Nov. 12, 2011
#22/21 Michigan 31, Illinois 14
Nov. 12, 2011 // Memorial Stadium // Champaign, Ill. // Attendance: 60,670 (sellout)
ILLINOIS HEAD COACH Ron Zook POSTGAME QUOTES
"There is not a lot I can say. Once again, I thought we had some things fixed and obviously we don't. Like I just told them in the locker room, we have to push through this. We are in a funk for some reason and it is something, particularly on the offensive side of the football, that we have not seen since I have been here. We have to get through it and keep going. I thought that after we got going the defense played extremely well having their back up against the wall the way they did. I thought when we were only down 14 at halftime we had a chance because it could have been 48 to nothing at halftime. They hung in there and I thought we would come back out. The defense did battle and I thought once we got into the two-minute mode, the offense started making some things happen. We have some work to do. We are in a funk and we have to get out of it. The only way I know how to do it is to work ourselves out of it."
On the running game:
"It is frustrating. We went back on the open date and went against each other. I thought we made some progress and had those guys going. For some reason, we are shooting ourselves in the foot. We can't turn the ball over. That can't happen. You can't get first and 20, you can't get the holding calls and those kinds of things. That puts you behind the eight ball and then you don't have a chance. I will tell you, I thought Nathan [Scheelhaase] battled his tail off. Of course he threw the interception there at the end, but I thought he battled his butt off."
On giving any thought about leaving Riley O'Toole in for a longer stretch:
"We did. We did think about it. I told him ahead of time not to panic. Coming in we talked about starting Riley in the third quarter. As I looked at him I felt like we were only down 14 and also, we had not done anything, but we got some stuff going in the second half, so we decided to stick with Nathan. We got two first downs right there in the first series of the third quarter, then we put Riley in and it really kind of sputtered, so we put Nathan back in."
On how they shut down Fitzgerald Toussaint at the end of the game:
"In the first couple series there we were not tackling and we were over-running the football. Then they settled down and started playing the way they had been playing."
On how the defense handled Michigan's rushing:
"Cutting back, and don't get me wrong, I thought the defense played extremely well for as many times as they were put into situations. The defense gets tackles and plays with a lot of emotion and a lot of energy, and I can't imagine us not being fresh, but at the beginning of the game it did not look like we were. Because of the time off and the way we have practiced, I thought we were going to be fresh. We did not play fresh. We were on the field a long time the first half. It was an unbelievable amount of time the first half. In the beginning of the game I did not feel like we were playing with the energy you needed to play with."
ILLINOIS PLAYER QUOTES
QB Nathan Scheelhaase
On the game:
"You don't really know what went wrong. Obviously, execution errors and some penalties early on put us behind the chains which you don't really want to do and unfortunately we did."
"I don't think as far as I'm concerned, confidence is an issue. Any time you get in the game and don't start off the way you want to, guys can kind of press the issue and it would probably make it easier on yourself if you started out strong. That can be an issue if you are starting out slow and that's something we have to take care of."
On the offensive struggles:
"I'm not too positive. That's just something we need to go to the chalk board and figure out. You can't put your finger on any one thing but hopefully we can get it figured out. As players, we need to do a better job and execute."
WR A.J. Jenkins
On the game:
"We lost, that's pretty much how it is. We just didn't come through today. On offense, we started out a little slow and got down 14 to nothing. We just weren't able to do it today."
On the recent stretch of games:
"When we were 6-0, we had all the confidence in the world. Everything for that reason seemed to go right and now we have a four game losing streak. We just have to keep our heads up and keep fighting."
LB Jonathan Brown
On the state of the team:
"We lost four games, it's tough. Only thing we can do right now is get ready for Wisconsin. We have to put this game behind us and go get ready for the Badgers. We need to try to finish the season strong."
On the play of the defense to start the game:
"They had a good offense and came out and scored twice. Then we stopped them from scoring but they got a field goal. We stopped them from scoring until the end of the game."
On the Illini offense:
"Anytime you go out there, even if the offense isn't moving the ball and the defense is able to stop the ball, you have a chance to win the game."
MICHIGAN PLAYER QUOTES
CB J.T. Floyd
On his interception:
"The coaches put me in a great position and it was a great defensive play call. I've been doing extra work in the film room. I just read the split and trusted my instincts and went for it. Playing corner is such an instinctive game. We are trying to read the quarterback and then read the receivers."
On defending Jenkins:
"Coming into this week I knew A.J. Jenkins was a great receiver. You look at his statistics and they speak for his skills. He's top ten in almost every category in the nation. I knew it was a big week for me and he is number 8 too so I kind of took it personally."
On how well their defense played overall:
"We are getting close to becoming that "Michigan" defense that we have talked about. We still have some things we need to clean up, which we can do through watching film and practice next week."
WR Martavious Odoms
On how Devin Gardner played:
"If one person goes down you have to step up. I have as much confidence in him as I do in Denard. The more snaps he gets, the more comfortable he gets."
On getting a road win:
"It feels great. We have been having a rough ride on the road and we came through this time. This is a tough place to play, so this was big for us to come in here and win on the road. We are growing as a team and we have each others backs."
On how J.T. Floyd played:
"He always makes big plays. He always seems to break up a pass or do something spectacular to get the spotlight on him. He does it every game. We have all the confidence in the world in our defense."
RB Fitzgerald Toussaint
On his 65 yard run early in the game:
"I just saw daylight. Coach always says run to daylight and that's what I did. You always want to keep the linebacker in your left eye. Once he came over the top I could go backside. It gave me a lot of confidence for the rest of the game. I knew if we could execute early we could knock them out."
On his offensive line's play:
"Up front is where we really executed well. They did a great job of opening up holes and we were able to explode through them."
On the Michigan defense:
"They prepared well. They came out and they were very physical and did what they were supposed to do."