No. 10/10 Ohio State (10-2, 7-1 Big Ten) 42 vs. Michigan (3-9, 2-6 Big Ten) 7
Nov. 22, 2008
COACH TRESSEL: Well, it was a great day for those 28 seniors and our kids played hard and Michigan played hard and it was a wild first half. We came back — I thought the turning point was when they punted us down to the 9 and then two plays later we scored. That was huge. A big run by Beanie and a big run by Boom Herron and that really made a difference. Just so proud of these kids to be able to have some of the accomplishments that our seniors have had over the last five years if they’re a fifth-year guy or four years if they’re a four-year guy, really incredible. Just looking forward to a nice Thanksgiving and watch some ball games even yet today.
REPORTER: From a historical standpoint, first team ever to go five in a row over Michigan, talk about that.
COACH TRESSEL: It’s hard to believe because it’s so difficult. I remember looking up the statistic about three or four years ago of what the winning streaks were, because you’ve always got to have something in the back of your mind that you’re shooting for and just the fact that it was done in the ’30s four in a row and done in the ’60s four in a row and we had Ike Kelly speak to our players today and he was a great player who happened to in the 5th game didn’t get it done and you can tell it’s still heavy on his heart and he shared that with our players today.
REPORTER: How much in a week like this playing Michigan do you have to change up your wristbands and hand signals and things like that?
COACH TRESSEL: Why do you ask that?
REPORTER: I hear things.
COACH TRESSEL: You hear things? I’m not sure. Maybe a little.
REPORTER: Could you tell by the way they were playing the front four as the season progressed this might turn into a day of big plays as opposed to extended drives? What was your thought about that as you went into it and give us an update also on Beanie.
COACH TRESSEL: Well, if you watch their films, the teams they played did not run four yards, five yards, four yards, five yards, they either ran minus one or hit big ones, whether it was run or pass, and that defensive front they have is something with those three seniors, Taylor and Jamison and Johnson, and Brandon Graham is as good an end as there is anywhere. I love that Number 8. I’ve been saying that all along. I think he’s a hitting Jesse. But sometimes they have overcommitted and some people have hit some big ones. And I thought Jim Bollman and his staff did a good job of just being patient, knowing how they were attacking us and then Beanie and Boom did a good job keeping their shoulders square and came up with the big plays.
REPORTER: Was it Beanie’s hamstring?
COACH TRESSEL: Yeah, I guess. I don’t know if he was cold or what, but it started last week a little bit and seemed fine this week in practice, although Michigan week practice, some of these former players, Jerry will tell you, Michigan week practice, they couldn’t even bust a grape because they want to make sure they’re alive for the game. You never know if they’re really healthy. We’ll just have to get him healthy for the next one.
REPORTER: Jim, can you just address from the Penn State loss and going into that bye week and where you thought the team was at that point and what you guys got done finishing it out here with wins?
COACH TRESSEL: Well, that was a tough loss to Penn State. Penn State’s a good team. We’ll see how they fare in their rival game this week, but we just went to work after that game just like we do every game. Those 28 seniors are good character guys and they weren’t going to let anyone think that they had given up on anything and they weren’t going to let up on us and they continued to lead us and hope we’ll keep getting better.
REPORTER: From a fundamental standpoint on the field the second half, you talked about a wild first half, can you sort of talk about what went right on both sides of the ball?
COACH TRESSEL: Yeah, those two big runs to make it 21-7, that was huge, and we had the wind, so we were kicking deep, and then I think we smacked the quarterback, so all of a sudden they had to go with another one and they just didn’t have the continuity they needed. I thought they did a good job of game planning and so forth and did some zone things and threw a couple passes up there that I’m not sure how they got completed, but they did. Our guys are very poised and we almost even kept them out of there when they got the ball down there at the one. Didn’t quite make it, but our guys just keep playing, our seniors keep leading.
REPORTER: Can you talk about how concerned you were about Terrelle’s start, if he had jitters or not, also about getting Todd in, having some success with him?
COACH TRESSEL: Well, the play that we threw for the interception was clear over on the other side of the field, so I really don’t know what happened there, but that’s not the greatest way to start your first Michigan game, but he said that will never happen again and I didn’t want to tell him that if it did — so I just left it at that. But, no, I thought he handled things well.
Michigan’s got a good defense. They were coming after us. It wasn’t until we got some things going that, hit a long pass and so forth, and Todd coming in, Todd threw a couple strikes in there that were Todd Boeckman throws, one to Hartline for the touchdown was a good adjustment by two guys that know each other pretty well because quite honestly it wasn’t the play called exactly, but it was a route adjustment off of it, and then the big play to Robiskie was just a great throw.
REPORTER: Can you assess the play of you guys in November, today you put 42 points on the board, would you say that this was your best today?
COACH TRESSEL: I think we’ve played very well in November because I thought there were three great challenges, when you have to go to Northwestern, you have to go to Illinois, then the Ohio State-Michigan game is a great challenge no matter where you play it. So I’d have to assess that we’ve played well in November, and I still say it’s all because of the leadership of those seniors that they were not going to allow this team to do anything other than finish right, and that’s just the way they practiced. That’s just the way they studied film. That’s just the way they’ve carried themselves. This was an emotional week. These 28 guys, I told them last night in a meeting that just the seniors and I had, I’ve been coaching for a long time, this is my 23rd senior class, I don’t know if I’m getting old or whatever, but this is a group that was as unselfish as I’ve ever seen and as special as I’ve ever seen and has had as many battles as I’ve ever seen and accomplished now I guess you can say quite a bit, so they’re a special group.
REPORTER: Are you not going to put on your cap? It’s a pretty hard-earned award.
COACH TRESSEL: It might mess up my toupee. You want me to put it on?
REPORTER: Can you address first the defense. I lost count, but I believe they had either nine or 10 three and outs today.
COACH TRESSEL: Is that right?
REPORTER: Specifically the play with Ray Small.
COACH TRESSEL: I thought Ray Small’s return was huge, I don’t remember what the score was at the time, maybe 21-7, I can’t be sure, but that was a huge return. Defensively, we’d like to say that if you get three or four three and outs, that’s like a turnover, so if you’re talking like nine or 10, that’s like getting three turnovers. You mentioned the special teams, the kickoff team knocked one loose, the punt team dropped a couple punts down in there, we did pretty well. I’ll let you talk to the guys that matter.
REPORTER: Coach, one more if I could.
COACH TRESSEL: Whatever you say, Dave.
REPORTER: Coach Dantonio made no bones about the fact he was an Ohio State fan this week. Does it go without saying that this week you are a Michigan State fan?
COACH TRESSEL: Well, you know I’m a Coach Dantonio fan. There’s no question about it, I’m so proud of what he and his staff have done because I’ve coached with most of those guys and most of them have coached here. It’s going to be a great game. And have a nice Thanksgiving.
TODD BOECKMAN: First of all, it’s always nice to get a win over Michigan in Ohio Stadium on senior day. It felt pretty good. I know all of us seniors and all of us players, to do something that nobody in the history of the Big Ten has ever done, win three big — four Big Ten titles and then beat Michigan five times in a row, that’s something special. I’m so excited for everybody on this team and we did a great — we had a great game playing today. Offense did some great things, started off a little slow, but we picked it up.
What can you say about the defense? After the turnover, they stopped them down there on the goal line, held them to seven points the whole game. I’m just excited for everybody, we played a great game.
BRIAN ROBISKIE: I think first you’ve got to give Michigan a lot of credit. I think with their record, we really didn’t look at that to kind of represent how they were going to play. I think we knew they were going to come in and play hard and give us everything they had. I think guys, listening to the coaches during the week, they did a good job of understanding that this was going to be a huge game because it always is.
As Todd said, we started kind of slow. I think it was 14-7 at halftime, but we came in and we went through our normal adjustments. I thought the guys responded well. I thought — I really thought a lot of guys were playing for each other, that was the big thing. Like a lot of seniors and a lot of guys have been playing a lot of football and there was a lot of guys that wanted to play for each other and wanted to kind of send us out on the right note.
So I think offensively and defensively, obviously we did some good things, but I think the biggest thing was just how happy I was to see everybody kind of playing for each other and playing for captains and all the seniors in the locker room. It was just great.
JAMES LAURINAITIS: Kind of like what Todd said, anytime you can get a win over Michigan, it’s definitely something to cherish and this was — it was a battle, especially the first half, I remember — it was just play in, play out, it was a war out there, a battle. Those guys came out and fought. That’s what we expected out of them. Their offense made some big plays. Special teams made some huge plays. Our kickoff team was getting after them all day.
Defensively we just kept fighting. It’s crazy to be at this point right now with the regular season already wrapped up and everything, but what a blessing it’s been to be able to be a part of this family and represent this team and definitely represent these other captains up here, these three great guys up here, and the others that we have on the squad, it’s been a complete blessing to be a part of them and I appreciate each and every one of them.
MALCOLM JENKINS: Just like James said, it’s been a huge blessing not only for the seniors, but just for everybody on this team to be able to be in the situation that we are to make history and see how far the team has come. As far as the game, Michigan has a great defense. They started off getting after us, but our offense came around and put some points on the board.
Special teams played great, got us positioned down inside the 10 yard line, inside the five yard line. Our kickoff team was doing a great job of making them start behind the 20 and things like that. That helped our defense all the time, we got a lot of credit, but it helped us that we had great special teams, where they had to drive over 80 yards every time just to try to get a score and I just think it was a great team effort. Everybody was playing for each other, especially for the seniors and we appreciate everyone’s efforts.
REPORTER: You guys, all four of you are part of really uniqueness. All the accomplishments you’ve had. Can you just sort of go down the line and tell how that will stand with you forever? You never lost to this team. There have been some great football players at Ohio State and they can’t say that, you can.
TODD BOECKMAN: First of all, it’s great to make history and especially when you get to have five pairs of gold pants, that’s something you’ll never forget and that’s one of the things as you look back many years from now, that’s one of the things I most remember about Ohio State football is we beat Michigan five times in a row and able to have five gold pants.
BRIAN ROBISKIE: You commit to Ohio State as a freshman and you hear about all the tradition and all you hear about is Michigan, that’s all you hear. I don’t think it matters really how either one of the team’s doing, and what implications come from the game, it’s always the game everybody wants to watch, it’s always the game you look forward to all season and going into the next year. So I think to be up here and be fortunate enough and be blessed enough to say that I didn’t lose, it’s a great feeling. But I think that, especially for this team and for this year, this 2008 Ohio State team, for me to be a captain with these other three guys and I’ve accomplished it, it’s real special.
JAMES LAURINAITIS: Just like these two said, it’s obviously a great accomplishment. I don’t think we really realize it now, but I think as we get older, we’ll look back on our career and stuff and realize to be a part of the first team to win five times in a row is something that is very special. We got to hear from Ike Kelly today at breakfast, he talked about the one that stuck with him was the fifth one they tried to get and they lost here. To be able to say forever that you’re a part of this team is something that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.
MALCOLM JENKINS: I see my man here, he’s got a pair of gold pants on right now. We can walk around with all four of them and that’s something that a lot of people can’t do and then to be a part of the team that got the fifth one in a row, it’s history. Jack Tatum talked to us too, he said as soon as he walked into the airport, the first game he saw was the one he lost to Michigan and we’re blessed to be in a position where we don’t have to say that, we don’t have to live with that the rest of our lives, we can always say we beat that team.
REPORTER: You guys have formed a friendship over the last four years, you had a moment with your families today, I just wonder what you said to each other and how emotional was it after trying to get through that scene with your family and then to go play a football game.
JAMES LAURINAITIS: My mom and dad were a lot more composed than I thought they would be. I think my mom was more of a wreck all week, crying almost every time I talked to her. Today I think she was in her pumped up mode ready to punch somebody out wearing maize and blue. I just gave my parents a hug and said thanks for the support. They made it to almost every game, and they didn’t have to do that, whether they had to drive 12 hours from Minnesota or fly, whatever they had to do, they always made it.
Malcolm is a guy I look up to at practice. Sometimes at practice you’ll be out there and not really be all into it, you’re just trying to get through it, some days like that when you’re tired and Malcolm’s passion and energy for the game is something I draw from. It’s been a great four years seeing the success he’s had. He’s started four years straight and he’s really the first superstar coming into our class together and to see him come from three-star rivals ratings that he had to who he is now, we all joke around, he was a two-star before senior year, I give him crap about that, we were all underrated coming in. And to see the kind of success he’s had and how much he’s grown in his faith is something that’s truly inspiring and it’s going to be a lifelong friendship.
MALCOLM JENKINS: Coming through the Tunnel of Pride and everything was kind of emotional, but I think the biggest thing me and James were going to do — the game was going to come regardless, we wanted to enjoy that time with our families, I went to my mom and dad and told them I loved them, went to James’ parents and told them I loved them because they always supported me. When it got to James, me and James already know when it comes down to the game what we’re going to do, in practice we always go to one another, if I don’t feel like practicing, which is more often than he does, he does a lot to motivate me, it’s just been that way since we got here, not only with James, but the rest of our guys in our class, Robo me and him go out probably more than anybody as far as one on one, but we’ve been through so much with the class and I’m just proud. Happy I came back to enjoy this with them it and I love every single one of them. It’s definitely been a senior year to remember.