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Northwestern-Ohio State postgame press conference notes

Pat Fitzgerald and Co. were understandably frustrated after the loss.

NCAA Football: Northwestern at Ohio State Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Northwestern couldn’t get the big stop it needed in the fourth quarter on Saturday in Columbus, and fell 24-20 to Ohio State. The loss snapped the Wildcats’ three-game winning streak and ended their rough month of October with a record of 3-1. Pat Fitzgerald, Clayton Thorson, Garrett Dickerson, Godwin Igwebuike and Anthony Walker shared their thoughts with the media after the game:

Pat Fitzgerald

  • On the loss: “I thought our young men battled today, and we ended up one punch short. Incredibly disappointed for our young men in the locker room. We went toe-to-toe, and just couldn’t get it done in the end.”
  • On falling to a top team like Ohio State: “We came here to win, and not getting it done is really disappointing.”
  • On his decision to kick a field goal to cut the deficit to 24-20 instead of going for a touchdown: “It was a long 4th and goal, that would be A. As for B, there was 3.5 minutes left and we had 3 timeouts, but we just ended up one play short.”
  • On the plays leading up to the field goal: “We just got a holding call, got pushed back. I felt like getting points there was critically important. I took the option in the middle...If it was fourth and shorter, I probably would have gone for it.”
  • On his defense’s inability to get a stop after getting within four points: “We got them in 3rd and long twice on that drive, but we couldn’t get the stop.”
  • On how Northwestern’s Ohio natives responded to playing in their home state: “Any time you play in your home state, in front of 107,000 people, you get excited. It’s a great atmosphere, a cathedral of college football.”
  • On where his team stands: “Right now, our record says we’re an average football team.”
  • On the play of Clayton Thorson: “I thought he performed really well. He handled himself really well...He gave us an opportunity there to win.”
  • On the message he’s going to relay to his team: “I can’t fault our fight and our effort. It’s our fault as coaches...We didn’t make some plays early that we wanted to make...Heading into that fourth quarter, we had a chance to make some plays and didn’t get it done in those one-play opportunities.”
  • On Thorson’s development: “I think the way he handled everything a year ago gave us confidence that he would take those steps this year...In all three of the tough road games this month, he has given us a chance to win.”
  • On Thorson’s decision-making, especially in the red zone: “He’s not just locking in on one guy, he’s playing within the framework of the offense.”
  • Fitz challenged his inner Bill Belichick when talking about how his team needs to play going forward to improve: “The only way you do that is by rolling your sleeves up and going to work.”
  • On the multiple plays which featured Matt Alviti at quarterback: “I’m going to leave that one alone. Matt’s doing a really good job preparing every week to be a starter.”

Clayton Thorson

  • On losing to a Top 10 team: “We would like to win. We felt like we should have won that game...There’s no moral victories.”
  • On the offense’s season-long improvement: “I think our offense has gained a lot of confidence. We’ve realized we’re a good offense...We had a first down on the 4-yard line twice and only came away with field goals.”
  • On the decision to kick a field goal: “I think the coaches handled that.”
  • On Austin Carr’s continued strong play: “It’s impressive but we’ve been seeing it for a long time now. He’s a great player and we need to keep getting him the ball.”
  • On the Matt Alviti package: “It was just a little change-up. He’s obviously a very good quarterback and we have a lot of weapons on offense, and we want to use them.”
  • On not taking any opponents for granted: “We have to show up for every game, and it’s biting us in the butt right now [that we didn’t do that in the beginning of the season].”

Garrett Dickerson

  • On his increased usage: “It was just a flow of the game type of thing, just happened that Clayton was throwing to me more.”
  • On looking forward to next week’s home against Wisconsin: “We’re not really focused on things like that; we’re focused on the here and now. We’d love to have a packed house full of purple, though.”

Godwin Igwebuike

  • On the added desire to be Ohio State as an Ohio native: “If we’re gonna be real, of course there is. Obviously it would have been sweet to beat them in ‘The Shoe’”.
  • On his own play: “Like I said, I left some plays out there that I wish I could have back. All you can do is correct them and get better and improve.”
  • On the importance of getting 3rd down stops: “I think there’s an added pressure on 3rd downs to get off the field. That’s what changes the game.”
  • On who he had at the game: “I had like 20 friends and family here today. It was nice to have them watch me play, because these games are numbered.”
  • On Austin Carr: “He definitely made an effort over the offseason to be better. In earlier years, he wasn’t really battling with us defensive backs...Now, week in and week out, he’s a guy that makes us better. It’s pretty cool to see.”

Anthony Walker

  • On the defense’s performance: “I think we got them in the positions that we wanted...We just weren’t able to get off the field on 3rd down today and the last drive was kind of the same.”
  • On Ohio State’s standing nationally: “Historically, Ohio State has been a great team. Personally, watching them in the 2002 National Championship against the University of Miami — I was a big Miami fan — has always stuck with me...That one hurt me inside. If we want to be that type of program, we have to win these games.”