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    Post-Game Quotes



    Oct. 6, 2007

    Recap |  Final Stats |  Notes |  AP Photo Gallery 

    Oct. 6, 2007

    Final Stats |  Notes |  AP Photo Gallery 

    QUOTING ILLINOIS HEAD COACH Ron Zook...

    On being a team win:
    "This is not just one group of guys or one group of coaches. It's everybody. It takes everybody. I'm so proud of how they've come together and tried to make this a special year and they have done it."


    On the onside kick late in the game:
    "The thing about the hands team is that we had never seen Wisconsin in that situation. They have never had to be in that situation, so we didn't know for sure what we were going to get."


    On finishing games:
    "We said in the offseason that if we are going to improve, then we have to step up and stand up. I said, 'Are we going to go out there and do the same thing we did last year, or are we going to show people that we have made improvement?'"


    On the quality of team that Wisconsin is:
    "(Wisconsin is) a good football team. I can't say enough about what they've done. I said it was going to take a monumental effort on our part and it did. I think that's the good thing: our guys kept coming. (But) the coaches did a great job getting them to relax. That's just another step toward maturity."


    On going for it on 4th down late in the game:
    "I said to (offensive coordinator Mike Locksley), 'We've got to go for the win.' Even though I feel very good about our defense, that's a very, very good offense. That quarterback is an unbelievable player. I didn't want to give up a big play, have somebody switch or have something bad happen. I felt like it was close, I felt like we could get it, so let's do it."


    On Rashard Mendenhall:
    "I'm so proud of Rashard. I told him the night before I left for the Big Ten meetings in August, I said, 'Rashard, I'm going to put a little pressure on you, and I want to make sure that you are OK with it. I want to make sure that you are willing to accept it.' I said, 'If you have the kind of year that we all think you are capable of having and do the things that the coaches are telling you to do, then our offense, we've got a chance to be pretty good.' He just keeps doing it. He just keeps getting better. Now I think you are seeing the Rashard that we all saw when he came out of high school. Assistant head coach Reggie Mitchell has done an unbelievable job with him."


    QUOTING ILLINOIS PLAYERS:

    Vontae Davis, sophomore cornerback

    On possibly being ranked after this win:
    "It really doesn't matter. I'm just happy with the win. We feel that we should take one game at a time. It's the middle of the season. We can't fall now. We just have to keep pushing."

    On rebounding from a missed play:
    "You have to have a short-term memory. You can't get down on yourself." On the pair of interceptions late in the game:
    "Our mindset is that we have playmakers that can make plays at anytime. We go out and play with our technique."


    Rashard Mendenhall, junior running back

    On what this win does for the team:
    "With a team like us, we haven't had too much success like this, and to get a great start like we had today is important. It's important for our team to go with confidence. We know we can play with anybody."

    Juice Williams, sophomore quarterback

    On beating No. 5 Wisconsin:
    "I feel great about beating the No. 5 team in the country. Each and every week, we are just trying to build more momentum as we go. Our biggest goal is to not let our guard down. We are going to continue to work hard because Iowa is another great team. We need to do everything we did today and go out there and play next week."


    J Leman, senior linebacker On the last couple of years compared to this season

    "It's a step in the right direction. It's a very fulfilling feeling. All the fifth-year guys have waited a long time for this.


    WISCONSIN HEAD COACH BRET BIELEMA...

    Opening statement:
    "I thought our guys played hard for four quarters but didn't do enough in the end to come out with a victory."

    On how effective the Illini was against the Wisconsin defense:
    "The guys in blue were pretty good. I think they're strong runners, the quarterback has good size in addition to being quick and they can make you miss tackles. As coaches, we can't accept those things. We just have to get more hats to the ball and we have to do something when we get there. "

    On the Badgers' turnovers:
    "We had two big turnovers. It got away from (Tyler Donovan) a little bit. The bottom line is to get a victory we need to be clean in all phases."

    On missing the two point conversion in the third quarter:
    "Every coach has a card. Basically if you're ever in that position and the card says go for two you go for it, but I don't really do that until the second half. The third quarter is whatever you want to do according to the flow of the game."

    On Wisconsin consistently playing close games;
    "We just have to get ourselves in position to finish the game the right way. We weren't able to come through today."

    On Illinois choosing to go for it on fourth down on the game's last drive;
    "I think they saw the momentum with our offense. Rather than kick a field goal or punt the ball downfield, I'm sure they got in the huddle and said, 'If we get the first down we're going to win the football game.'"


    QUOTING WISCONSIN PLAYERS:

    Allen Langford, Junior Defensive Back

    On Wisconsin's first loss...
    "We're very disappointed in ourselves. We feel like we had plenty of opportunities go to out there and make plays and take a win away, but we made too many mistakes as a team."

    On Illinois' spread offense giving them problems...
    "Everyone has to be disciplined in what they're supposed to do and it's really challenging when you have a quarterback that can run like Juice (Williams)."

    On cleaning up the defensive mistakes...
    "Until we know how to be disciplined and come together as a team, until we can have some accountability and dependability that we're going to do our job every single play and not go outside what we're supposed to do, we're going to get beat."


    Taylor Mehlhaff, Senior Kicker

    On his own performance today...
    "I was pretty happy with the kickoffs. I had one with the wind and the others I was kicking into a pretty strong wind, so I was actually happy with the way I got the ball under that and hung it up there."


    Jack Ikegwuonu, Junior Defensive Back

    On Wisconsin's play...
    "We're a Big Ten football team. Ranked that high you've got to come out and do your job every day, every play. We can't keep making the same mistakes over and over again. We survived it a few games this season already, making the same mistakes, and today it caught up with us. We've got to take personal inventory and reevaluate."

    On the loss...
    "After the game I was standing on the sidelines and couldn't move for awhile because I'm not used to this. Like I said, we had players out of position making the same mistakes over and over again, and the better team beat us today."

    On the attitude in the locker room after the game...
    "Guys are in a little sense of shock. But you've got to learn to deal with it and we can't let this loss beat us twice."

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