Oct. 31, 2009
QUOTING ILLINOIS HEAD COACH Ron Zook:
"First of all, I'd like to congratulate our players. They've done it, and as I told them after the game, this is their win. They've been going through some tough times, but they've hung in there, and have been doing the things we've asked them to do. We have talked about how you need to believe and have faith. Faith keeps fighting and we are the Fighting Illini. We just need to keep going and I'm proud of them, I really am. It's a big win, and there's no one in our locker room that was playing or was born the last time we were fortunate enough to beat them at Memorial Stadium. "
On the relief of finally winning a Big Ten game:
"Well obviously, wins are hard to come by. College football is sort of like the NFL now, and it's hard to win a game. We've been struggling, and I wish you could see the excitement in our guys' faces and the emotion they showed because they really had to fight for this one."
On Terry Hawthorne's touchdown-saving tackle in the 3rd quarter:
"Terry Hawthorne's play, holy smokes. Terry has a lot of speed and I don't think he realizes how fast he is. We've talked about letting the plays come to you, and Terry made an unbelievable play. A lot of guys would've quit, but Terry didn't quit and he made the play of the game, maybe even the play of the year."
On the goal-line stand and its emotional effect on the team:
"Well, I think it was an array of emotions. It's what we've been preaching all year. Keep playing, it's a 100-yard field, and a 60-minute game. The score doesn't matter until the game is over. I think that goal-line stand just ignited everyone."
On beating Michigan back-to-back years and moving forward:
"It means an awful lot, but I'm just glad to win finally. I don't think we can walk around and beat our chests like we're there now because we still have four games left to go. We have to build on this and get better, and I think we will. It's the shot in the arm we needed."
QUOTING ILLINOIS PLAYERS:
OL Jon Asamoah
On the mentality going into the fourth quarter:
"Anything could have happened this game, so we had to keep our confidence up and our heads in the game. We had to stick with the same game plan and listen to our coaches. In the end we were able to win."
On Juice Williams:
"We have been together for four years now. To see him being treated this way was hard. Everyone has been on top of him lately. After today, seeing his big smile and watching him be successful again was amazing."
CB Terry Hawthorne
On the third quarter chase-down:
"It turned the whole game around. I just didn't want to give up and let him score. Before games I am always telling myself I want to get a pick-six. Instead, today I got the chase down and stopped a big play."
QB Juice Williams
On Hawthorne's play:
"I have to give it to Hawthorne. That play really gave us the boost that we needed. Chasing that guy down and then the defense getting a goal line stand was big. I have to tip my hat to the rest of my teammates. They played their hearts out today."
On the current quarterback situation:
"There is no pressure. We all go out there to do our best. If another quarterback goes in you have to respect them because at the end of the day we are all trying to win the same game. I do not try to think about it too much. I have to take it one play at a time and play my hardest."
WR/TE Jeff Cumberland
On playing tight end today:
"I just go out there every day and do my best at any place they assign me. It felt pretty smooth being out there. My technique out there went down. Not playing tight end for two and a half years has its toll. After having a week to come back and relearn the position, I felt I did pretty well today."
RB Mikel LeShoure
On Hawthorne's play:
"Terry Hawthorne was MVP of this game. After that play and the goal line stop it changed the game. It gave the team energy for the rest of the game and it carried the whole way through."
QUOTING MICHIGAN HEAD COACH RICH RODRIGUEZ:
On the momentum changing in the third quarter:
"It's a big momentum change, particularly on the road. When you have a chance to seize momentum and you let it reverse on the road it's tough. But there's never just one thing that determines the outcome, and certainly today there were a multitude of errors."
On the message to the team:
"We just have a lot of things to fix and get right. Every person in the program has to take it upon themselves to do all they can to get things playing at a higher level. We'll go back to work and see what we can do."
On the defense:
"We thought they were going to do more spread than they did. We just didn't play well defensively, and the missed tackles were upsetting. But what's more upsetting to me is when the ball is on the ground and it seems like it's laying there for eternity, and we weren't able to get on it. We've got to look at everything we're doing and try to fix it before next weekend."
On the offense:
"When we were doing some of our man protection we struggled on perimeter. They had good pressure on us so we had to put more guys in for protection and it limits what we can do route-wise. "
On looking for that sixth win:
"I'm more disappointed in the last two ballgames where the other teams have made plays but we haven't helped ourselves. We haven't given ourselves much of a chance because of some of our own errors. Again, you have to give them credit too, because they made plays, but we've got to play a little bit more efficient to give ourselves a chance."
On finding something positive:
"There were moments we did some good things, but it's hard to look for the positive when you lose, and when you know you're not playing as well as you need to play. I don't want to say that it's because we missed a tackle or missed a block. I have to look at the film and see if it's technique or effort. These guys have been very good to coach and very attentive, we just have to play better."
QUOTING MICHIGAN PLAYERS:
LB Stevie Brown
On the second half:
"We were doing all the right things going in to halftime, so we figured we could come back out. We were still passionate about what we were doing and we were trying to do what we had to do."
On the future: "We're still coming in every day trying to work and get better. Obviously we can't make the Rose Bowl, but we're still trying for a bowl."
S Troy Woolfolk
On the game-plan:
"We were just trying to step on their throats and extend the lead. Our offense knew they were going to get the ball and once that didn't happen, people started to get worried."
On the team morale: "We're not getting wins that we should. We're just playing for pride now. We know we're not able to win the Big Ten, but we still have a chance to go to a bowl."
WR Roy Roundtree
On the season:
"It's a long season. There's 12 games on the calendar and you have to take them one-by-one, so next week we'll just get ready for Purdue and see what happens."
On being stopped at the one yard line: "You can't really look back. They always say run, look ahead. I thought I had it, but they reviewed the play and I was down at the 1."
DT Mike Martin
On Illinois' 99-yard drive:
"It hurts obviously, but we went back to the sidelines and Coach (Rodriguez) was just telling us to dust it off. You can't do anything about it now."
On how to get back on track:
"We have to execute. We have to play hard-nosed football and have each man play his 'get', play 'get' football, and just get back to the basics."