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Oct. 3, 2004

Recap |  Box Score |  Notes

Ohio State Coach Jim Tressel Quotes
Opening Statement
“I would like to applaud Northwestern for doing a great job of preparing, a good job of executing their plan and doing the things you need to do to win a Big Ten game. On the other hand, I don’t think we did the things we always talk about doing. We talk about being flawless on special teams when you’re on the road and that certainly wasn’t the case. We talk about doing a great job of playing defense when you’re on the road and I don’t know if that was one of our best performances there. I don’t know that we were opportunistic on offense. We had opportunities and didn’t come up with points at times, and that’s going to spell a loss.”

On Mike Nugent’s missed field goal in overtime…
“Mike knows how we feel about him, and no one feels worse than he does, but they ended up scoring a touchdown anyway, so I guess it’s irrelevant. But, that was just part of what we weren’t perfect at, and I think all of us think we needed to do better to come here and win.”

On Northwestern’s third-down success…
“I thought (Northwestern) had a good plan. They hurt us with the screen–the wide receiver screen and the running back screen–and they executed. Sometimes as an offense you stay a step ahead of the defense, and for a period I think they were doing that. I’m sure when we go to evaluate ourselves, we’re going to know that we need to do a lot of things better on defense.”

On the effect of OSU coming off a bye week…
“I felt coming into this ballgame that it’s dangerous for a young football team to be coming off a pretty good win and working hard during the open week, but not staying in that edge of competition. But, that’s the way it was, and we obviously didn’t handle it well.” On whether they were expecting this kind of performance of Northwestern’s defense…
“I don’t think there was anything that surprised us. There are only so many ways to line up 11 guys and we’ve seen so many of them. It’s whether you can handle the pressure that they bring and make them pay for bringing it, and we didn’t.”

On Ohio State’s running game…
“Where we need to be is better. We need to become a better football team in a lot of areas and the running game is one of them.”

On the effect of having a young quarterback in Justin Zwick…
“We have got to be better whether we’re young or we’re old or we’re medium-aged. We’re getting near the middle of the season, and whoever is playing has to play more experienced and better.”

Ohio State Player Quotes

Mike Nugent, Kicker
On losing to Northwestern…
“I don’t care who we lose to, but whatever happens, Coach Tressel always says life is more about how you react to things than what actually happens. I think this team faced a lot of adversity tonight and we are going to have to do everything we can to make up for it.”

On his overtime miss…
“It was probably one of the best balls I hit tonight and I wasn’t really sure why it didn’t go in. I just feel I let the guys down tonight, being one of the more experienced players and going though a lot, I just feel I let the rest of the guys down.”

Bobby Carpenter, LB
On the OSU attitude coming into the game…
“We had high expectations coming into this game for the rest of the season. We are a good team, and we are going to come out and respond next week and play hard. We played hard tonight, but we just didn’t get the job done.”

On the Northwestern Offense…
“They had a good scheme, at some points I felt like they were ahead of us a little bit, but that is something you have to overcome.”

On Mike Nugent’s miss…
“I’d take Mike Nugent on my team any day. He is going to miss kicks every now and then, but he is a great kicker.”

On the game atmosphere…
“It was a big game for them, night game, packed house, they played better than we did.”

On OSU missed opportunities…
“We missed a few tackles. We usually don’t do that, and I think that was the difference. We didn’t stop them on third downs and get off of the field when we needed to, which let them get some 80-yard drives.”

On the play of NU’s Ohio natives…
“They played hard tonight. Philmore is my age, and I played in some all-star games against him, he is a good player. Jeff Backes made some great plays They had guys out there from Ohio that wanted to come out and prove that maybe they should have played for Ohio State.”

On OSU’s winning record against Northwestern…
“When you beat a team for so long sometimes you expect to win. We expected to win tonight, and it wasn’t a lack of effort. We played hard. It was just execution, we didn’t get the job done.”

Justin Zwick, QB
On the Northwestern Defense…
“They kept on us, they did a good job of that and we just didn’t make plays.”

On a possible Ohio State letdown…
“The season definitely isn’t over. We want and learn from this game and get better and not have anymore of these for the rest of the season.”

Rob Sims, LT
On the loss to Northwestern…
“It is tough to accept (the loss) not so much about the streak, but we lost to a team we didn’t think we could lose to.”

On underestimating Northwestern…
“The Big Ten, everyone is going to come at you, especially being Ohio State, so we knew they were coming at us. We didn’t execute in certain instances, and we just didn’t get the job done.”

Northwestern Postgame Quotes

Head Coach Randy Walker
Opening statement…
I give credit to our coaching staff. I thought we had a great plan. The kids worked real hard at it with focus and attention to detail all week long. We knew we would have to play hard and with focus. We kept talking all week about responding because as a team we felt we had not made that kind of response we needed. Today we answered every call. I’m really proud of our kids. Ohio State is a good football team that knows how to win. Tonight reminded me of two great heavyweights going 15 rounds and I’m glad we got in the last punch. 33 years is long enough. It is good to put that behind us.

On consistency tonight…
I said to them in our post-game talk, if you want to know what responding looks like, we just did it. I really think our coaches did a great job. It was a tough game plan because we as late as Thursday we were still up in the air at quarterback. We did not run a different offense, but we had a different plan ready. We had a great week of preparation on the field.

On Herron getting most of the carries…
I felt like he was playing well and we needed to stay with him. I invested myself in that decision tonight. The ball will come back to Terrell (Jordan) in the future.

On the offensive game plan…
They get to the ball so fast on defense, I felt our misdirection worked well to counter that. You have to launch the ball against them because they come at you so fast. Last week we got behind the chains a lot. Tonight we stayed ahead of the chains and we stayed in the game. We did not have to get out of our game plan.

On a big win…
We had yet to play at a level to gain confidence. Tonight we did that. It is about consistency and playing steady. I tried to tell the kids that amidst the jubilation in the locker room. We had some evidence on how to do the right things in preparation this week. I don’t know what “it” is, but tonight we had “it.”

On Northwestern’s Ohio players…
It was hard for those guys, especially Jeff (Backes), two years ago when we lost to Ohio State. He was heavily recruited by OSU and one of his best friends was a captain for them tonight. I was looking for him to have a big game tonight and he did. Northwestern vs. Ohio State October 2, 2004

Northwestern Player Quotes

Defensive Lineman Luis Castillo
On the defensive line play today…
No difference on the line tonight. We came to play hard and we fought to the very end. I talked last week about guys trying to do too much and this week we just did our jobs.

On the stop in OT…
To have Nugent miss, we got lucky with that. We have had a rough year this year and sometimes the ball hasn’t bounced our way. To have that break was huge.

On Northwestern’s defensive stands…
I think they were shocked at how hard we played. They didn’t take us seriously two years ago and maybe they didn’t again tonight. A couple of weeks ago we may have folded on some of those drives, but not anymore.

Defensive Back Jeff Backes
On beating Ohio State…
It’s hard to put something like that into words. Ever since I came here I’ve wanted to beat the Ohio State Buckeyes. One of the biggest things we talked about this week was being disciplined. This week we didn’t try to do too much, we just did what we were taught to do.

On his first career interception…
We were in cover three and Herschel (Henderson) made Bam Childress loop around and I dove in front of him. That will be a great first interception to remember. On having Pickens back… We’ve been just waiting for Pickens to get back. He is a leader out there both verbally and how he plays.

Receiver Mark Philmore
On his first touchdown…
I finally got one my junior year against Ohio State. It must have been karma. I saw the opening and it was just run, run, run. I saw someone coming out of the corner of my eye so I tried to get in there as fast as I could. Being from Columbus makes it just that much sweeter.

On being successful against Ohio State’s defense…
You have to keep their offense off the field and you just have to make plays.

Running Back Noah Herron
On getting more of the workload…
I wanted the ball as many times as they would give it to me. Running backs want the ball every play. This week we planned to run the ball more and that is what we did.

On not being intimidated…
We know the Big Ten is rough. There are no gimmes in this conference. Whether it is the No. 6 team or an unranked team, it doesn’t matter. We still have to bring it.

Offensive Guard Ikechuku Ndukwe
On confidence against Ohio State…
I had no doubt in my mind that we were going to win this game. They are a great football team and Northwestern University is a great football team. We have not played to our potential. The key difference tonight is we were able to respond. They are a great team with a great defense and we showed we are a great team with a great defense and offense.”