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Northwestern 41, Eastern Illinois 0: Press conference notes

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Photo: Henry Bushnell

Northwestern cruised to a victory over Eastern Illinois Saturday to go to 2-0 on the young season. The 41-0 win was the largest margin of victory for Pat Fitzgerald as Northwestern's coach. Here's what Fitzgerald, Clayton Thorson, Geoff Mogus, Austin Carr, Ifeadi Odenigbo and Matt Harris had to say afterwards:

First though, a few notes, courtesy of Northwestern Athletic Communications...

Game notes

- The 41-point margin of victory was Northwestern's largest since the Wildcats beat Illinois 48-0 in 1970.

- Last Saturday's game against Stanford and this Saturday's game against EIU mark the first time since 1958 that Northwestern held its opponent without a touchdown in two straight games.

- This was Northwestern's first shutout since 2007.

Fitzgerald

- Fitzgerald said everybody that was eligible to play saw the field.

- Fitzgerald explained that Northwestern wasn't trying to run up the score at the end. The decision to go for it was based on the opportunity to get Tom Hruby — whom he called a "special American" — a touchdown. Hruby also had a kid this week.

- Fitzgerald was most impressed with Clayton Thorson's decision making outside of the pocket.

- Fitzgerald has moved on to not even saying any words when asked a question about scheme. At the beginning of the season, his go-to phrase was "we'll see how it plays out." Now he's moved on to silence and a shrug.

- Fitzgerald said he has "three guys that are established Big Ten running backs." He said that it was nice to get Auston Anderson some carries, but it appears Anderson isn't on the same level as Justin Jackson, Warren Long and Solomon Vault yet.

- Northwestern isn't 2-0. According to Fitzgerald, "we went 1-0 twice." Classic.

- Fitzgerald: "No disrespect to Eastern, but we felt pretty confident about the game."

- Fitzgerald said the biggest challenge for the team wasn't Saturday, but it was Tuesday's practice after a Monday film review that revealed a lot of problems. And Fitzgerald said Tuesday's practice was the best his team has had in a while.

- Fitzgerald on Austin Carr, whom he gave a scholarship this week, and who caught Clayton Thorson's first ever Northwestern touchdown pass today: "He's going to be the CEO of a company some day."

- Fitzgerald on Josh Roberts, another walk-on who earned a scholarship: "If he was up here right now, he wouldn't say that he's any better than Anthony Walker athletically. He would just say, 'that's not my role. My role is to show up everyday with attitude.'

"Rewind back to training camp, I have seniors or leadership council members give talks about what we value, and what it means to be a Wildcat. We go through each value every night, and we have team meetings, and Traveon Henry came to me early in camp and said, 'coach, talking to a bunch of the guys, we'd like to have Josh talk about effort, about what it means to have effort in this program.' And that was the big 'ah-ha' moment for me."

- Fitzgerald: "I'll know a lot more about our squad at this time next week."

Players

- Austin Carr on his touchdown: "Did I score? It hasn't hit me yet."

- Carr: "It feels like it's a long time coming. You're a little guy, three or four years old, watching the guys on TV doing that, and finally, when it's your chance, it happens so fast."

- Clayton Thorson said Tom Hruby would have a 99 vision rating on Madden.

- Fitzgerald didn't answer a question about plays designed to move Thorson outside of the pocket. Ten minutes later, Thorson said it's something they "work everyday in practice."

- Ifeadi Odenigbo said that the number one priority for Northwestern's defensive line as a unit was adding strength and being able to play more physical.