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Northwestern-Wisconsin postgame press conference notes

Fitz: “We played right into Wisconsin’s hands.”

NCAA Football: Wisconsin at Northwestern Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

Northwestern fell to a ranked opponent for the second time in as many weeks, falling 21-7 to Wisconsin on Saturday at Ryan Field. It was the Badgers’ first win in Evanston since 1999. The Wildcats’ offense, outside of Austin Carr, mightily struggled to move the ball either through the air or on the ground, and was just 5-of-18 at converting third downs. Northwestern will head to Purdue next Saturday.

Pat Fitzgerald

  • On the World Series-winning Cubs: “I want to congratulate the Cubs, the Ricketts family and the entire organization. What a special week it was in Chicago.” Fitz said the only other thing he wants in his life is a “Red Line Series” between the Cubs and the White Sox.
  • On third down conversions: “We knew how critical third down would be. For us to be 5-of-18, it tells you the difference in that game...Winning on third down is critically important, and we failed in that today.”
  • On his fourth quarter fumble: “Clayton would love to have that decision back...Sometimes you have to take that loss and live to fight another day.”
  • On the poor play of the wide receivers: “We had a few more drops today than we’ve had the rest of the year...I’ll credit Wisconsin without watching the tape.”
  • On the Wildcats’ next three games against Purdue, Minnesota and Illinois: “It’s got nothing to do with who we’re playing...This is Big Ten football, anybody can win on any given Saturday. I have no concern with our opponent and 100 percent concern with us.”
  • On the Badgers: “Wisconsin may be the most complete team we’ve seen on tape in all phases of the game.”
  • On how much the Thorson fumble hurt the Wildcats: “We had momentum going into the fourth, and the fumble killed that. You can’t make plays like that and expect to win.”
  • On the Wildcats’ weak rushing attack: “It looked like we weren’t getting to the second level...I really thought we were going to have opportunities to get things going, but I have to look at the tape [to see what happened].”
  • On the gameplan heading in: “We had to make them play defense today, the only way to do that is get into manageable third downs and convert. We didn’t do that today.”
  • On the injuries his team is dealing with: “We have 11 guys down for the year, and eight of them were starters at one point. A lot of guys have to step up.”
  • On what happened on the 46-yard Jazz Peavy touchdown run: “Our ends squeezed too fast, and our inside-outside pursuit just wasn’t there.”

Austin Carr

  • On the Wisconsin defense: “They’re a good defense. There’s a reason why they’re a top-ranked team...On offense, all 11 guys have to be on the same page to get us [the wide receivers] the ball.”
  • On the back-to-back close losses: “I think we’re tired of being close. We keep shooting ourselves in the foot against these good teams...You can’t beat two teams in the same day, and we’re beating ourselves.”
  • On the third down struggles: “We had too many third-and-longs, more than eight I think. We have a good play-caller in Coach McCall, but we have to make third downs more manageable.”

Clayton Thorson

  • On his fumble: “I probably should have just kept it there. That gave them a lot of momentum, I can’t do that.”
  • On Wisconsin’s defensive gameplan: “It was kind of what we expected. Their front seven drives their defense, so we just got to get better.”
  • On the scoring drive in the second quarter: “We executed very well. We were just playing fast...When we go fast with a lot of tempo, we can move the ball a lot, and we need to do that more consistently throughout the game.”

Kyle Queiro

  • On the defense’s struggles to force turnovers: “The only fumbles we’ve created this season have been the defensive line on the quarterback...Turnovers are a leading factor in games, and we haven’t been forcing them.”
  • On Corey Clement: “He’s definitely a shifty guy, but he’s well-balanced and can bring power...He’s a good and talented back and one of the guys that gets their offense going.”

Anthony Walker

  • On wearing Matthew Harris’ No. 11 jersey: “Andrew Scanlan actually came up with the idea...[Harris] can’t play the game anymore but he’s still our brother even if he’s not on the field.”
  • On Wisconsin’s rushing attack: “They had a great scheme, the truck scheme they were using against us. Our corners hung in there and made plays, but you don’t want your cornerbacks making plays against 200-pound running backs all the time.”
  • Walker was asked about the Wildcats needing two wins for bowl eligibility. He stuck to the company line: “1-0 every week, like you said.”