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Illinois (8-3, 5-2 Big Ten) 28, No. 1/1 Ohio State (10-1, 6-1 Big Ten) 21
Ohio Stadium
Columbus, Ohio
Nov. 10, 2007
Attendance: 105,453

COACH TRESSEL: Well, it was a hard fought football game like we knew it would be and hats off to Illinois. They did the things that you need to do to win a tough battle and unfortunately we didn’t do all the things that you need to do.

Nevertheless, I have to say that we’re extremely proud of our kids. They never stopped going after it and they’ve done everything we’ve asked them to do this entire year and done it as hard as they can do it and I feel bad that we didn’t come through for those guys playing for the last time here at Ohio Stadium, but nevertheless still proud of how hard they go after it and how much it means to them, and this stings, but we’ve got to pick up and move.

JOHNSON: Nobody expected it to be like this, but it’s just part of football. We’ve got to rebound from here. I think we’ve got a lot of little things to adjust. We can’t turn the ball over, next week especially. We’ve got some problems. The season’s not over. Everybody can’t be hanging their heads. We can’t look back at this. We’ve just got to press on.

BARTON: Well, I mean, obviously it being Senior Day, you kind of feel like a bit of a failure if you can’t get a win on senior day. It’s not anyone, but you kind of — it takes a little bit away from your captaincy if you can’t lead your team the way you need to, but there’s no time to sulk. I just hope all the young guys remember this, I hope you print this tomorrow, because I want to remember how it feels for my Senior Day. I guess it’s a sacrifice, but I don’t want them to feel like this for their Senior Day. It’s the last time in the Horseshoe and it’s the last game I’ll remember for the rest of my life. It’s disappointing.

But it’s Michigan week as of now so tonight we’ve got to start watching the film, got to start working out tonight and got to start grinding because that’s the one — that’s our shot, you know. We’re going up there, they’re tough, they’re ready for us, you know, we’ve got to get our team right.

LAURINAITIS: Obviously being an underclassman, I feel bad for our seniors, wanted to send them out the right way today. And like Dionte and Kirk said, we don’t have time to put our heads down really, we have to kind of look at each other and look at ourselves in the mirror and go in there tonight or tomorrow and focus on Michigan because everybody around here knows this is “The Week” no matter what happens, and we have to go in there and learn from it and look at yourself in the mirror and hopefully get ready for this week coming up.

GRANT: Of course it hurts to actually go out like this as a senior, but just like the rest of the captains said, it’s Michigan week, we already need to get prepared for them starting tonight and tomorrow morning, but we’ve got to keep our heads up and move on.

REPORTER: Coach, this team ran the ball on you very well in the second half; can you talk a little about what you saw out there and what happened with the drives, especially the fourth-quarter drives?

COACH TRESSEL: They’re an excellent running football team. They were tops in the nation and good people doing it, good people blocking. When you have the added challenge of the quarterback being part of the run game, that certainly adds another challenge and they did a good job executing. They mixed in their play action pass very well, and we fought like crazy, and without watching the film or anything, they just — they did a good job doing what they do.

REPORTER: You talked about the sting, what will this — how do you turn these emotions so quickly into this next game?

COACH TRESSEL: Well, it’s something you’ve got to work hard to do. I think like anything that happens, it’s disappointing. You have to evaluate the parts of it — the Xs and the Os and all that kind of thing and work hard to get your emotions right to go and have a tremendous challenge and I guess it’s no different than if you have a hard drive within the course of a game, you’ve got to try to figure out why it was a hard drive and you’ve got to get your emotions figured out to get ready for the next drive. This is a whole game that we’ve got to learn from and then be prepared mentally and strategically and all the rest for the next one.

REPORTER: I wanted to ask about the fourth and one when Illinois ran the punt team on you and you called timeout; can you just talk about what happened there?

COACH TRESSEL: Well, I wish I wouldn’t have called timeout. When they had their punt team out there, we still had 12 or 13 guys out, which was — would have been a problem, but I guess hindsight, I’d have liked to have not called that because at least we would have had a chance with the ball back, but it’s hard to communicate. It’s hard to get people off the field. It’s loud out there and I’d like to have that one back.

REPORTER: Could you comment a little bit on Chris Wells’ condition and it seemed like when was hobbling around a lot like he was in a lot of pain and how hard he fought throughout this game?

COACH TRESSEL: I thought Beanie fought extremely hard and played as hard as he could. I don’t really know totally what his medical situation is. He was hobbling a little bit, but we’ll have a better handle on that after tomorrow when he meets with the doctors and so forth, but I think he’ll be fine.

REPORTER: Jim, could you assess Todd Boeckman’s play today? It looked like he was harassed a lot today, the three interceptions really hurt.

COACH TRESSEL: We know that we can’t turn it over like that and come up on the right end of things against a good team. I thought he did some very good things. I thought he did a good job putting them in there when he could. He even stepped up and ran very, very well. There were some moments when the — the last one, for instance, he was trying so hard to make something good happen for us that maybe he shouldn’t have tried to fit that one in there, and the first one, he knew exactly where he was going with the ball and just didn’t get it quite over the defender. And the one down by the goal line, that was hard to tell, that bounced around a little bit, but he was competing, he was going hard, and Todd will keep getting better every day.

REPORTER: Coach, just want to ask about your perspective on Juice Williams’ play. He came into this game and didn’t have a real big MO as a passing quarterback with four touchdown passes, and when you sat on the pass, he ran the quarterback effectively, it seemed like he did a phenomenal job for Illinois.

COACH TRESSEL: He really did. Juice played a good game for Illinois. They had some good things designed for him and he found the people that he needed to, especially on those touchdowns. And he’s always a threat as a runner and he played a good game, you can’t deny that.

REPORTER: Jim, all of your captains mentioned turning the page to Michigan week almost in their initial comments. Talk about how quickly you got to that in post-game down in the locker room; were you right on Michigan or did you talk at all about what happened out there this afternoon?

COACH TRESSEL: We talked about how proud we were that they kept fighting and over the course of the entire time we’ve been preparing for this season and playing in this season, they’ve worked like crazy and done everything that you could possibly imagine. And they did that today and it didn’t work out for us, and obviously we can’t erase how we feel about it, but on the other hand, we know we have a big week coming up and we’ve got to grow from this, so I don’t know if it was 48 seconds into it or a minute and 10 or whatever, but it wasn’t the first thing we talked about.

REPORTER: Jim, what effect did no huddle have on you guys?

COACH TRESSEL: I thought they did a nice job like they always have. I thought they did a good job mixing in with going with kind of waiting for a call to some of the quick count, I thought they did a very nice job with that. They did a good job executing.

REPORTER: Jim, first possession of the second half, defense gets a stop, you guys get the ball back and have a chance to tie it up, just talk about that and I think you guys ended with a turnover there, how that may have had a momentum swing for you guys.

COACH TRESSEL: You could really feel the energy in the place when our defense stopped them and the offense moved it down and unfortunately we didn’t score when we were in the red zone, and when you sit down and analyze all the things that it takes to win a football game, you’ll end up talking about the turnover margin. You’ll end up talking about the rushing game. You’ll end up talking about the red zone opportunities and all those things, and that’s because that’s exactly what determines games. And we needed to score there, at worst three, and we ended up turning it over.

REPORTER: Jim, a guess on Dufrene’s 80-yard run. It appeared perhaps he did fumble, but it wasn’t reviewed. Do you have any thoughts on that?

COACH TRESSEL: Well, you know, I heard that afterwards. We don’t have monitors in our coaches booths, so obviously they can’t help with us maybe challenging. Plus officials theoretically look — review every play. And I have not seen that play, so I can’t comment on whether it was a fumble or not, but I heard since that it could have been.