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Nov. 11, 2006

Recap |  Box Score |  Notes

Ohio State Head Coach Jim Tressel

Opening statement…
“It was good to get a road victory. Anytime you head out and it takes you a half of a day to get here it concerns you, but our guys kept their focus on what needed to be done. When your defense creates turnovers like that and you put pressure on like they did, the offense gets a short field often. (The offense) capitalized a few times. We turned it over a couple of times, which we need to straighten out since that cannot happen next week. I am proud of the way the kids kept their minds on playing every game this season, and I know they are excited to play the Ohio State-Michigan game.”

On the Ohio State-Michigan game pitting the top two teams in the country against one another…
“The Ohio State-Michigan game is always the biggest game. It doesn’t matter what the records are or what is on the table depending on the outcome. The fact that it is number-one vs. number-two, we think that is the way it should be. We are excited.”

On whether or not he has been looking forward to this week…
“When you have a rivalry like ours, you think about it often. You think about trying to become good enough to be prepared for it. It just so happens that it is the last game every year. You’re hoping you play your best football in that last game. I think we have progressed. People have talked so much about the approach of this game, but I’ve been proud of how our guys have stayed focused on the task at hand. Now it is exciting that we get a chance to play this game.”

On today’s game against Northwestern…
“It was good to get a decisive win and put a lot of guys in the game. We came out and were fairly sharp with some things, but we also have a lot to work on. We are fairly healthy still, so it was a pretty good day.”

On his defense’s play…
“Our defense does a great job of putting pressure on. Northwestern had a good plan and did a couple of things that were tough on us, but our guys just kept coming. We always talk about how you better have a relentless defense no matter what is happening, and that is the way our defense is. They just keep coming after you, and eventually they are going to get some pressure on you and cause something to happen.”

On Troy Smith’s day…
“He was in control and command, and that is what we like. He knew what was going on the whole time. He had the one throw that was probably a poor call, asking him to throw a home-run ball into the wind. That call was probably on me. He is very aware of what is going on, but sometimes it looks like he ad-libs, but he is only ad-libbing because he knows what (the defense) is doing and he knows where to find someone.”

Ohio State Player Quotes

Ohio State Quarterback Troy Smith
On the seniors looking forward to the Michigan game…
“I take it week by week, and obviously thus far our team has been a great shadow of the 17 seniors that we follow, so I know we’ve all been taking it week by week and worrying about what game and what team we need to play in the week to come.”

On the touchdown pass to Ted Ginn Jr. at the end of the first half…
“The wind didn’t affect me much… all the respect and all the credit has to go to the guys up front because they make all of that possible. Without my guys up front blocking and holding blocks, fighting and scratching down in the trenches, we don’t get those plays done. Ted made a great play on the ball, what more can you ask for from a guy who’s fighting off a defender.”

On getting the win at Ryan Field…
“Last time we were here, it wasn’t a great feeling. Not to say that that was our emphasis today, but it was definitely in the back of some of our guy’s minds. “

Ohio State Defensive Tackle David Patterson:
On playing against Michigan next week…
“Well, one thing we know about this game is that it is going to be physical. [This game] always comes down to toughness. You know, this is what dream about when you’re a little kid, playing in that game… I’m happy to be playing Michigan this week, but I’m saddened because it will be my last time in the ‘Shoe … It’s bittersweet.”

Ohio State Center Doug Datish:
On playing against Michigan next week…
“[The Michigan-Ohio State game] is called “The Game” for a reason … It’s a privilege and an honor to be able to play in that game … It’s going to be everything it’s made out to be… [The game] is something we’re all looking forward to.”

Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald

Opening Statement…
“Obviously, it was a very disappointing game for us. We had a great atmosphere. I can’t say thank you enough to our fans. I give Ohio State credit, but to go out and beat yourself, you really don’t give yourself a chance against a very good football team. We did that in all aspects of our game today. We had turnovers–and then opportunities to get some stops off of that–but we were unable to accomplish it. In the kicking game, I don’t know if we executed a kick all day. I put this one squarely on my shoulders. We had to get the team prepared and we didn’t do that today. We are going to get back to work. We’ve got a big game next week. It will be our bowl game to play against our instate rival for the Sweet Sioux Tomahawk.”

On his team’s five turnovers…
“I thought the game plan was excellent. Turnovers just killed us. We moved the ball well in the first half, but you have to respect the ball. We really hurt ourselves the last few weeks. You look at all the games we’ve lost–we’ve killed ourselves in turnover ratio–and you just can’t do that against good football teams and expect to win.”

On the play of QB C.J. Bacher…
“I’m going to watch the tape, but I don’t see any reason why we wouldn’t start C.J. (Bacher) next week. He just didn’t make very good decisions today. When you throw the ball to the team with the other jersey, it’s tough to overcome.”

On the play of RB Tyrell Sutton…
“We were down quite a bit, but we still tried to get the ball in his hands. We always try to get the ball in his hands. You look at the total number of plays; I would guess he had a third of the touches on offense, at least.”

On the play of CB Sherrick McManis
“I’ll put Sherrick on anyone in the country. He’s fearless. The only way you grow and you learn is if you go out and experience it. At cornerback you need a short memory at times. He’ll run stride for stride with anyone we play. It was a nice pitch and catch for them, but two plays early he almost picked it off, and he did it earlier too. We are going to continue to put him in situations for him to make himself better.”

On playing against the No. 1 team in the country…
“We thought if we went out and played our style of football, going into the fourth quarter in our house, we’d give ourselves a chance to win. Without a doubt we feel like we can play with and beat anyone in the country if we play our style. We haven’t done that consistently enough this year. I put that on my shoulders. You coach them to do it or you allow them to do it, it’s that simple. We’ve got a long way to go. We aspire to win this league. The attitude is in the right place. As long as we stick together like I know we will–we’ll finish this season the right way for our seniors on senior day and get ready to get back on the right track for success.”

Northwestern Player Quotes

Northwestern Wide Receiver Shaun Herbert

On facing Ohio State:
“It’s just another Big Ten team. We might have been a little more hyped up but we were all ready to play, ready to go out there and try to make some plays.”

On the turnovers:
“We definitely pretty much gave the game away. We moved the ball up and down the field. We just turned the ball over too much and you can’t make mistakes like that against he number-one team in the country and expect to win.

On the halftime approach:
“At halftime we were just like, `If we don’t turn the ball over, we’ll get back into the game.’ We knew that they really weren’t doing anything to stop us from moving the ball but it was just us not having great ball security and not making good decisions with the ball and not respecting the ball. The second half we went out and turned it over again. They made some good plays on the ball, so I’d give them some credit too.”

On the first quarter fumble:
“I don’t know, it was close. I was close to being down. I got hit and the ball popped up a little bit. I thought I was close to being down but it’s hard to tell.”

On the quarterback change:
“I think that no matter who’s out there at quarterback, especially as the [offensive] line and receivers and running backs, we just have to keep going forward. We know that we have to make plays to try and get back into the game so whether it’s C.J., whether it’s Mike, we just know we need to make plays regardless of who the quarterback is. The only thing it does is makes us more focused on the fact that we have to make a play.”

On the black pants:
“We talk about it as seniors. We wanted to change it up and get a different look. It really didn’t have much to do with Ohio State. It was just for us. We knew it was an ABC-televised game and we wanted to try to do something to change it up and have a new look.”

On Ohio State-Michigan next week:
“They’re a good team. It’s going to be a good game next week between OSU and Michigan. I think that front seven that Michigan has is pretty good. So, it’s going to be a good game.”

On the offensive approach to the game:
“We definitely thought that we had a chance to move the ball up and down the field against them. They lost nine guys from last year’s team I think. We definitely knew that we had a lot of guys returning, a lot of guys with experience. We thought we had a chance to make some plays. I think we went out there and we moved the ball up and down the field but we kept shooting ourselves in the foot by putting it on the ground.”

On this year’s loss compared to last year’s loss to Ohio State:
“I think this year it just hurts more just because we didn’t give ourselves a chance to be in the game at all. We turned the ball over five or six times and every time we turned it over they scored a touchdown. They did what a team’s supposed to do when we turn the ball over. It was a frustrating day. We basically beat ourselves. Northwestern beat Northwestern today.”

Northwestern Running Back Tyrell Sutton

On the turnovers:
“It’s definitely disappointing. You can’t turn the ball over. We had five or six turnovers with two blocked punts against the number one team in the nation. That can’t happen. We definitely need to give ourselves a chance to win and that’s pretty much what it boils down to.”

On the pre-game attitude:
“We definitely were hyped for the game. We talked about it a lot but we just didn’t walk the walk. We can’t really finger point. We made a lot of mistakes out there, a lot of mental errors and that’s pretty much it.”

On the Ohio State touchdown before halftime:
“It wasn’t a backbreaker but you can’t go into half giving up a touchdown then giving the ball right back after halftime. We were in it the whole game. The score doesn’t depict the way we played against them. They had about 35 points off turnovers. If you eliminate those turnovers it’s about a 10-20 ballgame and we’re in it the whole game. If we eliminate those mistakes we’ve got a game.”

On the running game:
“We definitely found creases in the defense that we exploited. Then, the next play, another turnover. We definitely moved the ball up and down on them but we have to capitalize on their mistakes and not ours.”

On the quarterback change:
“It really doesn’t do anything. We know that we have to go out there and make whoever’s under the center comfortable. All three of them have been rotating so I guess we’re sort of comfortable with any quarterback who goes into the game.”

On maintaining motivation throughout the game:
“Against the number one team you should be motivated the entire game. The thing that should be striking your head is score fast, get the ball back, score fast. We’ve seen the drain the clock plenty of times this season, especially with Michigan and that’s something we should come to expect. If you have a big lead like that you’re not going to keep trying to throw the ball. The motivation should have still been there. We’re playing the number one team in the country with a potential upset that could have happened, but it really didn’t, so the motivation should have been there the entire game.”

Northwestern Cornerback Sherrick McManis

On his approach to covering Ted Ginn Jr.:
“Every time I’m out there I try to have fun. That’s all it is, no matter who’s out there.”

On the Ginn touchdown:
“I was in one-on-one coverage. I was up on him, but he did a good job of not showing his hands until the ball was right there. I felt that I should have made that play but you’ve got to forget about it and move onto the next play.”

On Ted Ginn Jr.:
“He’s one of the best. He’s probably the fastest.”

On bouncing back from the Ginn touchdown:
“I kind of knew they were wanting to come at me after that one play when I deflected the ball but you never want to get scored on. You always want to make a play as a defensive back. You get down for that moment but then you have to forget about it and move on.”

On his interception:
“When I got the pick I was excited of course. Every pick you get you have to be excited about.”

On facing the number one team in the nation:
“Anytime I’m out there, it’s just so fun, like being in that kind of environment, getting to play especially against the number one team in the nation.”

Northwestern Linebacker Adam Kadela

On Ohio State’s offense:
“They have a lot of talent on offense. They’re probably the most talented players on one offense we’ve seen all year and when you have a quarterback like Troy Smith and you can get them the ball, and he’s also a threat on the run, you can make a lot of things happen. As a defense we were given a short field but that doesn’t matter. It’s our job to stop them and turn the momentum our way and we didn’t do that and it shows. It hurts you as a team.”

On the turnovers:
“In college football, in one game, it can come down to eight plays. Early on, when you have so many turnovers and they capitalize on them, you’re definitely not satisfied. There’s definitely an empty feeling. But you can’t dwell on that. You have to deal with what’s important now as Coach Walker would always tell us, and make plays.”

On giving Ohio State a short field:
“It’s always disappointing but it doesn’t matter. You’re a defense. Your job is to stop an offense. We’ve been in those situations countless times this season and we have stopped them. We just didn’t get the job done when those opportunities came. You’ve got to step up and make plays when you need to make plays.”

On being on the national stage:
“Coach Walker always said you’ve got a mural up there and you’ve got to paint your picture of what you want people to see. We had an opportunity tonight to paint a picture of what we wanted NU football to represent to a national audience and it definitely wasn’t the picture we wanted to paint and it’s disappointing to let an opportunity like that go away because there are plenty of players who have played for four years, five years, and never had an opportunity to play an number one team and we let it get away.”

On Illinois next week:
“I hope next week we make a statement and people will see that and we send our seniors out with a win so at least they have a memory that they started something with that last game to carry over into the off season and hopefully make something special next year.”

On not getting off the field on third down:
“It’s disappointing, especially when you have them in third down situations. There were a couple of times out there when we had them where we wanted them and a big goal of ours is to get off the field on third down and we didn’t do that. It’s also important to not give up a big chunk of real estate on first and second down because it improves our odds on third down to get off the field and we didn’t do that.”

On the Ohio State touchdown before halftime:
“It’s definitely disappointing. When you have an opportunity to go into halftime with whatever the score was you’d obviously rather have them with fewer points than they ended up with before halftime and you can carry that over in the second half with a stop. We started on defense in the second half. It’s good to have that momentum to know we stopped them that last series of the first half. So, it definitely hurts whenever you give up any points.”