Oct. 15, 2011
Ohio State 17, #16/15 Illinois 7
Oct. 15, 2011 // Memorial Stadium // Champaign, Ill. // Attendance: 55, 229
ILLINOIS HEAD COACH Ron Zook QUOTES
"For whatever reason, we didn't play the way we needed to play at times and we knew Ohio State was going to come in here and run the football. We knew it was going to be one of those kinds of games. We've been pretty good at not turning the ball over, and I think the turnovers were kind of the end result there, but we have got to regroup, and we're still in a position where we control our own destiny. I think our guys have to understand that and they do. They're hurt right now, but we're 6-1 and two of the better teams in the Big Ten still have to come here. We have to go on the road the next two weeks and get ready to go."
On Ohio State's ground attack:
"They have a pretty good offensive line, a pretty good running back and I think one of the things they were excited about was having No. 1 back [Dan Herron]. He did a great job and you can see why he's one of the better backs in the Big Ten."
On going for it on 4th and 3 during Illinois' final drive:
"We talked about it, we knew we needed two scores, and [offensive coordinator] Paul [Petrino] felt like we had a good play called and felt like we were going to get it. However you looked at it, we needed two scores and we felt like the best decision for us was at 4th and 3 to get the first down and go from there."
On the defensive performance:
"228 yards of offense [allowed], but the biggest thing when you look at this is the [offensive] turnovers. In the past, we've held teams to field goals instead of touchdowns and they were able to get two touchdowns off the turnovers."
On Jason Ford's shoulder injury:
"AC [joint] sprain, but he'll be all right."
On positive takeaways from the game:
"You can't scrap the season, we have a chance to be pretty good. We are 6-1, we go on the road for two Big Ten games then we have two Big Ten games here. We just have to take care of business the next four games."
ILLINOIS PLAYER QUOTES
QB Nathan Scheelhaase
On the game:
"Anytime that you fall it is not a good feeling. Obviously with this game there was adversity throughout. I felt like on offense, personally, I did not make enough plays to win the game. I thought our defense was playing their butts off. I thought we were doing some good things on offense and the plays that I made really hurt us. We shot ourselves in the foot."
On the turnover in the beginning of the third quarter:
"That was all me. It was a missed throw. No doubt about it. He ran a good route, he was open, and it just sailed over his head. You can't have those plays. I felt like we had a good plan coming out of halftime and we had a nice little chunk play on the first play. He was wide open on the second play, so when you have that you have to connect."
DE Whitney Mercilus
On the game:
"We just beat ourselves. That is it. We made a few too many mistakes, which they capitalized on. On defense we can't give up on sudden-change touchdowns and stuff like that. Basically, we just shot ourselves in the foot and we have to correct that."
On the loss lingering:
"They just give us the weekend and after that we have to concentrate on the next game. Only 24 hours, that is it."
On bouncing back after the loss:
"We will be able to bounce back, no problem. We just have to review our mistakes, see where our mistakes were, correct them and go on from there."
LB Jonathan Brown
On how it felt to be back:
"It felt good being back, being able to help the defense out and being back from suspension. I had fresh legs. I was pretty excited to be out there."
On responding to the first loss of the season:
"We are a good team. We will have a great week of practice this week and take it day-by-day and game-by-game."
On the team questioning themselves:
"No. Anybody can win any Saturday. We came out and did not play as well as we could have played and it showed out there. We just have to go back to the drawing board, get back to work and go out and beat Purdue next week."
OHIO STATE HEAD COACH LUKE FICKELL QUOTES
"Well, actually, going into the game we knew it was going to be about turnovers, it was going to be about rushing battle and it was going to be about field position. Obviously, the field position was a big part of special teams. When you come over here, you know you're going to get some type of weather conditions of some sort. We had a game plan going in. I don't think they had seen as much running through the first six games. We knew it was going to be a big key to stopping the run as well as running the football, and then the big field position battle."
On Bradley Roby's interception early in the second half:
"This was a game of momentum and I think that's probably the biggest thing about it. And the one thing we've lacked a little bit on defense is making some plays. To have a play start right there and then answer with the offense, that's what this game's all about. If you can get some momentum, it's quite an asset."
On the win's significance:
"Well, we're not going to let this define us. We've got a long way to go and it's about work. But this game is a lot more fun when you're winning and this game's a lot more fun when things are going your way a little bit. I know you've got to make those things happen, but that momentum is so huge, that that's what drives you to do this stuff. And those guys maybe haven't had that in a while, so they're excited about it."
On the key to the defense:
"We tackled well and we didn't give up big plays, I think those are the two most important things. If you look at it, Jenkins has had an ungodly amount of yardage and a lot of those are on giant passes. Obviously, with the weather, that makes it a little bit more difficult to have those, but a lot of those catches he's had, he's been wide open. And that's obviously a tribute to their running game and their option game and the things that they do."
On containing Illinois QB Nathan Scheelhaase:
"We got a chance to hit him a few times; I think that was a big part of it. But, you know, the weather can limit you in doing some things, so you've got to have a game plan to try to play into that as well. But again, a team is much better when they can run the football and it makes it a little bit easier to take their time in throwing the ball as well. But when we did a good job of stopping the run, I think it made them a little more one-dimensional."
On Dan "Boom" Herron's return:
"This is what he's been working for and he's gone through a lot and he's sacrificed a lot and he's learned a lot. But the biggest thing is what Boom means to this team and what he means in the locker room and what he means on the field. He's excited about it and I know the guys in the locker room are excited to have him."
OHIO STATE PLAYER QUOTES
RB Dan Herron
On returning to action:
"I was definitely happy to be back on the field. Missing my teammates and missing the first six games was definitely hard on me. I was very anxious to get back out there today."
On his running today:
"I haven't played the game yet so I guess I was pretty fresh. Also just being patient. I know Illinois' defense and they kind of blitz a lot and threw a lot of different schemes so I definitely had to be patient. With the offensive line doing a great job blocking and opening up seams, they sometimes open slow so I just had to be patient and wait for it."
On what he's learned:
"To think twice when making decisions. It really made me grow up as a man. Just looking at things a lot different and not taking anything for granted."
On the offense being dominated by the run:
"I think our offensive line did a great job today. We didn't pass the ball a lot. I didn't want to go out there and make crazy things happen, just be patient and let the game come to you."
TE Jake Stoneburner
On how it felt to catch a touchdown pass:
"I was so pumped. I knew we hadn't completed a pass yet so if we're going to complete one, might as well be for a touchdown. Some situations you can't call it and they decided to call it and Braxton made a great throw."
On Coach Fickell's demeanor the past few games:
"He has always been positive with us. He always said if this is the worst thing we're going to experience in our lives, then we've got an easy life. We go out there to get a win for our team and for him. He was super pumped, so is our whole team so it just feels good to go out there and get a win."
On bouncing back after the past two weeks:
"We needed it. We needed a boost. Being 3-3 wasn't the greatest feeling but we felt like we were a better team than 3-3, but we just haven't showed it. Coming here to undefeated Illinois, we're starting to be a very good team at Ohio State and we have a lot of momentum going into Wisconsin."