Nov. 30, 2013
Illinois Postgame Quotes
Northwestern 37, Illinois 34
Memorial Stadium // Nov. 30, 2013 // Attendance: 37,058
Head Coach Tim Beckman
“For a rivalry football game, that was definitely one to watch. I want to congratulate Coach Fitz [Fitzgerald] and that team upstate. They played well and good enough to win. I’m sorry for the senior class because I wanted them to be as successful as they possibly could and win the last two football games, especially their last game at Zuppke [Field]/Memorial [Stadium]. There’s a lot of tears in that locker room. There’s a lot of understanding that they’ve done a lot for this football team this year. As we talked to each one of those guys, we talked about what they’ve done for this football team - at least bringing an attitude of competing and the attitude of making this program better in everything they do. Each one of those young men put their lives into this last year to try to build this program that was at the bottom. They did a great job this year of competing and pushing this football team to be the best that they could possibly be. We fell short in a couple football games, there’s no question, but I’m very proud of the way that those seniors led this football team, and we’ll continue to push those younger players to push this football team further.”
On Nathan Scheelhaase’s interception in the fourth quarter:
“I think he was just trying to make a play and throw it out of bounds, and it didn’t get out. When you talk about turnovers in the football game, that was definitely one that they had and we didn’t have and it ended up being part of the factor in the football game.”
On the bond between QB Nathan Scheelhaase and WRs Miles Osei, Steve Hull and Ryan Lankford:
“You’re talking about guys who have been together for a long time, that have lived together, been in weddings together, you name it. I’ll tell you what, it’s been an honor to coach them. Being the head football coach here, understanding that to those young men, it means a lot to them. It meant a lot to try to push this football team with the youth that we have. They’re like father figures to be honest with you to a bunch of young players. As I told them, they will be repaid by the way that this football team is going to continue to progress.”
On Northwestern kicking a field goal right before halftime:
“We weren’t able to move the football coming out of the red zone. We had to punt the football, and it wasn’t a very good punt. They ended up hitting us with a strike and then kicking three points. You know it was a swing there. There’s no question about that, but I was proud of how the team came out in the second half and put the ball in the end zone immediately and competed right back. But those are three points that are crucial in the football game right now. We can all see that, and then the missed field goal - we missed a field goal too - you can’t do those types of things and beat a good football team, which they were in my opinion.”
Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase
On breaking the school’s all-time total offense yardage record:
“It’s one of those things where, obviously after a loss it’s hard to really take in what that means. I think it’s one of those things that I’ll definitely look back on and just be proud and thankful for all the people that made it happen. With all those yards, as a quarterback you’re not doing it all yourself. You’re surrounded by a bunch of guys helping you out. To go into the record book at a school like Illinois, with a record like that, is amazing. It’s an amazing feat and something I can’t wrap my head around yet.”
On senior day:
“It’s been a blast, it really has. I can’t describe it all, what this program and the people believing in me has meant to me. It has taught me so much. I’ve grown up so much through all this time and it’s just crazy to think that it’s over.”
Wide Receiver Miles Osei
On wearing injured teammate Ryan Lankford’s jersey:
“Before, it started when I couldn’t find my jersey for practice and Lank (Lankford) gave me his and I started thinking about it, ‘Why not wear Lank’s jersey on his last night?’ I was going to keep it a surprise but other people started talking about it so I asked Lank if it was ok and he said yes. It was a privilege to wear his jersey and have his name on my back. He’s left a legacy as one of the best receiver to come through (Illinois) and just to wear his jersey was an honor.”
Linebacker Jonathan Brown
On the defensive development during the season:
“It was fun. It didn’t necessarily show in wins and losses but what I saw everyday, with the guys I play with, the younger guys and their development, it means the world to me. When you see a guy come in from high school and become a man it makes you feel like a proud older brother.”
On the Northwestern offense:
“I have to take my hat off to them, they’re a well-oiled machine. They do what they’re supposed to do; we knew that coming into the game. We made a couple mistakes that led to big plays.”
Northwestern Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald
“Unfortunately, this year’s team comes to an end and that’s where I’m going to start: on our seniors, those 14 guys. Brandon Williams gave a very appropriate chapel last night about tests of faith, it either causes people to quit and give up their faith or to persevere and gain character. This year, this squad really developed a lot of character. They were able to keep us together as a senior class. We went through a lot of things - a lot of obstacles - and I thought they were able to continue to stay focused and continue to fight on as the season went along. So we are thankful for them here in the holiday season and we wish them nothing but the best of luck as they move forward in their future endeavors. There are some guys that have a chance to continue to play, there are some guys that are already employed and that’s why you come to Northwestern. This isn’t the end, this is just the next chapter in your life when the season is over and your career is over. To see the way those guys developed over their four or five years is something that we’re very proud of as a staff. We’re very thankful for their families for entrusting them to our program. As I told them on the field after the game, this will always be their home and if there’s anything that they ever need, we’ll always be there for them. So that was our focus today: to play as hard as we could for our seniors, to send them off the right way and we got the mission accomplished.”
On Trevor Siemian:
“He’s been the healthiest he’s been since the Wisconsin game, probably, the last two weeks, and he’s played like the Trevor that everybody expected to see. He got thrown into a tough situation. Kain (Colter) gets knocked out, Trevor couldn’t even walk out to practice on Tuesday after the Wisconsin game, he battles through it and he had a couple of tough weeks. He handled the negativity very well and I think he just kept persevering. There’s only so much you can do when you’re playing on one leg and he did that. I think he’s come out of it stronger and I’m incredibly, incredibly proud of him.”
“I’m not sure our confidence ever wavered this year. I didn’t sense that. I think we went into every game believing that we were going to win the football game. I think we went into every series and every play like we were going to win that play. Like I told the team just now, no team in the country got socked in the gut more than these guys did. They got knocked down and they kept getting up. So we’ll be back. We have earned and deserved any and all criticism as a coaching staff and as a program that comes along with not being where we belong. We will be back, I promise you that. We will be back.”
How did Kain Colter deal with not being able to play today?
“He was pretty emotional before the game. He’s meant so much for the program and I don’t want to sit here and cry in front of you but he’s a young man, like Nathan (Scheelhaase), that’s what’s right about college football. I told Nathan after the game I’ve had a ton of respect for him since the day he came in here to Champaign. Those are two of the most special young people in college football. This conference is going to miss both those guys, but, from our standpoint, our team is really going to miss Kain from a standpoint of everything. He’s a great leader, he’s a great worker and he’s obviously incredibly talented.”
Northwestern QB Trevor Siemian
On what it means to win a Big Ten game
"Coach Fitz has always told us, even when I got here, that winning a Big Ten game is the hardest thing you will do in your life. We were just talking and we were saying how true that is with everything we've been through this year. It's good to finally get one, that's for sure."
On the in-state rivalry between Illinois and Northwestern
"It's a good rivalry; it's a healthy rivalry. They have a bunch of good players, so it's good to get a win against those guys, for sure."
On Christian Jones' performance today, including his fourth-quarter touchdown catch
"Yeah, unbelievable catch. He was physical on his release. I tried to give him a chance out there. I definitely didn't want to turn the ball over down there and he made probably one of the better catches I've seen."
Northwestern DE Tyler Scott
On his interception in the fourth quarter
"I think I was just dropping in coverage and I was not expecting him to throw it right to me. It came my way and I bobbled it a little bit and then ran down the sideline. Luckily, I grabbed it before I went out of bounds.
On how it feels to win his final collegiate game
"It's definitely a good feeling. It's been a long time since we had a win. It's been a couple weeks now. This is what we wanted to do. We wanted to go out with a win and set the foundation for the guys next year. Just give them some confidence going into next season."
Northwestern WR Christian Jones
On his performance today
"He threw me the ball and I caught it; that's really what happened. You can never predict what's going to happen out there in these games. When you get your chance - that's what we usually preach in our (wide receivers position) room - when you get your chance, you have to make the best of it and that's what I tried to do today."
On his touchdown catch in the fourth quarter
"I knew I caught it; I knew they would be a little iffy about it, but I thought I had a touchdown."
On his thoughts on the offense coming back next year with Siemian and him returning
"It does a lot for everybody. We have a lot of people coming back. Trevor is big because he's been playing and playing well for a while. Also, we have Treyvon (Green) back, a lot of people on the offensive line coming back. We have a lot of great leadership, and I think that definitely sets a foundation and lets us know that we can still build on what we've done this last week. And we can keep this going."
On Trevor Siemian's performance today
"Trevor spread it out, man. Trevor was really getting it out there and he really was picking holes in the defense and getting it to guys who were open. That really helped out the offense and opened up the whole field for every receiver."