Football
Post-Game Quotes

 
 

Nov. 14, 2009

Recap |  Final Stats |  Notes |  AP Photos 

QUOTING ILLINOIS HEAD COACH RON ZOOK...

Opening Statement...
"I told our team that we didn't play well enough to win. We don't need to go around blaming people, there's no use in blaming people, that's what we've been doing all year. If you want somebody to blame, then blame me. We had our chances to win and we didn't do it. They did it and that's why they won. It was a heck of a football game and I'm proud of how our guys came back at the end and made it a ball game. But we shouldn't have let it get in that situation. We'll go back to work and learn from it."

On Illinois' last play of the game...
"It doesn't matter what it looked like to me. I'm not trying to elude the question, but there's no use getting into it. I'm not going to say anything. It's just like I told our football team, there's no reason to point fingers. There's no reason we should have been in that situation. Everybody has bad games. Players have bad games, coaches have bad games, officials have bad games. That's just the way it is."

On Jacob Charest...
"It's a lot different being a starter, knowing that you're going to play. He didn't know for sure, but he knew there was a pretty good chance that he was going to be the starter. It's a lot different all week long when you know you're not coming off the bench. I don't know why that is, but it's kind of the way it is. He was off a little bit, but I'm proud of the way he gained his composure in the second half and played pretty well in the second half. He led some drives and did a nice job."

On Juice being able to play...
"He was ready and would have been in there if something would have happened to both Charest and McGee. In fact, he wanted to go."

On Eddie McGee...
"We put him in for a couple of different reasons. Yeah, he can throw the football, but he hasn't had as much practice in the last month. He hasn't really been quarterback since the Michigan State game, so he hadn't thrown nearly as much."

On the momentum shift after the interception at the end of the half...
"It's part of the game. That's what you try to teach them, there's going to be adversity and bad things that happen but you have to keep playing. We've talked about it all week that this is a football game. It doesn't matter about records, it doesn't matter about injuries, we play and it's going to be a sixty-minute game, and it was."


QUOTING ILLINOIS PLAYERS:

RB Mikel LeShoure

On losing a must win game...
"Those are definitely the worst games to lose, especially when you have a good chance to win. We all knew that we had to win to be bowl-eligible, and we've been fighting all season for a bowl game. We were never going to give up, but things didn't go our way. We always go out there to play and compete."

On missed chances in the first half...
"We made some mistakes down in the red zone and missed a field goal, and it took us out of our rhythm. Those are things that we are going to have work on, and we have to fix those things if we want to be successful. We know that when we get into the red zone, we need to find a way to punch it in."


PK Derek Dimke

On improving on his kicking...
"I feel like I've improved a lot. I spent a lot of time this offseason working with the coaches and the strength coaches, and they really helped me with my technique and form."

On winning and his relationship with his teammates...
There's a lot of focus on winning, and wins are nice, but we know that it's all about teamwork and having a good relationship with your teammates. I just want to contribute in any way I can, and whether it's kicking off or kicking field goals, I just want to help.


DE Clay Nurse

On close to getting back to .500 and a bowl game...
"Our confidence was high coming into the game, and I don't really know how I feel right now. I'm disappointed for sure, but I can't really say exactly how I feel. I think we all need some time to get our thoughts together."

On his feelings for the seniors who wont play in a bowl game...
"I'm hurting for the seniors because I came here with a lot of those guys. When I'm walking around the locker room next year, I know that a lot of those guys I came in with will be gone. Those seniors are my family and I feel for them."


QB Jacob Charest

On the difference in starting...
"It wasn't a whole lot different, it was just quicker. I wasn't too nervous."

On the differences in the third quarter...
"I could recognize the coverages from being on the field, and I could see what the defensive backs were doing without having to worry about the rushers."

On running the 2 minute offense...
"It actually wasn't much different than practice, because in practice everyone is always going 100 percent, so it's like a game."



QUOTING NORTHWESTERN HEAD COACH PAT FITZGERALD

Opening Statement...
"Number one, I am very proud of our young men. We knew it was going to be an emotional, hard-fought, physical battle and that is exactly what it was. We had to get an attitude fix a little bit at halftime. We thought we started a little slow and I told them after the game that's on all of us. We need to prepare better mentally to come into a game, but to our young men's credit, our staff's credit, we kept on battling and found a way to get the win. A lot of credit to Coach Zook and his staff, that team every year that we play them, is a battle and a hard-fought one."

On the last second interception...
"I didn't see the play until Sherrick got up. I got to look at the video and obviously, the rule is what it is. There has to indisputable video evidence to overturn a call on the field. So I am assuming that's why the play went the way it did."

On going for it on fourth and one late in the first half...
"Unfortunately we had a guy open but we just didn't make the play. We were coming down here to win. There's a lot riding on this game. I thought we had good momentum on that drive and we keep it going. We needed to have something happen. It was the first drive that we really put together that we had some momentum going and I really felt we had a good play."

On changing the team's attitude at halftime...
"I just reminded them what we value and who we are and one of cornerstone's of our football program is to have an attitude that's unwavering regardless of the situation. I thought when we seized momentum with the touchdown at the end of the first time it was time to recapture our attitude."

On the onside kick catch by Northwestern's Hunter Bates...
"It was a surprise onside kick and obviously when they moved their guys over there he saw it coming and he made a great play. He comes from a really special family. That was Hunter being decisive and that's what you have to be in that situation. He saw it, he went and he made the play."


QUOTING NORTHWESTERN PLAYERS:

WR Zeke Markshausen

On winning the Land of Lincoln trophy...
"It feels good. We won the first tomahawk trophy in the 40s. It was fun. We talked all week about bringing it back home for the first time. It was fun to play for something."

On the touchdown at the end of the half...
"We couldn't really get much going before that. We got close a few times trying to kick a few field goals, but we just couldn't get it going. It felt good going into half knowing that we had some momentum built up. We knew we were going to do it the whole time, we just had to go out and execute it."


LB Nate Williams

On winning on the road...
"We do a great job preparing for the road. We have a lot of crowd noise involved in practice, and we just try to get guys hyped up on the sidelines. Having good sideline morale is always an important part of getting a road win."


Special Teams Hunter Bates

On recovering the onside kick...
"I was just doing my job. It was a big play. I saw the kicker flatten out, and I just had to hang in there like the coaches taught me. I got up a little high and I tried to just hang on to the ball as best I could. It was fun...I have a limited role on special teams so to make a big play like that was special."

CB Sherrick McManis

On the last second interception...
"I saw him running the route, and I just executed and made the play...I just knew I needed to get the ball in my hands and I made a play when we needed it."

On winning the Land of Lincoln trophy...
"It's very meaningful. It's the first time we're playing for it, and it's the only trophy we play for all year. We wanted that trophy and we got it."

Quarterback Mike Kafka

On the 99-yard drive...
"We knew we could do it because of the drives earlier. We were hurting ourselves-taking sacks, not running the right route, not putting the ball where it needed to be-and I take responsibility for not getting it to the end zone. Then we made adjustments in the second half and it paid off. The 99 yard drive is a big statement. We hit a couple big plays and we were able to go down and get the score. That's a huge momentum shift in this rivalry game."

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