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Northwestern-Purdue postgame press conference notes

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Fitzgerald and his players were happy to get back on track.

NCAA Football: Northwestern at Purdue Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

Pat Fitzgerald

  • On the start of the game: “Didn’t start the way we wanted to obviously and you have to credit Purdue for that. We knew we were going to get a fast start from them and obviously we turned the ball over on a fourth down situation and to not pick them up defensively on a fourth down situation was a bit disappointing.”
  • On the offense: “Pretty good balance offensively, 253 rushing and 350 passing was great from a balance standpoint. I thought we made some really big plays, especially as the game went on”
  • On the second half outburst: “I thought our response in the second half was exactly what we needed to put the game away.”
  • On Tom Hruby: “This was the first game he was healthy to play in and my hope was it would go down this way. Not trying to do anything negative towards Purdue, just really trying to do something for an American Hero. Tom Hruby is truly what our country is all about.”
  • On Purdue’s lack of defensive depth: “The depth is an issue for Purdue, especially when you see a couple of their defensive starters out today. Saw them in street clothes pre-game and you just feel for those guys.”
  • On the four turnovers: “We haven’t done a very good job taking the ball away the last few games, especially against Wisconsin. What I saw today was that with the amount of passing we were going to see, that getting tips and getting picks was going to be really important and we were able to do that.”
  • On Austin Carr tying D’Wayne Bates’ single season record: “We saw signs in spring ball and camp. The maturity of Clayton this year too, knowing the system, much more confident in what we’re doing and how we’re doing it and you saw that today”
  • On the improved run game: “We couldn’t run the ball the length of our nose a week ago. Today we were balanced. We go as our offensive line goes and that’s what I challenged them about on Thursday.”
  • On Minnesota: “They’ve got an outstanding front seven, so we’ll have our hands full, but we’re going to enjoy tonight.”
  • Fitzgerald also lauded Austin Carr about how far he’s developed due to his hard work throughout his entire career. He added “it’s absolutely great to see that kind of success” for a player like Carr.
  • On the Garrett Dickerson TD: “All year we had not been great creating turnovers, and then scoring touchdowns. Our points off of turnovers was very low and I think today was one of the high points.”
  • On the possible bowl berth: “At the end of the day we have to find a way to get ourselves into the postseason. If you had watched us earlier in the year we we’re a very good football team, we had to make some changes and I think the guys are responding. We’ve got to find a way to go 1-0 again.”
  • On John Moten IV: A lot of growth (for John Moten) absolutely. I’m really proud of his work. With the ball in his hand he’s pretty good, but it’s when the ball isn’t in your hand, a thing called being a running back, that’s the same maturation that Justin went through.”
  • Fitz also mentioned that Justin Jackson has been banged up over the last couple of weeks and having John Moten there for depth has been very important.
  • Fitz also joked that he almost broke my sixth headphone of the year when Purdue scored a long touchdown in the third quarter. Said “that’s who we are, we do fun things to keep things exciting.”
  • On the slow starts: “I guess we just feel better playing from behind I guess? But we’re not emphasizing it enough as coaches. We were trying to be aggressive today.”

Justin Jackson

  • On the win: “The last two games we came up short, we definitely needed this game. This was the start of a three game playoff for us”
  • On the second half turnaround: “We just made plays, we had a lot of great calls, the play that Garrett scored on, great call. We didn’t get complacent like we did against Indiana, we just kept playing and kept going and we really wanted to have a statement game”
  • On the bumps and bruises: “I’m a little banged up, but just tried to stay in the training room last week and it was pretty cool to have another guy come in and take some reps away from me.”

Austin Carr and Clayton Thorson

  • Austin Carr started by saying that D’Wayne Bates was truly one of the greats and that he’d love to meet him at some point.
  • Thorson on what went well: “Receivers were getting open, and the o-line was going well so I had a lot of time back there. There were only one or two times where I was rushed to make a throw.”
  • Thorson on the Garrett Dickerson TD: “I think some of the linebackers came down for play action and the safeties were wide and he was just wide open.”
  • Thorson on the Fourth quarter fun: “It’s nice to see some of those guys play, like Tom Hruby. It was fun to watch.”
  • Carr on a potential bowl game: “Huge motivator I’d say, we viewed these last three games as a three game playoff. Focusing on the first game and it was just about going 1-0. So one down, two to go and we want to win out, we want to get a quality bowl game.”

Anthony Walker and Montre Hartage

  • Walker on his interception: “I just played the defense that Coach Hank called, I went back to my position and good things happen when you’re in position.”
  • Hartage on his interceptions: “The first one I jumped the route and made a great play on it, the second one the guy ran a comeback route and I was just blessed to catch that.”
  • Walker on the four turnovers: “The defense playing together as one, if everybody gets back to their position then the turnovers will come. You get tired of coach Fitz yelling at you in practice.”