e there is a great attitude in that locker room right now. That group is excited that we found a way to win. I think it's also a hungry group, knowing that we by far did not play our best football. But as always, what are we, 31-11 in games decided by seven points? I don't know why we always do this but we just do."

    On running back Venric Mark:
    "He's dynamic. I'll stand by my statement that I think he's the best in the country. You get him in space and he has a chance. In one game we saw what happened then. So Syracuse started moving the ball around, try to kick it away from him. We've got answers for that too. I'm really proud of Dennis Springer and our punt return team, we call it our jet team. I really thought those guys executed well today."

    On Chi Chi Ariguzo:
    "I thought Chi Chi was very opportunistic. Right place, right time. In other areas we have a lot of work to do. We went after him in the passing game a little bit today. It's one of those situations where you walk off the field - that was his first time. He's been in other games but that was his first time making a lot of plays, the highs of the highs, and unfortunately some things happened to him. He'll be much better next week."

    On Syracuse's quarterback Ryan Nassib:
    "He's a pretty savvy kid. It's not like you are going up against a first-time starter. He had a great understanding of what they were trying to do and how they were trying to accomplish it. They moved their protection around a little bit, they did some different things. They threw a lot of three step drop today. As much three step drops as we have ever seen. I think we have to do a better job of tightening up the coverage a little bit. Ryan did a nice job from coming out from under center, catching the ball and looking our guys off. That's what it looked like. We have some things that we need to adjust in our game. I don't think we did it quickly enough and hopefully we'll be better next week."

    Demetrius Fields, Wide Receiver, Senior
    On how he knew he foot was in bounds on the game-winning score:

    "I didn't. I just trusted my quarterback to put me in bounds. It was questionable but they reviewed it and I was in bounds."

    On having two strong quarterbacks for season:
    "We knew that going into the season. We were really confident in Kain (Colter) and Trevor (Siemian) as well. They are comfortable and have confidence in us. It goes both ways. You can see when I dropped the ball he didn't hesitate to throw the ball back to me for the game-winner."

    On the mood on the sidelines towards the end of the game:
    "The mood was really light and confident. Having dropped the ball, I was a little worried. I just wanted to do better."

    David Nwabuisi, Linebacker, Senior
    On whether there was a letdown with the team leading 35-13:
    "There might have been a small lack of focus at the end. That's something we have to work on. We talked about it with the coach already. That's just something we can't let up. That was the time for us to put them away. Those guys really fought hard, they really came back. They played great, but at the end of the day, we have to play better than that."

    On Chi Chi Ariguzo's play:
    "He played great. He had that interception, which he should have taken to the house, but then he picked up that fumble and took it to the house. Chi Chi really played great. He was a little banged up but he's going to be fine and a great player for us."

    Kain Colter, Quarterback, Junior
    On the reason Trevor Siemian came into the game:

    "It was because of the injury. Trevor went out there and did a great job. I'm so proud of him. We came on the same year. It's great to see him do big things. That's what we expect from our quarterbacks.

    On whether there was a letdown with the team leading 35-13: "We make it a lot harder on ourselves then we need it to be. That's part of football. It's the first game of the season a there are a lot of things we need to work out, a lot of things we need to fix. Hopefully we can fix that next week."

    On whether he thinks he can play next week against Vanderbilt: "I played in the second quarter and I went out there and played with it. I'm sure if we give it some time it should be fine."

    On whether x-rays were taken: "We are going through the common medical procedures. I am not a doctor. I can't read the x-rays so we are going to have to wait for that to come back. Like I said, I'm confident it will be fine and be able to play next week."