No. 1/1 Ohio State (10-0, 6-0 Big Ten) 38, No. 19/RV Wisconsin (6-3, 3-3 Big Ten) 17
Nov. 3, 2007
COACH TRESSEL: Well, I think just like all of you in preseason kind of had this one circled and knew it would be a battle, it was just that, and Wisconsin came and laid it on the line and they have to be proud of their kids. Our guys kept battling and anything that came our way in terms of adversity, our guys handled it and we’re awful proud of the way they got after it.
Vernon Gholston was all over the place and James Laurinaitis and that whole defensive crew and offensively when we got behind 17-10 and the defense needed a little time just to get back on their feet, our offense answered with a pretty good-sized drive and notched it up to 17 and then we had a chance to move on from there. I don’t know that it was our greatest performance, but it was winning, and we got a chance to fight another round.
JOHNSON: After a game like today, you’ve just got to thank whoever made it 60 minutes. We didn’t play our best ball all the way out, but when it came down to it, the defense gave us a little breather and we were able to come together. Nobody said Wisconsin was going to be an easy challenge and they showed us why they were picked in the Big Ten, they were a very good team, but fortunately we were able to handle our business towards the end and come out on top.
COACH TRESSEL: We’ll wait for Kirk here. No more comments? Okay, Kirk. Just kidding, be nice. Be good.
BARTON: Well, obviously we didn’t come out the way we needed to. They’re a tough football team. They always have been. Fortunately the second half we ran the ball a little better, got some creases, Beanie ran hard, but we’ve got to protect Todd better if we’re going to go the rest of the way. He got hit too many times and that was disappointing in our offensive line. We have to work on that this week in practice and obviously Sunday watching the film.
REPORTER: Coach, I think there were something like 10 and a half or 10 sacks by the defensive unit today which is maybe the story line of this game. Could you comment on that and then also about the way Chris Wells ran especially towards the end of the game when the money was on the line?
COACH TRESSEL: I think there’s no question that when Wisconsin was here without their running back, they were going to throw it more, and our guys can get after you when you’re going to throw the ball and I’m sure that Tyler Donovan, who I think is one of the toughest kids in the Big Ten conference, I’m sure he’s sore now, he gave a valiant effort and our guys were after him. We did a good job of stopping the run and again they were a little short-handed, but still we feel as if we could have stopped it period and forced him to throw it and we got after him and they probably threw a little more than they’re accustomed to and proud of the way our guys put pressure, as far as Beanie stepping up when we needed it in crunch time. It starts up front and our guys did a good job up front and our quarterback did a good job getting us the right looks and Beanie was breaking tackles at the second level, and when you have all that going for you, you’re going to seize back control of the game and I think that’s what that did is when we began to be able to run a little bit more, we seized control of the game.
REPORTER: Two fake punts, I wonder if you can talk about that. Particularly, were you surprised they tried the second one deep in their territory?
COACH TRESSEL: Yeah, I was surprised at the first one. It was fourth and whatever, but we had punt safe. We had it covered. They threw one from their side. But the second one, I was surprised as well, but that’s what fake punts do is they surprise you and hopefully you do your execution and can stop them. I don’t know for sure if that was a fake or I don’t know. If it was, it didn’t work. It sure helped.
FREEMAN: We’re just happy to get a huge win like that. It keeps giving us momentum going into the next came. I think the D line did a great job of disrupting the quarterback because we knew going into the game they were going to go as good as their quarterback went and I think D line did a great job of getting pressure on him and it’s good to come out with a victory.
LAURINAITIS: Just like Marcus said, to get a big win over Wisconsin feels good. The defense did good, we all did good, obviously there are things we can correct, we’ll have to go back and look at it. Something we can take out of this game is the fact that there was a lot of adversity, there was a big momentum swift there — shift, not swift, in the third quarter. I think our team was poised and just kept going and that’s something you can take out of it.
REPORTER: Was that a change in the game plan or just flexibility to just start grinding it out when you needed it the most? It seemed like you threw the ball a little more.
COACH TRESSEL: As you noted, as you were watching, that there was lots of guys in the box early on, on that first drive. We were throwing it, that’s what you do when their box is full. After that drive, they emptied the box out and started putting two over one on our receivers and that’s what you do is you try to establish the run from that standpoint. I don’t think we got our gears shifted quickly enough a little bit due to a couple penalties. We found ourselves first and 20 on a couple of those drives. I don’t know if it was the third drive or the second drive. We had made a first down and ran a little statue and picked up three or four and then we had a penalty in one of the other drives, and so we didn’t get changed up based upon what they were doing as quickly as we would have liked and we’ll have to learn from that.
REPORTER: Kirk, it’s been a while since you guys were down that late in the third quarter. Just talk a little bit about what the mentality on the sideline was.
BARTON: Well, I mean, our season was on the line. We’ve already had one loss to them last year, we don’t want another one. We just kind of looked at each other and were like, hey, we don’t want to feel like we did last year, we’ve got to win them all if we’re going to be remembered around here as a special team. We’re just thinking about a great challenge with Illinois coming up this week. They beat Wisconsin. So it just gets harder as the road goes on, but we were just looking at each other, you know, we just started — we’ve got to go. Where do you want to be at in January? Do you want to be at this place or do you want to be at that place? We know where we want to be, but we have to execute better in the first half if we want to get there.
REPORTER: Jim, do you believe a team has to face adversity sometime in the season to prove itself or would you just as soon not?
COACH TRESSEL: No, I think adversity helps a team and helps an individual. A lot of the training that these guys do is adversity. It tests them. A lot of the practice that they do tests them. You get in the games and swings, as they talked about, that tests you and it helps you grow to understand what it’s going to take and we’ll have a better understanding of what it’s going to take to win the Big Ten after today which will help us going into next Saturday. I think adversity is always good, even though I don’t vote for it, it’s good for you if you survive it.
REPORTER: Would you comment on Robiskie’s two touchdown catches, especially the one-hander in the end zone after the fake punt, if it was a fake punt?
COACH TRESSEL: Yeah, that was a special catch. It was a route that we’ve been working from about at five yard line and we stretched ourselves a little bit and called it — I don’t know where we were.
COACH TRESSEL: Eight? That wasn’t the best place for it, but yet all we needed was four yards for the first down so we thought we could close it down a little bit, and what Robie did was went the depth he needed to score the touchdown. So it was a little bit different than the way we practiced it depth-wise, and Todd had to hold the ball a little longer than we’d been practicing it, and when he let it go there was only one open window and that open window was where Robie had to reach back with one hand to catch it and it was a spectacular catch, and that’s what these guys do, they catch the football.
REPORTER: We saw a lot more scrambling today out of Todd Boeckman. Was that something that you guys had talked about, or was that more of an instinct thing on his part?
COACH TRESSEL: I think it was more of an instinct. We talk every week about a step up can make a difference in the game. Sometimes they’re going to drop so many people they’ve got them covered, so if you step up and go, that really disappoints the defense if they think they’ve got you covered and there goes the quarterback. We talk about that all the time and we haven’t had a whole bunch of those situations arise. But the ones that arose this particular week, he stepped up and did an excellent job and it helped us.
Last one there Doug, and I’ll get out of here for these guys.
REPORTER: I was going to ask these guys, is that okay?
COACH TRESSEL: That’s okay, I’ll leave.
REPORTER: No, you stay.
James and Marcus, you two were on the fake punt that you stopped, what were you thinking when you saw the guy coming your way? Did you think it was a fake?.
FREEMAN: You said the one we stopped? I knew I had the wing man. He actually came out and blocked and at that time I saw the punter running the ball and by the time we could get off, James was there and I cleaned it up a little bit and we were able to stop and get off the field.
LAURINAITIS: I can’t really say much more. Just sitting there and kind of — the job is to kind of dump people as they come up, kind of chip the guys releasing from D line rushing and basically saw him take off and knew it was a short yardage kind of situation and they were on the go and kind of be aggressive and get them down.
REPORTER: There were a lot of streaks on the line today; how about ending their three-game win streak in the ‘Shoe?
COACH TRESSEL: That was the most important one. That was important to us to make sure we played well in our stadium and be successful in front of our fans, and you know when we have the built-in energy advantage of our home crowd and if you’re going to be a contender, you have to win at home.
REPORTER: How about you against Wisconsin personally; was this an important win for the program given their success?
COACH TRESSEL: It beats being 1-4, so —