Ohio Football vs. Northern Illinois Postgame Quotes - Oct. 12, 2019

Ohio Head Coach Frank Solich

On the play of the defense in the second half:
"That's a good question, and I don't know if I have the answer. We'll look at the film and try to figure it out from every little bit. I do know that we played pretty well in the first half. We played two good first quarters of football. We played poorly the third quarter on both sides of the ball and that continued in the fourth quarter on the defensive side of it. I thought offensively in the fourth quarter we started to show our ability again, but we gave them a lot of life. It's tough when a team gets momentum like they got, but on the other side of it, we were able to come back and put points on the board to keep the game within reach and then tie it up. But that last quarter in terms of drives by them, we just did not do a very good job of controlling that. We'll look at it from a coaching standpoint. Could we have blitzed them more? Could we have used different blitzes? Could we have tackled better? There's a lot of things to look at. I certainly give those guys credit. They played hard. They had a disappointing loss the previous week, but they showed a lot of courage in bouncing back." 

On the defense struggling to get off the field:
"Well, every game is a little different, obviously, but not stopping the rushing game hurts, and that certainly hurt us in the second half and that opened up their passing game a little bit. They ran some RPOs with it, so when you get the rushing game going, then you have the chance to get the passing game going a little bit, so that's what they ended up doing. Coming in, they were a fairly heavy passing team, so we knew they were going to put the ball in the air a fair amount, but we had one turnover that we got. That's not enough. The turnovers that we have gotten throughout the course of this season have been minimal. That's not good enough. What we've got to do to start creating more turnovers, we'll see, but we're going to look at everything from how we blitzed to how much pressure we were able to put on and whether our blitzes are straight ahead-type blitzes or coming from the side. We've got a lot of work to do. We've got obviously some investigating on our end of it as we look at the film, but I think the team is still together. They were certainly down in the locker room, but as Nathan [Rourke] indicated here, I think they still feel like they're a very, very good football team and they have the ability to win no matter when they step on the field or who they step on the field with. I think that part of it will carry on and help us some."

On the defense taking a step back after the win at Buffalo:
"Well, it's what it is. As I mentioned, we did not play very well the whole second half defensively, and that is bothersome. It's not that they got worn down because we were able to control the ball offensively when we got it. We went on long drives, so it wasn't like it was three-and-out for us on the offensive side of it and they were right back on the field again. They had plenty of time to get to where they had their energy and were ready to go when they stepped on the field. We apparently didn't execute well, certainly not well enough to win."

On why a flag wasn't thrown after Northern Illinois kicked the ball after Ohio called timeout on the final drive:
"Yeah, and I told them it's been flagged before in college ball. He certainly had plenty of time not to carry through on the kick from where I was standing, but those are the kind of calls that you may get, or you may not get. No matter how it works, there's nothing you can do. That wasn't what lost the ball game for us, though. He told me that [the kicker] didn't have a chance to stop, which was his opinion."

On how to fix the issues on the defensive side of the ball:
"Probably just put in long hours like we always do. It's about time to obviously look at things that are working, look at things that aren't working, and then change the things that aren't working. That's what we're going to do. We're a pretty good football team, but obviously we're not going to come up with a whole new offense and a whole new defense, but we're going to make adjustments." 

On the performance by senior quarterback Nathan Rourke:
"You always want the ball in his hands. There are a few times where you might want to have a call back where you ran something a little bit differently with him having the option maybe to hand off or keep, like he was doing some and having success with. You obviously have to make decisions when you do, but he's the guy that you want to have the ball in his hands."

On the frustration that comes with being 2-4:
"It is frustrating but it's where we're at. We've got to dig ourselves out of the hole that we're in and just continue to stay together, continue to move forward and practice hard the way they've been practicing. We'll try to make some corrections and they'll have a good attitude. They'll want to move forward. This is not a football team that will just back away now and crawl into a hole, they will want to move forward and play great football, so we have that on our side."

Ohio Redshirt Senior Safety Javon Hagan

On how the team went from getting stops to not being able to:
"Just not being in the right spot".

On if the 70-yard run by redshirt junior quarterback Marcus Childers gave them motivation:
"Not necessarily. They got a big play. Great play by them. Not necessarily, no."

On how it felt that one stop could have resulted in a win for Ohio:
"It's definitely disappointed. It's unfortunate, but you just got to keep going. That is what I have learned being a senior captain. You got to stay positive. Hats off to the offense for putting up points in the fourth quarter and giving the team some spirit and chance. We just got to work on finishing some games and get us off the field."

On what led to Northern Illinois being able to execute drives:
"Not necessarily fatigue, certain holes here and there. I was on deep middle so I could see it slowly open up."

Ohio Senior Quarterback Nathan Rourke

On how deflating it was to have big plays and not being able to execute them:
"What is more deflating, in my opinion, is the fact that we were winning, and we weren't able to put them away. We couldn't move the ball in the third quarter, and it is tough to put your defense in that sort of position when it goes on their side. You are up by 11 at halftime, and you can't build off of that. We take responsibility for that. We didn't move the ball when we needed to, and when we absolutely needed to that happened, which is a good thing, but granting all things, we would have liked to been consistent. That would have made a big difference I think."

On what went wrong in the third quarter when Ohio was better overall offensively:
"I think they did a great job of bringing pressure in the third quarter and that was their halftime adjustment, and we didn't do a great job of executing against that pressure and getting the ball out quick and we were seriously taking advantage of the fact that they were playing zero."

On frustration of the loss:
"The frustrating part is we haven't been in a game this year that we thought that we were not competitive in, that we were not a competitive team. We walked out thinking that we're the better team, we just didn't play up to our potential, and that was what's most frustrating, that we know what we are all about and we know how talented we are and how good of a team we are. We just haven't be able to show it the way we have wanted to, so that has been the most frustrating thing."

Ohio Redshirt Senior Offensive Lineman Austen Pleasants

On offensive struggles in the third quarter:
"We just got to come out in the second half with our adjustments and everything and just execute. We got to execute better coming out of the second half."

On pressure of having no margin for error left in conference play:
"It is what it is. Let's roll."

On his touchdown run:
"I blacked out a little bit. I remember catching the ball and that was about it."

Northern Illinois Head Coach Thomas Hammock

On the game overall:
"First of all, I'm proud of our kids, and I'm proud of our coaches. I think they were resilient. We came out, and we fought. It was emotional. We ignored the noise, and we went about our business. We know what we're doing, and I believe in what we're doing, and we have to keep working and keep getting better in practice, and it will show up on the field."

On what was difference from the first half to the second half 
"It was our message all along. We wanted to play four quarters of Huskie football. That's what we talked about. Playing one snap at a time and not getting too high or getting too low and being consistent, and that's what we wanted to accomplish and that's what we did today."

On the offense in the second half:
"We had guys making plays. We know where our offense is going. It's taken us some time, but we're going to keep on building what we have with the players that we have and put them in situations where they can be successful."

On what he saw from redshirt senior quarterback Ross Bowers:
"Toughness. We started delivering the ball and making plays after the catch. I just like what we're doing." 

On redshirt sophomore wide receiver Cole Tucker's play:
"Number one, he catches the football. He's a disciplined route runner and the things that take no effort, he knows what he's doing. Then he goes out there and makes plays. He's getting contested catches, and he's getting his. We're doing the best that we can, getting players in positions to be successful." 

On explosive running plays:
"We had a couple who had the chance to go to the house. It's good when you finish it and you don't have to take any more snaps to get into the end zone." 

On redshirt junior quarterback Marcus Childers:
"He went out there. I had hoped he'd run into the end zone untouched, but he was looking around. I think he got banged up a little bit, so we couldn't really go back to him. We had a lot of injuries and a lot of adversity, and I love how our coaches responded. I loved the way our players responded, and it's something we can build off of." 

On the performance of the tight ends:
"We talked to our players about making the plays we are supposed to make. It was just a resilient team effort. I liked the fight. Nobody knows how hard we're working, and we ignore the noise and we go out and execute. To be honest with you, my mind is now on Miami. I'm on to the next one." 

On the running game and redshirt junior tailback Tre Harbinson:
"He broke some tackles. He missed some runs earlier in the game that put us behind the sticks. I got on him a little bit, and he responded the right way. We need to have more from the running game, and I think that will help give us the balance that we need." 

On the final drive of the game: 
"They showed what they've been practicing. I told them before the game that all they have to do is play the way you practice and play with supreme confidence. That's what they went out there and did in the fourth quarter."

On the play of the defense:
"We have to get better defensively. That quarterback (Ohio senior Nathan Rourke) is a dude. In my opinion, he's the conference player of the year. He can make a lot of things happen with his legs and throwing the football and put you on stress. The only thing that matters is that we scored more points than they did." 

On the blocked punt and special teams: 
"We were just trying to play clean on special teams. We tell that unit to be even. If we're even, then we have a chance and the pieces start to fall into place." 

On field goals and redshirt freshman kicker John Richardson:
We kicked two field goals in the first half that showed we have faith. I thought we had a great drive right at the end of the first half to get the ball down the field and gave him great position to kick it. The ref said it was about two inches short."

On overcoming injuries throughout the game:
"We embrace it. We're not going to worry about injuries. We're going to play the next guy and be ready next week. "

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