Northwestern (9-2, 5-2) picked up its first win at Camp Randall Stadium since 2000 on Saturday after a goal-line stand in the final minute gave the Wildcats a 13-7 win over the Wisconsin Badgers (8-3, 5-2). Here's what coach Pat Fitzgerald and some of the players had to say after the win.
- Fitzgerald was impressed with the play of the Wildcats' defense, calling the game "one heck of a defensive battle". "I thought both defensive teams played outstanding football today. We found a way to get one more stop, and that was key."
- On the turnover differential: "The turnovers were huge in the game and to not be able to score as many points as you'd like off of turnovers, you've got to credit Wisconsin. They rose to the occasion and put the fire out."
- On the controversial ending of the game: "I'm still kind of speechless, I'm not sure what I just said. I don't know how that just unfolded, but it did. I've been on the other side of those games and I feel for those kids at Wisconsin because that's a tough way to end up on the short end."
- Fitzgerald said that for the Wildcats' last defensive play of the game, the players made the call on what play they wanted to run: "Hank [defensive coordinator Mike Hankwitz] just looked at them and said ‘What do you guys like?' and they made the call. So good call by them and a great game by Hank... To find a way to get the win, especially with the defense being on the field [at the end of the game], was spectacular."
- On allowing Wisconsin to drive down the field with two minutes left: "Frankly I'm really disappointed. We study that, we teach it, and they executed so tip your hat to Wisconsin, we sure as heck did not." Fitzgerald also said he never once considered conceding a potential go-ahead Wisconsin touchdown in order to get the ball back with more time left.
- On the line play throughout the game: "From a standpoint of our defensive line I thought we were pretty effective all day. Offensively we were able to get some things moving, but that's a great Wisconsin defense; they firmed things up there as we got into the red zone and we just couldn't get the same plays executed."
- On the decision to punt on 4th-and-7 from the Wisconsin 34 in the fourth quarter: "If you're playing lights out on offense and their defense isn't that good you probably go for that. Their defense is lights out, our defense was playing outstanding so I just felt at the time ‘let's go pin it deep and see if we can flip the field position back again." Fitzgerald also said later in the press conference that it was about two to three yards out of the range Jack Mitchell said he felt comfortable kicking from into the wind.
- Fitzgerald said the team still has a lot of goals left in the season. "We talked about making November something to remember and I don't think anyone in the purple and white will forget this game for a long time."
- On the weather and field conditions at Camp Randall Stadium: "Kudos to the facilities crew, the field was great, surface was terrific, the footing was outstanding." Fitzgerald said the game reminded him of Northwestern's game at Notre Dame last season.
Players: Dean Lowry, Deonte Gibson, Justin Jackson, Anthony Walker
- Lowry on playing at Camp Randall: "Camp Randall is a fun place to play so we enjoyed in this college environment...It's a tough place to get a win here and for our seniors to get a win that's huge just for our team and for our legacy."
- Gibson on the offensive play during the game: "For the defense, it's our job to make sure they don't score. For our offense, it's their job to score. We can't ever mix jobs and we've got to be able to trust our guys to get the job done."
- On forcing turnovers, Gibson said one of the defense's goals heading into the game was to attack the ball more: "We took that mentality from pre-game all the way into the game and we were able to successfully do that."
- Lowry on the final plays at the end of the game: "One of the foundations to our program is responding to adversity. We got hit with adversity right there and we came back strong. We knew we would have an opportunity to make a play there and we did so I'm proud of our guys."
- Gibson on the defense's motivation: "We just wanted to prove to Wisconsin and the rest of the Big Ten and the nation that we're a great defense."
- Gibson said he thinks the defense is gelling at the right time. "We're starting to pick it up and get back to our foundation from the first five games."
- Justin Jackson on watching the final defensive possession from the sidelines: "I knew as soon as they called [Fumagalli] down at the one, with the great defense we have, we were gonna get the stop."
- Jackson on carrying the ball 35 times today: "I feel fine now, but we'll see in the next three to four days. But, you've got to do what you've got to do to win."
- Anthony Walker on Joel Stave's performance: "He's a great player and they have a great team...You have to just try to limit him as much as possible and create turnovers and that was what we were trying to do. He made some plays but we were able to make one more down the stretch."
- Jackson on the snowballs getting thrown from the student section: "I got hit with one on the field, that guys got a great arm."