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

Ohio State Postgame Player Quotes

Marcus Freeman, junior linebacker
On the loss
“It’s tough. Before the season started, we wanted to be national champions. It’s disappointing any time you lose, especially on Senior Day.”

On the performance of Illinois quarterback Isiah “Juice” Williams
“He’s a playmaker. He went out and competed for them and made great calls.”

On Illinois’ no-huddle offense
“We knew there was a chance they would use it. It came down to execution. They executed and we didn’t.”

Vernon Gholston, junior defensive lineman
On moving forward after the loss
“The biggest thing is we have to go home and reflect on it a little bit, but we can’t harp on it for too long. We still have one of our goals to achieve, winning the Big Ten, intact.”

On Illinois’ success in the running game
“I was a little surprised, but it always comes back to us. We were our biggest opponent. We just didn’t execute.”

Brian Hartline, sophomore wide receiver
On the attitude of the team
“You come to Ohio State to play against Michigan. We weren’t looking ahead this week, Illinois just executed really well. The biggest thing that hurts about this is that we can no longer control our own destiny in the national title run.”

On the locker room following the game
“Guys were upset. We apologized to the seniors for losing their final game. Now we have to pick our heads up and get ready for Michigan. It’s going to be a battle, so we better be prepared.”

Jamario O’Neal, junior defensive back
On moving forward
“All hope is not lost. It was a bad loss, but we have to hold our heads up and come out fighting. Our focus is now on Michigan.”

Maurice Wells, junior running back
On the play of the Illinois defense
“Their front four played well. They got pressure on Todd (Boeckman) and plugged up the running lanes. They also covered our receivers pretty well too. It was a complete defensive effort on their part.”

Todd Boeckman, junior quarterback
On the last time he felt like this after a game
“It’d be January 8th (following the loss to Florida in the BCS national championship game). These kinds of losses are hard to take, and it’s tough to reignite that enthusiasm again. It’s even tougher being a leader on this team and knowing you could have played better and helped out the team. We have to get back out there and get ready for Michigan.”

Illinois Postgame Coach and Player Quotes

Ron Zook, Illinois head coach
“I am so proud of our team and of how our coaching staff prepared us for this game. The players did what we asked them to do. It is definitely a different story from two years ago when we played here. It is evident we have made some progress and the team did what we had to do to come away with a win.”

On the fourth and inches play in the fourth quarter
“It was one of those things we just had to do. When Ohio State called the timeout, Juice (Williams) told me he would get it and I said that he better. We have a lot of trust and confidence in our guys and felt confident Juice would get it for us.”

On Juice Williams’ performance
“He managed the game well and after today, we can all see why he is our starter. When the game is on the line, he does what needs to be done. He is a tough competitor who plays the game well.”

On Illinois’ level of play
“Today, the team played what we coached and that is a sign they do listen. I am so happy and proud of this team and of the senior leadership we have. That group of kids have gone through a lot and today, they played great.”

Jacob Willis, senior wide receiver
On being the underdog in this game
“It feels good to come away from here with a win. I am speechless. We are where we want to be now and we can continue getting better if we just believe in ourselves.”

On the Illinois offense
“We have a great offensive line. The receivers and running backs also ran hard today and made big plays. As an offense, we played great against a great defense.”

Will Davis, junior defensive end
On the offense and its influence on the team
“The first big play picked the whole team up a lot and helped us believe that we can do it. They kept on going fast, which made the rest of us want to go fast and hard and finish strong.”