Sept. 4, 1999
Illinois Head Coach Ron Turner
(on the game)
"I'm happy for our football team. The senior leadership was evident today. Our focus and concentration was as good as it can be. To have one penalty and no turnovers in the first game shows that they mean business. It was nice to get our first game and our first win under our belts. The challenge is to go out and do it again next week."
"It was nice to get a lot of the young guys in the game because we will be counting on them later in the season."
(on the offense)
"They may be young, but they are talented. We all have confidence in them. We do need to work on our consistency and cut down on the three-and-outs."
(on the play of quarterback Kurt Kittner)
"He was more relaxed than he has been in the past. He had a better supporting cast and better protection."
(on the win)
"They expected to win today. There wasn't anybody who wasn't focused and ready to go. They were a much more confident team. That is what you have to have to win."
(on the defense of freshman Marc Jackson)
"He is a playmaker. He made the plays in high school and he will make them here. He's young so we have to make sure we don't put him in situations he is not ready for."
Illinois Player Quotes
Brian Hodges (#80) Tight End
On his touchdown reception:
"I kind of figured when the play was called, that it was going to go to the flat route. I was so open, and (Kittner) just found me and threw it. It felt good. I was pretty excited for about the first 10 seconds. But we still had the whole game to play, so I calmed down pretty fast." Will the tight ends be more involved in the offense this year?
"I hope so. Coach emphasized that he wants to get us the ball more, and that happened today. Hopefully, we'll keep doing it."
Rocky Harvey (#23) Running Back
On the confidence he has in the offense this year:
"We know we've got a good offense here, good enough to take us all the way to a bowl game. That's the focus around here. Everybody wants to be on a winning team. We want to win, and we know what it takes. They say defense wins games, but you've got to have the offense working, too."
Michael Dean (#1) Wide Receiver
On his resurgence as a factor at wide receiver:
"It feels good that Coach Turner has the faith in me to throw me the ball, and I'm just trying to make plays. I'm really happy about it. I'm trying to go out there and be a team player and make plays for this team."
Eugene Wilson (#28) Cornerback and Punt Returner
On his punt return for a touchdown:
"It was just a fortunate event where I got the ball and just broke a tackle. We had great blocking during the whole play. It was perfect all-around." What was the best part of the day?
"Scoring. It was just great for me to come in here my first game and score a touchdown. My whole family came down here for the game. It was a great feeling."
Arkansas State Players
Offensive Lineman #73 Jamie Pond
"We came out, had our game faces and were ready to go, people were making some plays and then we started not making first downs, and some of us have to start stepping up and we weren't getting it done."
On Illinois Defense
" I thought there front seven was good, their linebackers ran well and the defensive line got off the blocks. There was nothing really special on their defense, and their play was nothing that we weren't expecting."
Strong Safety #8, Sean Mitchell
On Team Attitude Before Game
"We felt confident going into the game, we thought we had good schemes ready, but they hurt us with the big plays. We wanted to make their quarterback beat us, and he made some throws and they deserved to win the game. We knew we had to stop their running game but he (Kitner) was able to beat our corners deep and one on one.
Wide Reciever #2 Robert Kilow
On First Drive
"I felt that we were confident going into the game and after the first series I think we thought we were going to come out and run over them. I think a couple of us started to think we were going to be able to beat them without trying, and a lot of players just gave up.
Quoting Arkansas State Head Coach Joe Hollis
On the team's play
"I was diappointed in the penalities, and being on the road, we just had way too many penalties and were very selfish. We're making a lot of strides and we just have got to work to get better."
On the offense
" I thought we misconnected on some throws on offense, and I know it was poor execution and a bad decision by me, when we got sacked on the 1-yard line in the 2nd quarter. I know it was hard for us to get first downs, and we had a couple passes there where we dropped the ball or just were short of the sticks."
On first-half play
"I thought at halftime, that we had played pretty good on our run defense, I didn't see any big runs in the first half. You know we were playing four true freshmen on the defense during the game and we'll get better.
" I thought from what I saw of them on tape, they've improved. Defensively, I think we felt they were going to be pretty good defensively, they mixed in their coverages pretty good, so defensively I thought they were pretty sound. Offensively I thought their QB played well, and they played a lot of tailbacks at the same time.
"I think our kids got fatigued, they played hard. I don't think I would question our effort, whatsoever. We played a bunch of very young guys and we don't have a lot of depth.