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Nov. 23, 2003

Recap| Final Stats| Notes

Ohio State Head Coach Jim Tressel
Opening statement …
“Michigan did an excellent job and earned a Big Ten Conference championship. They came out and did the things that championship teams do. They stayed away from turnovers and were able to run and pass. We did not come out and do the things that you need to do to be the Big Ten champion, so obviously we have to tip our cap to Michigan.”

On Michigan’s balanced offense …
“I think Michigan, as we’ve said all along, does an excellent job of being balanced. The better you’re able to throw it, it helps your run; the better you’re able to run it, it helps your pass. I think they have a very good design. I’ve said it all along that what they do is excellent and who they have doing it is excellent as well. They got the job done today.”

On bringing quarterback Craig Krenzel back into the game …
“The doctors cleared Krenzel to go back, and there comes a point in time when you have to make a decision. In that particular series to go back to Craig, the doctors said that he was medically fine and there was no real huge chance for future problems or anything like that, so I made the decision.”

On Chris Perry …
“Chris Perry’s a tough kid. I thought Chris Perry was very good when he was young. You have to respect the fact that he hung in there and just kept getting better and had a passion to make this an outstanding team. I can remember him saying right after our game a year ago, that next year it was going to be him and his team that were going to be doing things like that, and he went to work and he got the job done.”

Fifth-Year Senior Quarterback Craig Krenzel
On the momentum of the game …
“We knew coming into this game that Michigan is a great football team. On offense they have great balance. Defensively they held us to three touchdowns through the air and not very many yards rushing. You know, we came out early and the biggest thing for us offensively was that couldn’t rush the ball. We had problems rushing the ball and once we went to the air we got things moving a little bit. We got a little bit of momentum, but by that time it was too late; we had spotted them three touchdowns.”

On not being able to have success in the running game …
“I don’t think that it was that we came out in the first 25 minutes of the game and hadn’t had any success running the ball. Anytime that you are doing that and playing a good team like Michigan you can’t take zero-yard plays. You can’t take negative-yard plays. We were trying to run the ball and didn’t get very many yards.”

On losing the Big Ten title …
“I think that the biggest thing today was that we didn’t do what we needed to get done to win the conference. We came into this game knowing one thing for sure, that if we beat Michigan we would be the Big Ten champs. They beat us and they are the Big Ten champs. I think that is the thing that hurts the most right now. Every year we set a goal to be the number one team in the Big Ten and we didn’t get the job done today to take care of that.”

Fifth-Year Senior Quarterback Scott McMullen
On being one win short of going to the Sugar Bowl …
“It’s frustrating. To be that close to be back in the championship game again, and losing to Michigan, that does not make it any easier. I think that our team will bounce back. We’ve got a big bowl game coming and hopefully we will make the best of it.”

On the difficulty of losing …
“Yeah, it definitely hurts, especially being a senior, being at the last game and losing to Michigan up here. That is always tough. A lot of guys wish we would have come out better today but unfortunately we didn’t, so it’s tough.”

On the talent of Michigan’s team …
“They are talented. Chris Perry was impressive today and so was Braylon Edwards. They were all impressive out there. I think that John Navarre had a pretty good day. They are a pretty good team all around.”

Michigan Head Coach Lloyd Carr
Opening statement …
“I just heard that Jack Saylor (Detroit Free Press sportswriter) passed away last night; I want to send my condolences to his family. It was a great win and a great football game, if you love passion and intense concentration and effort for two or three hours it does not get any better than that. We talked last Sunday that we wanted to get ahead early, because we felt Ohio State would have a hard time playing from behind. But they did a great job today.

“I am very thankful for the opportunity to coach a group of kids that we have in this program. I am particularly happy for the seniors. I think they are as good a group as we have ever had here. They are wonderful human beings. I am so happy they can go out as champions of the best conference there is: the Big Ten Conference. I also want to give credit to the finest group of assistant coaches in the nation. They are tremendous men. We are excited about whatever opportunities that we are presented.”

On U-M quarterback John Navarre …
“John Navarre on the first day of this year led his team on an outstanding performance in Tampa, Fla., against a great Florida team. He came into this fall and played a great game against Notre Dame. Make no mistake, at Michigan the big games are Notre Dame, Michigan State and Ohio Sate. And he was the winning quarterback in each of those games. The last four weeks of this season, three times he beat teams that were ranked in the top 10 of this nation. He is an unbelievable human being. The way he has handled all of the things that were said about him and written about him; I can’t tell you how much I admire him. I’ve had some great quarterbacks here, I mean great ones and John Navarre is one of them.”

On John Navarre and Chris Perry’s performances …
“He was unbelievable. So often everyone credits the quarterback for the win and blames them for losing, but this was a total team win. The offensive line played tremendous and Chris Perry ran absolutely sensational. There have been people who have written that Chris is an average back. Chris Perry is a first team All-American. In my judgment there is not a better back in this country. I think first of all, our coaches did an exception job that allowed us to do some things. John did a great job of getting in places to make the plays. Chris ran really hard. Carl Tabb did a great job stepping in, and Tyrece Butler and Calvin Bell played well. When you add in Braylon Edwards, we spread that defense so much that it opens some holes that Chris could run through.”

On the first touchdown …
“We as coaches said at start of the season that Steve Breaston has special abilities and we need to find ways to put the ball in his hands. That part of that play was designed to be run with three receivers in the game and to split John Navarre out wide. Because of the defense they were in it fouls the defense, but the big thing I was afraid of was he was going to fumble. The offensive line blocked it very well and he was able to get into the end zone. It was a very important play because it gave us a lead in the first quarter.”

Fifth-Year Senior Quarterback John Navarre
On the win …
“It feels great. It is a dream come true. I wouldn’t have wanted to win it with anyone else in the world than with the guys in that locker room right now.”

On winning the Big Ten championship …
“We stubbed our toe a little bit at the beginning of the season. We kept hope, won seven home games and continued to win out after the Iowa game. Against Minnesota we never gave up. We had the momentum and we kept it for the last five weeks. I am more proud of team that I play for than I have been of anything else in my life. There were a lot of ex-players back and a lot of old faces and a lot of love in that locker room. It was a great feeling and something I will hold dear to me for the rest of my life. When we got people like Chris (Perry) and Braylon (Edwards) a team has to decide who they are going to stop. Chris had a great game and we have to give credit to our offensive line and to our fullback for opening up his holes. Our coaches put together a great game plan and made great adjustments during the game.”

On being Big Ten champions …
“It is huge. It is something that we haven’t had in awhile. We have said from the beginning that this was our goal and the rest was gravy. Even though we lost early, we knew that this goal was still in our hands. We had a greater will than any team that we played. We haven’t had that taste in awhile and it meant a lot to this senior class.”

Senior Tailback Chris Perry
On if he was surprised by his performance …
“No, I am not. The line did a great job and (fullback) Kevin Dudley does not get as much credit as he should. He is my body guard. We put it all together and played our game. It was a team effort all the way.”

On winning the Big Ten championship …
“It feels fantastic. As Coach Carr says, you come here to win the Big Ten championship. We finally earned it this year. It is ours. This team came together and finished strong. We have one game left and we are going to go out there and represent Michigan the best way we can.”

On hearing his named chanted after being injured …
“I was too busy saying how I got hurt. But it was great. To hear a whole crowd chant your name was a dream, it was like a movie. It was just surreal.”

On the win …
“It is a great feeling. We won the Big Ten Conference outright. There is no one better.”

On being inspired by his mother …
“She inspires me every day. I think about her all the time. She is always in my heart and inspires me all the time. She is the reason I am who I am.”

Fifth-Year Senior Defensive Tackle Grant Bowman
On the confidence level coming into today …
“You can’t help but have those little seeds of doubt, but — it sounds weird — I was probably more confident today than I was against Northwestern last week. I know when this team comes together and plays that we’ve done some special things and when we put all of our enthusiasm and joy into it and just have fun, there’s not many people who are going to be able to beat us.”

On the football alumni holding the banner before the game …
“I don’t know if I’ve ever been as fired up. We’ve always had other athletes hold the sign for us but to have guys who have played for Michigan and have been through what we’ve been through, I can’t think of anything more special than that.”

On getting a stop after the offense’s turnover …
“As a defense, sudden change is huge for us. Getting that stop there is huge because there is so much momentum in college football and we were able to get the momentum back. That’s probably one of the biggest plays of the game to stop them on third down.”

Fifth-Year Senior Right Tackle Tony Pape
On the meaning of how far the team has come since the beginning of the season …
“We, as a team, have so much character. I think this team has really shown all its heart to go and take those two losses and use them in a positive way. Those losses made us stronger as a team and we built on that. We built on teamwork and camaraderie. We stayed together all season and pushed each other. I think that’s helped us.”

On the offensive line’s effort today against Ohio State’s great defensive front …
“It’s a great feeling. That was the No. 1 defense in the nation. They’re the defending national champions, and they were a great defense. It’s a special feeling to come off the field having allowed no sacks, good positive rushing yards and John (Navarre) having a great day.”

On a win over Ohio State in his final game being as good as he thought it would be …
“It’s as good as I thought. It was even better. I haven’t beaten Ohio State. As a team I have, but not personally when I was starting. It feels amazing. It feels great. This is what you work for. This is why you spend five years grinding it out in the weight room, working out and going to practice. This is what it’s all about. It’s such a great feeling to watch your friends around you play well and have a great game with everybody smiling. It was a great time.”