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Press conference notes: Northwestern beats Nebraska

Happy coaches, happy players, happy team!

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Pat Fitzgerald:

  • On the first half: "We didn't play great--at all--early."
  • On being bowl eligible: "We get to 6 [wins] and get into the postseason, but six is not the destination."
  • On whether or not NU lost their swagger after the last two weeks: "I don’t know if we lost our mojo, I hate to disappoint bloggers, but our guys don’t listen to them."
  • Fitz described it as "unbelievable" that the marching band made the trek out.
  • On what bowl eligibility means: "It should be a great confidence booster to the whole program and everyone on campus. We're back to where we want to be.  Unfortunately we've given away control of the West, but what we can control is how we prepare and how we play."
  • On Tommy Armstrong: "We didn't keep him between the tackles.  Obviously that was not very good today."  On a positive note, Fitz did say: "we didn't give up that explosive scramble touchdown."
  • On Thorson's adjustment in the second half: "I think he just saw things a little clearer."
  • On if there were any injuries picked up today: "Not that I'm aware of."
  • On Thorson's legs: "He can run.  I'm glad to see that he decided to do it again. He did earlier in the year and basically won us the Stanford game.  As a freshman quarterback, he's got 6 wins in 8 games.  Give him an A."
  • Fitz pointed out that it's impossible to get a QB ready to play in an atmosphere like Michigan or Nebraska.
  • Fitz is going out on a recruiting trip Monday-Wednesday.

Clayton Thorson:

  • On his speed after his big day gaining yards on the ground: "Fast enough."
  • On whether his confidence was waning after the back-to-back shutout losses: "It's tough. You're always looking to see where you have to improve. But we just stayed together and responded well."
  • On what adjustments he made in the win: "I was seeing [the field] a little better in the second half and wasn't rushing things. It's amazing when you start listening to coaching that things start to happen."
  • On Justin Jackson: "They've been shutting him down. Today we were able to get him going a little more."

Nick VanHoose:

  • On Northwestern gaining bowl eligibility: "A couple of guys in the locker room haven't experienced what it's like to go to a bowl game and to hit that mark is incredible. But six wins is not what we want."
  • On his pick-six: "I was in Cover 2 and I saw that the running back is coming to my side so I ran up [to the ball] and got it. Then I started running and cut back, it was history from there." He also said a block from Deonte Gibson allowed him to reach the end zone.
  • On the defense getting fatigued: "When the offense is going three-and-out and only burning 30-40 seconds are coming off the clock, it can get tiring, you just got to persevere."
  • On the win heading into the bye week: "It's tremendous."

Dean Lowry:

  • On his record-setting six tackles for loss: "It's pretty cool but I think that the defensive line was more focused today and allowed me to make plays."
  • On the tough week of practice heading into the game: "It was a very up-tempo week of practices since losing to Iowa was so tough. The losses set the tone for this week and improved the work ethic and effort."
  • On defending the run: "We knew that if we stopped the run on first [down], we'd be able to get pressure on the quarterback. That was just our mentality the whole week and accomplishing it."
  • On staying fresh: "We rotate a lot, use 8-10 guys during the game. That let the starters feel fresh heading into the fourth quarter."