Nov. 15, 2014

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An Interview with Brian Kelly

Q. The decision to start Drue Tranquill and Max Redfield, what you saw in practice this week?
COACH KELLY: No, it’s what we saw last week, couple of weeks leading up to it. Just looking to get more, more production at that position.

Q. Going for 2 there, what was the thought process on that?
COACH KELLY: Going for 2. At that point, it was a coin toss of 1 or 2. So we decided to go for 2.

Q. And injuries to Sheldon Day, Daniel Cage and the right shoulder thing for Golson?
COACH KELLY: That’s correct. I don’t have an update right now. They’ll be seen by doctors and then we’ll follow-up with, you know, normal x-rays, MRIs, things of that nature. We’ll have more information probably tomorrow.

Q. Did you feel at all this week there was a residual effect from the Arizona State?
COACH KELLY: No, absolutely not. Arizona State had nothing to do with the way these guys played today.

Q. Brian, just your emotions right now.
COACH KELLY: Well, I mean, you know, so many, so many things happened in that game that it’s hard to put them all in perspective as I’m standing here right now.

I think the thing that stands out is we have the game pretty much in our hands and we turn the ball over. Seems to be, you know, probably the thing that sticks out the most as well as, you know, our inability to, you know, kick the football and take care of the football, you know. Those are the things that stand out.

You know, we’ve had too many opportunities to score points that, you know, fumbled it on the goal line, fumble it on the 7-yard line, turn it over when you’re trying to close out the game. Those are critical errors. So that’s what I’m feeling.

Q. Brian, you said at the coin toss you’re up 11. What is conventional wisdom say at that point and what persuaded you to actually do what you did?
COACH KELLY: Our chart tells us in that situation to go for 1 but we were up I think 11 at the time and we felt like given the circumstances, our kicking game situation, that we were going to try to extend it with a 2 point play.

Q. You mentioned the kicking game, trouble with the first, I think it was the first field goal attempt or PAT attempt. Hunter Smith was taking a few practice reps.
COACH KELLY: He was probably just trying to stay loose. No, I didn’t —

Q. After that PAT, were you looking to avoid kicking the ball almost?
COACH KELLY: I wouldn’t say I was looking to avoid but, you know, you know, I didn’t like the way the mental approach, you know, of our kicker was and, you know, obviously we were going to be in a close game. We were trying to get him to, you know, get his confidence back. It was a rough day for the kicking game.

Q. You mentioned Kyle’s mental approach. What did you see from him today you haven’t before? He’s been doing this well.
COACH KELLY: He’s got a new battery in there. Probably thinking a little too much. Trying to get him not to think about the hold and he starts thinking about the hold and then you get into rushing your mechanics and, unfortunately, it hurt us today.

Q. Were those questions of change and did it approach in the overtime?
COACH KELLY: No. I think it was behind him at that point. I think he just missed it.

Q. Coach, I know you stuck by Everett. Is there any consideration at all this week maybe going forward to give Malik more looks in practice and consider a quarterback competition again?
COACH KELLY: No. I mean you know, obviously there’s always room for improvement. The quarterback back position, you know, look, I mean, still put up a lot of points.

If we don’t turn the football over I don’t think we’re having this conversation right now but, you know, we turned the football over and we would have plenty of points on the board.

I think the thing for me is, you know, if we take care of the football — you know, probably wasn’t his sharpest throwing game of the year but, you know, it’s not anywhere near where you think about pulling him out of the game other than his shoulder, he got banged up. That would have been my only thought in moving him out of the game would be because of his shoulder.

Q. Brian, when Northwestern used their final timeout, did you give consideration to taking a knee with the quarterback?
COACH KELLY: No, I did not.

Q. Did you do the math as to where that would take you with a couple knees?
COACH KELLY: I did, yeah. We have somebody upstairs that gives us that.

Q. Brian, why didn’t you stay with Tarean Folston at running back? Is there a reason you were hesitate to keep him there in the game. Is that why he wasn’t in the game, Cam McDaniel was in the game?
COACH KELLY: Cam has generally been in the game. He’s our senior. Always been in late for us. We counted on him to be the guy that gets us our tough yardage late in the game and sure handed and tough and physical and just didn’t work out that way today.

Q. What can you say about Folston’s performance?
COACH KELLY: I thought he ran well today, yeah. He did a nice job.

Q. Defense gave up 540 yards today. How do you explain the decline from the start of the year till now? Is it as simple at Joe Schmidt not being there or something else?
COACH KELLY: There’s a lot to it. I mean, you know, we’re obviously playing a lot of young guys that, you know, that are struggling and they’re doing their best but, you know, too many young guys on the field.

That’s probably the biggest issue right now that we’re just trying to fight through and we can still win games if we weren’t as sloppy as we are offensively. That’s my feeling.

Q. After the loss last week, the team motivation, the emotions needed to play was there coming into this game?
COACH KELLY: Yeah. You know, look, I didn’t feel like they were flat or didn’t play with effort. Again, it’s the critical errors through the game. I mean we just don’t play clean enough, you know, as a football team, and those are the things that prevent us from winning.

You know, you can’t start winning until you stop losing. Two 15-yard penalties on key drives, those hurt. Fumbling on the goal line hurts. Fumbling it on the 7-yard line hurts. Those things are critical errors.

We’re not making small errors, we’re making critical errors and on defense giving them 15 yards to hold on to drives and then, heck, one key third down we had ten guys on the field. We had ten guys. We have a guy that’s a veteran that didn’t know he was supposed to be on the field. That’s unacceptable.

So, to answer your question, you know, we got to coach better, we got to play better and we’re going to look to regroup and do that on Monday.

Q. Coach, Northwestern’s run game little bit more diverse today than it has been in the past. Trevor Siemian coming up with a couple big yards. What’s your impression of Northwestern’s running ability today compared to how they’ve been playing this year?
COACH KELLY: We didn’t think we — we were concerned about covering them so we gave them some very good looks in the box and I thought they did a good job of taking advantage of it.

We were supposed to be on the quarterback twice and our safety for some reason didn’t pick up the quarterback on a couple of zone reads and then, you know, again, we were in a mixed call where we’re supposed to be taking care of quarterback draw and we flush out of it.

Just a lot of misses. No question. They took advantage of some of the looser box looks that we gave them. We were definitely trying to cover down and they took advantage of some of those opportunities and ran the ball effectively.

Q. Brian, what did you feel like you got out of Nyles today, start No. 2?
COACH KELLY: I didn’t like the 15-yard penalty. That stands outs. Probably played a little bit better today than did he in the first week. I’ll have to watch the film.

But, you know, again, I think it’s just — it’s a process, you know, in terms of him — I thought he was a little bit more comfortable out there today, no question.

Q. Some of the mistakes that you’re seeing, the critical mistakes, is this the stuff you’re seeing on Tuesdays and Wednesday or just popping up on Saturdays?
COACH KELLY: No. I mean Cam McDaniel doesn’t fumble the football, especially when we’re closing out games. Everett on his own read play, you know, we thought we were in a good position with him with zone read that we could run it with him this week.

As you saw, he got some good looks on it so we went back to it. We put the ball on the ground, you know. So, some of it is we felt comfortable that we could run zone read and you know what, we put the ball on the ground.

I think I have to think about whether that’s poor coaching, right, putting somebody in a position where he can’t do it but when you have a guy like that

I really have to do more thinking about those kinds of situations.

Q. Will Fuller, you were publicly kind of on him on Tuesday a couple weeks ago. He’s had back to back pretty outstanding games. What have you seen over the last 14 days or last 10 days?
COACH KELLY: I wanted him to be the guy that makes the big play. He obviously made a huge catch in the end zone when we were kind of mucking it around there. We needed somebody to step up and make a big play and he went up in traffic and made a huge play for us.

So I wanted him to practice better, which he did, and take his craft to the next level. I think he’s done that.

Q. Brian, you said you did not consider taking a knee. When you do the math it looks like you would have been punting with 20 seconds left at worse. What went into your decision to just run the ball instead of taking a knee there and playing conservatively?
COACH KELLY: I don’t know that I’ve ever in my college career taken a knee and then punted the football. We would have run the ball once at least and then considered our options from there. So, it just never entered into my mind to think in those terms.

Q. And then back to the 2 point conversion, what are the advantages of going up 13 versus 12? I know you mentioned the kicking game was an issue but to go for 13 instead of 12, in comparison, is there that much of a difference in comparison to risking a 2 point conversion by Northwestern to keep the opportunity alive to tie the game is what happened?
COACH KELLY: In retrospect — there’s no advantage in retrospect. We felt that — we felt at the time with the struggles in the kicking game that we would have a good opportunity in the 2 point play that we picked and we felt very confident that we would be successful.

If it pans out the way it does, no, there’s very little that I can use percentage-wise that it’s a higher percentage.

An Interview with Pat Fitzgerald

PAT FITZGERALD: To the game, obviously a great team win with our young men and by our staff.

You know, we had a lot of big plays today and we had a lot of things that were self-inflicted that put us in a hole for most of the game.

The way the guys perservered and fought I thought was really the hallmark that we have tried to do all season long. We were able to find a way to make one more big play. You know from a kicking game standpoint pretty consistent today. Probably our most consistent kicking performance of the year and I think that was obviously the difference going down the stretch.

Great job by Jack, especially responding from the one that was blocked to come back and nail some big clutch kicks was critically important. Great team win.

I want to thank our fans for coming out and supporting us and I would cordially like to invite them to West Lafayette next week as our backs are against the wall. We got to find a way to win another game.

We’ll enjoy this one tonight and have good clean American fun when we get back to the best city in the world, Chicago, and get ready to go next week for the Boilermakers.

Q. Was it more enjoyable to do this in ’95 as a player or today?
PAT FITZGERALD: Well, I think it’s much more enjoyable today. Number one, I don’t think I had a clue what was going on back then. Most of you don’t think I have a clue anyway. It’s nothing new.

You know, to see the way that our young men have stuck together. I mean everybody jumped off the boat. I mean every fair weather fan that you can have jumped off the boat and they stayed on it and they perservered, and to our loyal fans we really appreciate you and. We talk a lot — we’ve been through a lot since January — about shutting out noise and distractions and, you know, we were part of a media circus in the off-season and things we had to go through and the guys stuck together and talked about being united and we went into camp and then we went through a bunch of injuries and we didn’t start the way we wanted to but the guys have perservered, and talked to them on Tuesday about a playoff mentality going back to high school.

You get to November, the weather gets nasty and that’s when champions are crowned. We’re not going to win a Big Ten Championship, we understand that.

We can still achieve our goals but we have to have our back against the wall playoff-type mentality and win and advance. We’ve advanced to another week to keep this team alive for post-season play.

Q. Did you talk to the guys about ’95 at all?
PAT FITZGERALD: No, not really. I didn’t have to. You guys did a wonderful job writing just these meticulous stores with Gary and Rice and all that should be told.

It’s a special part of our tradition and history. But you know, days like today make me think of Ara Parseghian and all those that have been a part of our program. Coach sent me a really nice e-mail this week, may the best team win. I thought that was pretty appropriate. I love him.

You know, at the end of the day it’s about our young men and staff and that’s what we talked about this week. They did —

Q. What did you say after the game to your team and if it is better than ’95, what does it represent in terms of where it ranks as coaching victories for you?
PAT FITZGERALD: We went 1-0 this week. We needed to. Like I said, our backs are against the wall. This is a playoff win. Our program is in a totally different place than it was in 1995 before we won that football game. We’ve been in it five of the last six years post-season and a couple wins here and then competing for a championship.

Obviously the program is in a completely different place. It started in ’95 and from a standpoint of renaissance of this program and it’s never been stronger. The support of the leadership that we have from Morty, our Trustees, the best athletic director in the country, Jim Phillips. We’ve got all the support. Embark on a new facility.

This is another one of those wins that a ton of recruits had to chance to watch us on national TV. We can play and beat anybody on TV if we do a good enough job of getting our guys the play consistent.

Q. Coach, you guys lost on that failed 2 point conversion last week and come in here and win on a field goal in overtime. What’s does that say about the resiliency of your group to pull this one out after a tough lost last week?
PAT FITZGERALD: A the tougher loss when we went to Iowa and didn’t show up. We have some bad things happen early. The way we responded a week ago told me about the heart and character of this football game. That’s a big part why I went for the win at the end last week.

This week, I thought the guys had really good focus. I thought they prepared well. We haven’t had a preparation problem. We’ve had a performance problem on Saturdays.

We talked to the guys especially offensively. Notre Dame presented a lot of problems schematically especially the second down blitz package and third down blitz package.

If we would have given our offense everything that Notre Dame did we would have had paralysis by analysis again. Adam Cushing and Mick McCall and the entire offensive staff did a good job. I think our offensive line probably played as well as they did all year today.

Q. You guys obviously beat Wisconsin earlier in the year, come in here and shock Notre Dame. Is there something just about playing the bigger teams that gets your guys up a little bit more?
PAT FITZGERALD: Well, I don’t know if today was a shock. Maybe to you. Wasn’t to me.

But at the end of the day, yeah, we’ve got to be more consistent against teams that are like us. Something that again, you know, in our league obviously being in the Big Ten anybody can win on any given Saturday and we try to be really consistent in the way we prepare.

That’s our number one objective each week is consistently preparing for victory. With this, you know, whatever generation, iPhone, I’m sure their phones are blowing up and Instagram and doing all the cheeky stuff, when they get to be my age they’ll regret they did it. I just hope to have clean American fun tonight.

Q. Coach, obviously during the game there were a couple times where maybe things looked bleak. What was going through your mind on the intentional grounding, they didn’t call it. Were you angry about them or what?
PAT FITZGERALD: Good question. I’ll leave it at that.

Q. Also it looked like after Tony Jones, one of his drops he came to the sideline. You kind pulled him aside, gave him a hug? What did you say to him?
PAT FITZGERALD: He’s a great player. More importantly he’s a great young man. I told him just to relax and trust himself and I loved him and just keep playing. It’s going to be a long game.

You guys been covering football enough. You kind of get a feeling in some of these games this is going to go the distance and the way the first quarter went you just kind of went well, you better strap them up a little tighter, more eye black on. We’ll be here awhile. I was hoping to win in regulation. Had a feelings it was going to be of those types of gauges.

Q. What’s does it say with Trevor Siemian and his leadership just to have faith in his teammates and go down there and send the game into overtime?
PAT FITZGERALD: I think he’s probably been the number one punching bag of our football team this year. He’s been attacked externally and we meet at least twice a week, sometimes three times a week, him and I.

Mick McCall has done a really good job continuing to give a great plan to Trevor and really trying to help him especially fighting through injuries. I talk to him a lot about using the frustration as motivation.

Each week he comes every day to prepare to win and, you know, last two weeks he’s played pretty well. This is probably the healthiest he’s been since he got hurt before the Northern game. Really proud of him. That’s what you expect from seniors. He’s a terrific young man.

Q. Did you say anything to Jack when he went out for the last one?
PAT FITZGERALD: We’ve been really blessed to have some really special kickers since I’ve been in this leadership role here at NU. We all kind of agreed that we don’t need to talk during that time. We just need to go out and do. It’s about action, and you can see like when he got iced we didn’t come over and have a chitchat and coffee and talk about world peace, you know. Go do your job. Let’s do — we ice our kickers every week, ice them during the two minute drill.

We went exactly through our plan and, you know, I thought he had a great game today. I’m really, really proud of the young man in his first year kicking for us, the way he had stepped up today on a cold day, was awesome.

Q. Coach, is that probably the most road fans you ever had at a game? Have you ever had an environment like this with so many traveling fans from so close?
PAT FITZGERALD: Cal was pretty good last year. Our fans have been ridiculous. Our fans have been awesome. Our attendance records are up each year.

All those benchmarks are all going in the right direction for our program. We’re all very thankful for that. I mean I’m not going to lie now. In the boardrooms across Fortune 500 America there’s going to be a lot of purple worn on Monday, you know and I hope they enjoy it.

I hope all those CEOs and corporate executives, Northwestern graduates enjoy you. I guarantee you they’ll getting a lot of ripping going into this game from the Notre Dame colleagues but I wish this game could be played more, you know, but obviously now with Notre Dame going and playing five ACC games and us going to 9 conference games and all that, it’s going to be really tough down the road.

We have a little bit of time before the Irish come to Evanston. This is one of those that doesn’t make sense that we don’t play more often.

Q. Coach, what was it like to see the offense kind of start off moving the ball well after you guys have had some struggles in games before?
PAT FITZGERALD: We’ve had a lot of struggles. Most of it has been on us. We had one man breakdowns, mental errors, drops, we’ve held the ball, we’ve mistargeted things.

You know, now we’ve been pretty consistent with some health and I think Trevor has been able to establish some trust with the wide receivers that he has out. They’ve stepped up here the last few weeks. I could not be more happy for a young man. I’m so happy. He’s perservered through so much and to see the game he had today was awesome.

Q. Then with Jack also you guys have had some frustrating moments in the kicking game too. For him to kind of come up so often in the second half and overtime, what was that like for you guys?
PAT FITZGERALD: Jack was 8 of 10 going into the game? I think something like that. Jack hasn’t been the issue on our kicking game especially as a first time kicker.

Our issue has been the lack of depth because of our injuries and that’s — you look at our kicking game over the last year the way we chart it, look at the rankings in Big Ten play. We don’t care about non-conference game. We care when you get head to head in Big Ten games.

The way the statistical things go out, top 5 in three of the last four years and last year we took a step back. You can see the dip as soon as we lost those guys we had out there covering kicks earlier in the year that we had worked out in spring camp with and we’re getting a few guys back and like, for example Goodwin on kickoffs. We lost him when Campbell went down and others.

Lot of those guys because of injury we haven’t had to see those guys go out there to see the way Chris punted it today and the way Fitzpatrick snapped the ball. He snapped it the way he did every game of the year except last week.

Q. You got as a player, you got to share that win with your teammates in ’95. What was it like sharing this victory with your players now as the head coach?
PAT FITZGERALD: It’s really special, Chris, from a standpoint of it starts in recruiting. When you build all those relationships with young men and especially for our seniors, the last two years have been very, very challenging especially after coming off the Gator Bowl win and they stuck together and I just really hope they enjoy it, they deserve it. They earned the win today and the credit all goes to our young men.

Q. Coach, bunch of great things happening for the run game tonight. What was the most important element of that for you and can you speak about Treyvon?
PAT FITZGERALD: The contribution by all the guys in the backfield, a big effort. The play of our offensive line, our skill guys blocking on the perimeter.

A week ago you got to credit Michigan. They really stuffed us with some things. I thought Cush and McCall had a great run plan talking about what we had to do when they out numbered us in the box. Notre Dame adjusted in the second half.

We had to readjust and change some of our targeting. They don’t jump to the bear front or double eagle. Credit goes to the young men for going and executing. Y’all travel safe back home to Chicago. Go Cats.

An Interview with Tarean Folston

On the way the game played out…
“We kind of let the game slip away, but we just have to get that off of our minds and get ready for the next opponent.”

On the motivation going into the game…
“Everybody was motivated. That loss against Arizona State gave us a lot of extra motivation. We wanted to come out and get that bitter taste out of our mouths. We had a lot of people who were motivated to play.”

On the turnovers and mistakes…
“It is frustrating for us as a team to keep turning the ball over, but things happen and we try not to turn it over.”

On the two-point conversion attempt…
“It surprised me, but it was coach Kelly’s decision and I was all for it. Once he said ‘go for two,’ I was cheering everybody on, and I was ready to get two points.”

On mistakes during games not appearing in practice…
“For the most part, practices are crisp. If there are mistakes, they tend to happen on Tuesday, but get corrected by the next practice on Wednesday.”

An Interview with Jaylon Smith

On the youth of the defense…
“It’s not an excuse. We all are given objectives and assignments. During the week we prep them. It isn’t that we are slacking in practice; we had a great week in practice. It is all about executing and putting it all together. Youth definitely plays a huge part, but it’s not an excuse.”

On significance of Joe Schmidt’s absence…
“This is the game of football; there are injuries. It’s all about that next man in. You can’t do anything about that. Obviously, we miss him with him being one of the leaders of the defense, but we can’t worry about that right now.”

On Northwestern making things difficult for the defense…
“There were too many explosive plays. They are very concept-oriented and they know what they are doing. We had a hard time executing.”

On surprises from the Northwestern offense…
“No, it was pretty much the game plan. It was just that they were very efficient and we didn’t answer.”

An Interview with Cam McDaniel

On surprises from the Northwestern offense…
“They blitzed a little bit differently than we had seen, but nothing that we couldn’t pick up on. We just needed to make some adjustments and I feel like we did that.”

On moving forward…
“We need to go back to work as a team. We need to come together and understand we still have two more regular season games left.”

On the areas of the game that need improvement…
“Well, turning the football over is something that has killed us all season long, so if we can just protect the football, then that would solve 80 to 90 percent of our problems.”

On his role as a leader…
“I try to help the guys understand that we are playing for each other. We are playing to win. We are all competitors and we have two more opportunities to play with each other.”

An Interview with Austin Collinsworth

On what the team needs to do to get back on track…
“We have to have a great week of practice, and a great week preparing, to make sure the young guys and old guys alike are on the same page so we can get out there and get a stop. We can’t give up 40 points. I don’t care what the offense does. We can’t give up 40 points.”

On the similarities between this rough stretch and the initial portion of 2010…
“I guess it is a little similar. You have to be able to turn it around and right the ship, and a lot of guys are frustrated. Obviously, that’s part of it. We have to turn it around and get it going.”

An Interview with Will Fuller

On head coach Brian Kelly challenging him to step up…
“I take criticism pretty well, so that just motivated me to practice harder.”

On exceeding personal expectations…
“I wouldn’t say that. I strive to be as good as I can. I still have room for a lot of improvement.”

On what he can improve upon…
“My all around game. I’m not going up against the best defensive backs every week, so once I get the opportunity, I want to be able to succeed against the best defensive backs.”

An Interview with Northwestern’s Ibraheim Campbell

On how he felt about winning in overtime…
“It means a lot, especially with me being a senior and this being my last season. The opportunity to extend the season on a good note makes it that much better and more exciting. I actually sat down, and I’m not a very excitable guy in the first place, but it was just a lot to take in so I had to take a seat and then I hugged a lot of people.”

On being one of his favorite moments…
“Absolutely. It was a great moment, and I’ll remember it for a long time. It was a big feeling. We knew we had to adapt and move defensively, and we did it while knowing our offense had to play. We gave our team a chance to win and we pulled it off. It was awesome. He doesn’t always get that many opportunities but he made the most out of them and that’s all you can ask for from a teammate.

On how the sideline was during overtime…
“We knew it was a team effort. We knew the more turnovers we had, the more chances we had to win. We held down. We had to go do work. We had to have each other’s backs. Having been around a long time, you kind of know things can go different ways. You can never get too excited. You just got to stay focused on the goal, which is to win the game. I just try to support my team and have faith in my teammates.”

An Interview with Northwestern’s Kyle Prater

On embrace with head coach Pat Fitzgerald…
“That hug represented my whole journey, from when I transferred here until now. And that hug was to basically say thank you. It’s been a great run here, especially to come out with a win against Notre Dame on the road, a place with so much prestige. It was just great. That hug was a lot of love for everything that we’ve been through as a team. It’s been real fun here tonight.”

On the mentality while marching down the field at the end of regulation…
“Our mentality was to win. That was our mentality from the start, to come out here and win this game. Our guys kept on believing. We kept fighting out there. We knew we could win this game and we kept telling everybody that. I told them on that drive ‘Let’s be great,’ and we went out there and did exactly that.”

On what tonight means to him…
“It meant a lot here tonight. I sent my dad a photo of the hotel we stayed at because it was the same hotel we stayed at when I was at USC and we traveled out here. It was a bittersweet moment because I’m looking back at all the moments throughout my years at college: the injuries, the surgeries and all the adversity I had to overcome. To come out here and win and produce the way we did is real big, and it’s a great moment. But, I can’t take all the credit. The line did a great job protecting Trevor, and Trevor did a great job getting the ball to us on the outside. I just give all my thanks to God.”

An Interview with Northwestern’s Jack Mitchell

On playing at Notre Dame Stadium…
“To be on this stage at Notre Dame is very special. My parents were here too so I was really excited.”

On impact of the win…
“This win is incredible. Not only achieving the success we did today, but it can also catapult us in the next couple of games against Purdue and Illinois to get those last two wins and make us bowl eligible. So, we’re all excited.”

On feeling in locker room…
“It’s unbelievable. We are very excited. We are excited to get back to Evanston and have a good time.”

On key to the win…
“We won the game. Our offense played amazing and our defense played amazing. Special teams played very nice. Everyone was doing their job and we had a good time out there.”

On alumni talking about the last meeting with Notre Dame in 1995…
“They were talking about how special it was to them. I do not know much about it. I know it was a very close game. I know it was 85 degrees.”

On his mindset after being iced…
“Staying as calm as possible. Staying away from everyone. Just staying loose. Stretching and staying warm. I rushed the practice kick a little bit. I was just getting into my steps as they were calling the timeout. I knew I had to rush and just get a swing in. I felt comfortable after that.”

An Interview with Northwestern’s Trevor Siemian

On seeing kick go through for the win…
“It was really cool, but tough to put in words. I was behind the kick. I started running on the field when I saw it in the air and thought it had a chance. I was right there with Doug Diedrick. It was a cool moment. The craziest game of my life.”

On being healthy and mobile…
“(It) just helps our offense. (It) makes the defense think about another thing to defend. I would not call it mobile but it feels good to be healthy and even better to win.”

On Tony Jones’ play today…
“I am sure he had a couple plays back, but I think guys picked up the slack, so that’s what we told him on the sideline. He was good too. He had a good attitude about it. You have days like that.”

On talks about last meeting between the schools in 1995…
“Not really. We had a couple former players come in last night. They did not really talk about it, but I knew they were thinking about it. We kind of said something and they said, ‘How about another one?'”