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Oct. 19, 2002

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UW Head Coach Barry Alvarez
Alvarez on Game:
We were defeated by a very good football team today. No one likes to lose, yet I thought we showed improvement. I like the way my guys competed. They made a couple more plays than we did. I thought the key play of the game was third and seven in the fourth quarter and they really hadn’t done much for a quarter and a half and the ball was up in the air. We had two guys in position, no one made a play on the ball and they made a big completion and were able to go down and score on that series. I thought that was key. I also thought it was key when the ball was downed on the one-inch line and we were able to move it out to midfield. He tried to fair catch the ball and couldn’t get to the ball because of a defender. We played better than we have in the last few weeks and the important thing is we have to build off of it.

What was the explanation they gave you on the fair catch? They said that he went for the ball and he backed off. Jimmy probably should have just kept running right into their defender and they probably would have called it, but that was their explanation…that he couldn’t get to the ball.

Do you feel that other than three big plays, your defense played better today? I thought they played very well. There are a lot of weapons on that team and the quarterback will never beat them. That quarterback makes great decisions; I don’t think they had a turnover all day. We all know how good that running back is, their receivers are very good and a good offensive line. I thought our defense really played well. Those three pass plays were the story of the game.

At the end of the first half, was there any thought to try to move the ball down the field? 41 seconds, 80 yards away, into the wind, with a one-point lead, no.

Is your running game back to where you’d like it? That was one of the things we wanted to establish. We studied the game plan…we wanted to see if we could establish a run which we did for the first half, actually the first three quarters. I thought Anthony ran extremely well, I thought our offensive line blocked very well. And I liked the way we ran the ball, would have liked to get more points on the board.

Ohio State Head Coach Jim Tressel
On the game:
“Well, you knew it was going to be a battle up here in Madison, Wisconsin and it certainly was that. I thought our guys played all the way, played the 60 minutes they needed to play. They kept finding ways to hang in and there and do what we had to do to succeed and stop them and so forth. We knew it was going to be this kind of a football game, but we were just hoping to be the ones who had people come up and make the plays. Obviously, Mike Jenkins stepped up and made some plays. Chris Gamble made some plays on both sides. It was just a good hard fought football game and I pride the way our guys hung in there and came up with a Big Ten win.”

On importance of Chris Gamble’s play in the game:
“You guys are out at practice a lot. You see the way he can go after that football. It does not matter if it was intended for him or if he was covering the guy. He can go up and catch the football. He has been doing that now…[versus] Cinncinati, that one was a pretty big one. He is just outrunning athletes and you wish you could play him all the time.”

On the placement of Mike Jenkins on the last touchdown:
“It was a route that he was called to go deep. As you can see they had a whole bunch of people up there to try to stop the run. They had some success with doing that. We just felt like we had to strike with some big ones if we were going to have a chance to beat them. A year ago, if you remember, we had some guys open and we did not hit them. It was good to see Mike come up with a couple big plays. I thought Craig played a very steady game. He stepped up and ran a couple that were important. He threw the ball I thought fairly well. He was under a little bit of stress protection wise there at one stage, in the second quarter. What I liked was I saw our sideline into it the whole game. I saw our kids just hanging tough and there was not panic in anyone’s eyes, yet no one was pretending things were going that great either. They were just fighting.”

Senior Al Johnson
on UW’s play:
“It’s kind of two-parted, everyone is mad about the game but also in the same sense I thought we played a lot better than we did last week. I thought we made a big improvement and the guys think they made a big improvement. We just need to make one or two more big plays in the fourth quarter and give us a chance to win.”

Freshman Brandon Williams
on the sense of urgency in the 4th quarter:
“You know we had to score another touchdown to seal this game and we didn’t. We just didn’t get the job done today.”

on the team’s moral after the game:
“We just keep on slugging away because we can still be 5-0 and be 5-3 in the conference, and then we will be right at the top again. We just have to keep playing hard.”

Sophomore Brett Bell
on the UW defense today:
“I think our preparation went real well, other than a couple of plays I thought we played real well. After a loss we are always discouraged, but in terms of how we played today because Ohio State is an unbelievable team and we gave them the best game of the year so far.”