Football
Post-game Quotes

 
 

Nov. 1, 2008

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QUOTING ILLINOIS HEAD COACH Ron Zook...

On the win...
"First of all, I think that was a game where both teams played until the end. They played all 60 minutes and when you get in an intense Big Ten game like that, it's like I told the freshman, I said that's a Big Ten game right there. I was very proud of the defense, particularly in the first half. They had their backs against the wall, and we had to hold them to field goals which was very, very big, and probably had the biggest thing to do in terms of coming out and winning the game at the end."

On turnovers, both offensive and defensive...
"We got some turnovers and we've got to get that thing corrected on the other side of the ball, but sometimes you go through those spells. It's not because we don't work on it, it's not because we don't stress the importance of it and so forth. You've got to keep talking about it, you have to keep grinding on it, and you've got to give Iowa a little bit of credit, too, because that's something they do a pretty good job of."

On the importance of the win at this point in the season:...
"You know, we still have a lot of football to play. I mean, we've got the whole month of November and we still have three games to play, and I think it's very, very important, you know? We're not bowl eligible yet, so I mean these next three games are going to be critical for us to play the way we are capable of playing and to get that taken care of. We're going to have to grind for the next 21 days. Right now, it's a three-game season and right now the most important game in my life, in our lives, is next week."

On Eddie McGee's new contribution to the team as a receiver...
"There's a whole new playbook out there for Eddie. The enthusiasm, the energy and the intensity that Eddie brings to the field - he wants to play. He wants to do whatever he can do to help this football team. He's a heck of an athlete. We all know when he gets the ball in his hands, he can fly. We'll be able to expand on that."

On holding Shonn Green to a little over 100 yards...
"This is his ninth-straight week, I believe. He's a pretty good back. I mean I think he's going to be the center of everyone's attention when they play Iowa."


QUOTING ILLINOIS PLAYERS:

WR Arrelious Benn

On his feelings toward Iowa...
"This was a very big game. It was very emotional. The seniors had never beaten Iowa, but now they have. We will enjoy it, it's a big win and we got revenge."

On the end of the game pressure...
"I wasn't concerned. Our two-minute game works well, we could've given it, but we didn't. We kept fighting and we ended up winning."

On third down situations...
"When we need to get the first down and Coach Locksley has the faith in me that if they put the ball in my hands, I will do what I need to do to get it done."

On Eddie McGee...
"I'd say he's right behind me. He's catching the ball with his hands a lot. You don't see that with a lot of receivers. For him to come out there and have such focus and energy to do what he did on the field...He's going to be good."


DE Will Davis

On second-half adjustments...
"It wasn't really adjustments, it was the fact that we came out and we played with energy and emotion, with our backs against the wall and that is what we wanted to do. We kept it up the whole game, the seniors got on everyone and told them we had to come out and play the same way we did in the first half and it showed."

On the atmosphere against Iowa...
"We have never beaten them. A lot of people say they took the Big Ten Championship away from us last year and there was a lot of animosity and you could tell. It was a rivalry game and it extends from years back, so we just went out there and played like we had to play to win."

On Shonn Greene...
"You really have to tackle him and go down with him because if you don't, he's going to continue to rush. He is a tough runner and we knew we had to stop him. He's been getting 100 yards, the only guy to get 100 yards each game. He got 100, but we got the win."


LB Brit Miller

On pressure at the end...
"I think we'll go back and look at this game and see that it is a 60-minute game like Coach harps on all the time. If you don't stop them in that red zone early on in the game, it's a whole different ball game at the end."

On Iowa...
"They are a very physical team and I think that is what the Big Ten embodies. Physical runners, close games, people making plays, momentum swings. It was a fun game for me, it really was."

On the win...
"I think this sparks us at the right time of the season. There were a couple of games that we gave away early. But if were going to be a winning team, a winning program, we have to finish strong and get there very week. I think we did that this week. Iowa played some great defense and our offense did a great job of taking what they gave us the whole game. Our offense did a great job of controlling the tempo of that game."


Quarterback Juice Williams

On what the game does for their season...
"Before this game started, Coach said this was a four-game season and that's the same heart that we have. This win today will obviously spring us forward to lead us into the rest of the season."

On Eddie McGee:...
"We have been talking about it for almost a month now. It started as a joke in a meeting and then we started to really talk about it. We felt good about it and it was just a matter of him now lining up by the receivers, knowing the offense and knowing the route and how to get open. It will be huge for the offense with him at wide receiver. He has too much talent to be sitting on the sidelines, and having him there has clicked really well."



QUOTING IOWA HEAD COACH KIRK FERENTZ

Opening Statement...
"First of all, credit Illinois, they played a good game today and certainly deserved the win. It was a tough loss for our football team. I thought our guys really competed hard. Certainly we didn't play well enough at all times to win the football game today, but I thought they particularly played hard and competed hard, especially in that fourth quarter when things weren't looking so good. We had a tough stretch in the start of the third quarter, and our guys battled back. It's a tough loss. Losing is never fun, but outside of that I've seen a lot of positives on how they've responded. The way they've fought and the way they've competed, it will hurt for awhile, but we'll go back to work tomorrow."

On the offense in the red zone...
"Any time you are getting field goals instead of touchdowns, or no field goals...and then the other thing we did obviously was picked off a ball at midfield and turned it right back. But credit them. Missed opportunities and turnovers usually factor in, but we've been down this road before, in tight ball games, tough losses. Those things usually end up showing up in the end."

On playing freshman Jewel Hampton...
"It was planned. We were rotating our backs in a bit, and it was planned to rotate Jewel (Hampton) in. He's done a great job, he's running hard, running tough for a young guy and doing a good job protecting the football. Shawn (Greene) had to come out for one point in the ball game, but we are very comfortable with both those guys playing."

On the fourth quarter, tying the game and losing on a field goal late...
"It speaks volumes. We gave up the offensive touchdown on the sack and (Ilinois') fans were going crazy in a hostile environment. Things were looking pretty bleak big picture-wise, but if there is a positive, it is how our guys responded. The game is not over until it's over. That's football. That is why they put 60 minutes on the clock. It was a great comeback by our guys. I don't feel we let down or lost our focus, that wasn't the case at all. We answered a couple good drives in the fourth quarter and (Illinois) in turn did what they had to do. (Matt Eller) had a great effort on the field goal."

On Iowa's defense...
"Our defense has been playing well. We gave up the one big play. I like our odds pushing it to overtime (tied with under two minutes left in the game). But (Illinois) did a great job moving the ball and their field goal kicker (Eller) did a great job, that wasn't a gimme at all."


QUOTING IOWA PLAYERS:

QB Ricky Stanzi

On the comeback...
"We came out ready to play and we obviously did not come out to the successful start that we wanted. In the second half we struggled a little bit. It shows how our team has responded all year. We have been in these situations before. We have been able to make games tight, but the bottom line is we did not execute well enough the entire game."

On the third quarter...
"I cant really say one thing or the other about it. We've got to come out with the same intensity we had in the first half and we did not do that. We did not execute well enough. Like in the first half, we couldn't put a touchdown on the board one of the three times we were in the red zone. Converting every time would make it a lot easier on us. It's obviously a point of emphasis that we need to work on. We are going to come back next week and we are not going to miss a beat."

On the team's response despite the loss
"We feel good about our team and how we responded. We have done that each and every week. It's obvious you do not want to see your team down and in that position. The way we did not execute in the red zone in the first half put us in a hole. That is the type of thing that gets you beat."


RB Shonn Greene

On the Illinois defense...
"They did a great job covering. They had a lot of guys in the box and they were able to slow me down."

On the difference between the first and second half...
"Our line did a good job. There was a lot there. They just did a good job."

On preparing for Penn State...
"We have to flush this one. We cannot hang our heads on this loss. We need to play as hard as we can and that is all that matters."


DT Mitch King-

On your vision of the season...
"We've got five wins so far and Penn State is one of the top teams in the country. They have great threats and we have to start preparing tomorrow."

On the defense in the last two minutes...
"We were down 15 points and we came back and scored to tie it up. It came down to us and we tried to get them stopped, but they just got a field goal."

On close losses...
"It's kind of like beating a dead horse. We keep losing, it does not matter how much by. We blew it a couple of times on some long pass plays. For us, we did not get enough pressure. On that last drive we knew it was on us to not let them score and we let them score, so it does not matter how many points we lost by."


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