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    Post-Game Quotes - Northwestern vs. Ohio State

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM

    Nov. 8, 2008

    Recap |  Box Score |  Notes |  AP Action Photos 

    Northwestern Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald

    Opening statement:
    "Looking back at the snapshot of the game, our inability to make plays and their ability to make plays, especially at critical times in the game, was very costly. We did a great job on defense on first and second down. Our inability to get off the field on third down cost us. Our inability to make big plays and create turnovers collectively as a defense was very damaging. Flip it over on offense, some self-inflicted wounds, some big penalties when we had a chance, and some drives that got going a little bit but couldn't resolve themselves out really hurt us. But I thought we had some guys step up. I thought our guys came out and started fast. We've just got to play a lot better in the second quarter to give ourselves an opportunity to win a football game against a really good team. Credit goes out to Ohio State who made a lot of plays. They do what winners do. They make plays when they are supposed to do it, and my hats off to them."

    On adjustments made by Ohio State...
    "On defense, number one, I thought they tackled better. Seems like they did a nice job loading the box, playing a lot of single safety against us to try and take away our running attack. And they did a nice job at tackling. We thought earlier in the week that we were going to be in a lot of one-on-one matchups in space and we were going to have to come out of those. Tackles, gain yards positively, I don't know if we did that consistently enough today. The credit goes to Ohio State."

    On whether a specific play shifted the momentum in the game...
    "I think the game turned in the second quarter. We had an opportunity to get off the field. Obviously we got the run south and Beanie makes a nice run and comes out of it. You know it goes from being a tackle for no gain to a long touchdown. I thought that was a really big play in the game. Especially when we had, I thought, a good call. I thought we had a good attack we just didn't finish the play. Credit goes to him."

    On defensive breakdowns...
    "It is hard for me to say exactly right now, from being on the sideline. But it looked like we didn't have as much awareness in our pass rush lanes. And when we did, we were too engaged in blocks to be able to get off and go make the play. I thought the spy concept we had at times, we got too caught up in the line of scrimmage and didn't give ourselves an opportunity to go and get the quarterback. We will go back to the drawing board and learn from the experience. We are going to see obviously a team next week that has multiple quarterbacks that can make plays with their legs. (There's) a lot of work that needs to be done. But you know, I am encouraged by our football team. We've won seven football games because we've stuck together and stuck to our values. And this is one game that we obviously did not play very well, and credit goes out to Ohio State. But we will get back to work tomorrow. The attitude is good in the locker room and we know exactly what happened. There were a lot of coachable and learnable opportunities today and we will get that fixed."

    On the play of Terrelle Pryor...
    "I think the young man made plays. He is a very talented player. And that is what big-time players do in games, they step up and they make plays. That's what he did. He is a tremendous football player, and it only takes one run like that to change momentum. And he made a nice run and kept his feet moving. And you know it won't break my heart if we don't play him again."


    Northwestern Player Quotes

    Safety Brendan Smith

    On the team's overall performance...
    "We didn't play to our capabilities and Ohio State did. We were in it. In the first quarter it was 7-7, but we weren't consistent enough in our play and our performance as a defense. We just have to go back, look at the film and check the little mistakes that were happening. We need to work hard to play each play, and not the whole game in one play."

    On Northwestern's defense on third down...
    "We were just trying to cover their guys, and keep contain in the blitzes and the rush. [Terrelle] Pryor is a good athlete; he stepped up in the pocket and escaped. It's something that we'll fix. We have to look at the tape and see what went wrong."

    On the play of Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor...
    "He's a great player. He has a bright future. It's tough to be on the field and try to say how things happened. I know that we didn't make the plays that we were supposed to."

    On his play in the secondary...
    "If you have a man, you have a man and you have to turn and run with him. I had to make the play on one of the plays down the sideline; unfortunately I did not make it. It's eating at me right now, I have to make those plays."

    Linebacker Nate Williams

    On tackling Pryor...
    "When we did have a spy in there we got it done, and when we didn't he obviously ran for some yards and got some first downs.

    On whether Ohio State was running up the score...
    "No, I think they're just playing football. No, I don't think so. I didn't get a chance to see the fake punt, so I couldn't really tell you [about that play]."

    On defending the Buckeyes...
    "Well you know we had a good pass rush, but unfortunately it collapsed a little bit and [Pryor] was able to get out of the pocket and makes some plays with the football. So we have to get off the field on third down and that's what we didn't do today."

    Running Back Stephen Simmons

    On how he played in his first career start...
    "I think I could do better, I didn't make enough plays. I just have to improve."

    On the performance of Northwestern's run game...
    "I feel like we were able to move the ball, but as the running back you have to make more plays; the offense kind of stalls when the running back doesn't make enough plays. They didn't do anything we didn't expect them to do. They played well, but I thought that we were still in the game."

    Quarterback Mike Kafka

    On the play of Ohio State...
    "They played hard, all the credit goes to them. When it comes down to it we just need to make plays and take care of the football."

    On the atmosphere in the locker room after the game...
    "Well it was obviously disappointed, as we just lost, but we're going to move on. I was just talking with [wide receiver] Eric Peterman, and we're already over it. We're going to move on and get to next week's opponent."

    On the play of Northwestern's offense...
    "I think we just have to take it to them a little bit, make some more plays and take care of the football. If we had taken care of the football a little bit better I think we would have had a better shot, but we're over it."

    On adjustments for the future...
    "I think, going into next week, we have to take care of the football. That's our number-one mission. We want to run the ball, and when they press up then we want to throw deep. We just have to do what we do and control what we can control."

    On who the starting quarterback will be next week...
    " It's whatever Coach Fitz decides, whatever is best for the team, and we'll be ready for that. Whatever happens, happens."


    Ohio State Head Coach Jim Tressel

    Opening statement:
    "I thought our guys prepared hard for the last week-and-a-half. They were excited to get back on the field. They worked hard on their fundamentals and were anxious to wake up early and play an 11 o'clock game, compared to having to sit around all day like we've had to occasionally. Northwestern went hard at it. They had a good plan with their quarterback running the ball. That was tough duty, but the defense kept playing and playing. Offensively, I'm not sure we were as consistent as we would like to be, but we made more plays than perhaps we had in the last few outings, but it is definitely some progress."

    On the play of Terrelle Pryor
    "I thought Terrelle did some good things. First of all, it was a windy day. It wasn't the easiest day to be throwing the ball around. He did stand in there when they had an all out blitz on that first drive, when he stood in there and hit Hartline. They brought one more than we could protect, but he stood right in there and let the ball go. He did some good things. Every time he is out there he is going to get better, and he obviously has some confidence when they are in man-to-man coverage, and can also break out of the pocket and be dangerous."

    On the play of the Northwestern defense...
    "It will be interesting to watch the film. Northwestern was bringing a million guys in the box to make us beat them throwing. At times they were hitting our running backs in the backfield because they had so many people at the line of scrimmage. Coupled with the wind, where you didn't want to throw it into the wind, they kind of sold-out and forced us to go deep. I think Terrelle threw a few good ones up there deep."

    On the fake punt...
    "The cutback wasn't part of the plan. I think he was so cold that he was a little slow, and that d-lineman was going to catch him, so his old running back instincts kicked back in and told him to cut. What led us to call the play was the fact that we were punting against a tough wind, and we weren't sure we were going to get a good field position change, so we might as well go for it. It was a key time that if we could keep the ball, and maybe go down and score, we could just about put the game away."

    On the end result...
    "That wasn't a blowout game, it was a tough fighting football game. We got a couple of touchdowns, and as for the last one, who knew the guy was going to run for those yards on fourth down? I wouldn't call it a blowout, it was a tough fight, but a few touchdowns made it a decisive win."


    Ohio State Player Quotes

    QB Terrelle Pryor

    On his progression during the game...
    "I think I progressed a lot, just staying in the pocket then releasing. I felt really comfortable. They were sending blitzes and I was still standing in sometimes. I feel like I progressed a little from last week, but there's a lot more I want to accomplish and get better at to help this team win."

    On the importance of playing well in November...
    "[Coach Jim Tressel] says November, when it gets colder, we play harder. I feel that that's what we need to do. November decides where you go, point blank, period. You lose early. Ok, we lost to Penn State and it's a big deal. Now if we lose to Illinois or Michigan, that's going to tear our seniors apart and I don't want that to happen. I won't let that happen."

    On his touchdown pass to Brian Robiskie at the end of the first half...
    "It's really important to finish drives and keep drives alive. I think that touchdown at the end broke their backs. Those are things you need to do. You need to break their backs and take advantage of what they give you."

    RB Chris "Beanie" Wells

    On racking up 467 rushing yards in November 2007...
    "That's great and it's something I hope to accomplish once again. November is a tough time of the year. It's going to be cold and it's going to be rough. We have to play hard."

    On the overall play of the offense...
    "We didn't run the ball well two weeks ago so we definitely had to come out and establish our run. Overall, our offense did a pretty good job. Terrelle [Pryor] had a heck of a game and the offensive line did pretty good. The wide receivers had a tremendous game as well."

    LB James Laurinaitis

    On the Northwestern offense...
    "They did a few different things. The previous week, they had run with one tight end and one back and this week they stretched it out a little bit with two tight ends and tried to run it behind them. So it went a little different. We had some tricks that we were going to do when they did the one tight end deal and we didn't know whether we should do it with the two tight ends. We communicated and I think we got it adjusted and it showed the rest of the game."

    On coming out of a bye week...
    "It feels good just to go out and play football. When you have a game that you lose and a whole other week to think about it with the bye week, you're just itching to go out there and play. You're trying to get that taste out of your mouth. This helps a little bit, coming in here. We have a lot of respect for Northwestern and how they're doing. They played extremely well against Minnesota the week before. Coming in here and getting a "W" is definitely encouraging but we have another week ahead of us."