Nov. 24, 2012
Northwestern 50, Illinois 14
Ryan Field // Nov. 24, 2012 // Attendance: 32,415
Illinois head coach Tim Beckman
"Just to start off, no way to end a rivalry by any means. Credit goes to Northwestern, Coach Fitzgerald did a great job. I think Mick McCall and Coach [Mike] Hankwitz did a great job offensively and defensively. I think the Wildcats played an outstanding game; played hard, made plays when they needed to make plays. So credit goes to where credit is due and that's them. We had too many penalties. Some things that you can't do. And we ended up doing those things. Turnovers, penalties, not tackling as well as we are capable of tackling, it just altogether wasn't one of our better games again and when you are playing a team right now that's won a lot of football games and is considered one of the top 25 or 30 teams in the country, then you're going to have to play a lot better than we did. But as we said to that football team, we are moving forward, we have to move forward. There's only one way you can go: forward. So our coaching staff will be out on the road tomorrow and we'll get it together and see what we have to do to get players in here to the University of Illinois, which is a great place, great institution, great football tradition, and do what we've got to do to get the program back on top."
On what goes through your mind with the season over:
"A lot. A lot. You know you're in this game for the players. You're in this game so you see the players experience things. Great things about this game, this game is an unbelievable game. You get so close to one another as a family. Kids coming over to your house eating Thanksgiving [dinner], just doing all those things. But the losing really hurts. You want your kids, just like how you want your sons, to experience winning. We didn't experience winning this year, it was one of the hardest years I've ever endured."
On what made Northwestern hard to stop:
"I think Mick does a great job of changing some things up. I've been here three times, I've played him three times. I can see the team getting better and better each year, no question, getting some good players involved in their program. I think they really believe in what they are doing. Their players do and you can see that."
On what needs to change for next year:
"Again, I think it's just the attitude, the belief, doing the little things you need to do to be successful. To me the game of football is controlling it. And what I mean by controlling it is taking care of turnovers, and taking care of creating turnovers and taking care of the football. If you look, we are last in giving the ball up too many times. And you can't do that and win football games. You have to control the football. We didn't create enough takeaways defensively. And you can have the best defense in the country, and if you can't take the football away it doesn't matter. And having success in the red zone, those have been some of the Achilles heels and now we've done well defensively in the red zone, but we've given up big strike plays so we're going to go back and do our plan. The plan, it does work, it has worked. Didn't work this year, but there are reasons that it has worked and there are beliefs behind it. You go with it and make sure you recruit players who believe the same thing."
Illinois Player Quotes
QB Nathan Scheelhaase
On the end of the season:
"We've been disappointed and frustrated for a while. Obviously we wanted to finish on a good note, but that didn't happen today. We have got to take that mindset into the off-season, that's the only thing you can do as a team. As the guys who are returning, take what's going wrong and learn from it."
On how he will remember this season:
"I hope that this is the one season that felt like it hit rock-bottom, the season that I learned the most from. That's the key, learning from what this is like and not accepting what's going on and not accepting losing in general."
On moving forward:
"(This season has) been hard on us as a football team, and we have nowhere to go but up. But it doesn't happen by just saying something. At the end of the day, behavior is what changes. That's what we have to have, a different attitude, a different behavior, moving forward.
RB Josh Ferguson
On the season and moving forward:
"Personally it hurts. All season not just this game. We have got to try more and just fix things."
On Northwestern's confidence:
"I don't know what to tell you, they did everything right. We turned the ball over, which always hurts from an offensive standpoint. We didn't score enough."