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Northwestern vs. Iowa Press Conference Notes

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Pat Fitzgerald and four players addressed the media after the game.

Pat Fitzgerald:

  • On the ‘62 team: “We honored the best football team that ever played here at Northwestern.”
  • On honoring Ara Parseghian: “My hope is that he’s looking down on these guys with a big smile on his face. Hanging out with Walk (Randy Walker), probably on the back nine of 18 holes.”
  • On the win: “Really proud of our guys, I thought we were really resilient, we knew this was gonna be a battle. Playing a team that we have so much respect for. We knew it was going to be a struggle, we were going to have to fight for every inch and that’s what happened.”
  • On Justin Jackson’s 3rd and 9 catch and run: “Wow. What a great play, he’s got the ball in space and he’s just being Justin, it looked like just a pure attitude play...The way he did that was just very Justin Jackson.”
  • On playing for OT: “We’re going into the wind...Charlie’s field goal, that thing almost backed up...I wanted to run the ball to see if we could get Kirk to call a timeout.”
  • On the defense: “We played two top ten teams that have outstanding defenses...I think Iowa played a pretty damn good defense ..It’s a defensive league, when that happens you’re fighting for every millimeter out there.”
  • On offense at halftime: “I thought we had plenty going, we just had self inflicted wounds across the 50 ..We can’t get holding calls, we can’t not execute across the 50 yard line, that’s when you get an opportunity to take that next step and we didn’t do that.”
  • On the wind/decisions to go for it on 4th: “Most of those decisions were in the alumni zone, if I get it everyone says great job, if I don’t everyone says I’m an idiot ...We’re going to make decisions based on every factor that we have.”
  • On front 7 effectiveness: “I think they’ve been really solid for the last month. I think we’ve been pretty solid all year...The way that they’re preparing, its showing up on Saturday...They’re doing just a terrific job.”
  • On honoring Ara Parseghian: “His wisdom, his support, his friendship, that’ll be something that I will cherish...for us to win today when we were honoring him, its a big deal to us collectively.”
  • On defensive line “I don’t see mental mistakes, I see us controlling our gaps, I see us fundamentally executing pretty well...(Iowa) self scouted some things. We were having to adjust especially defensively ..I thought our front 7 really handled that well.”
  • On field position/Niswander: “Punting with the wind — that helps. Again, I think he’s had a really good senior campaign, I’m really happy for him. That wind was plying tricks for both sides’ returners.”
  • On 4th down decisions: “Charlie knows I’ve got great confidence in him. We’re being aggressive, we’re playing to win, as we talk through that during the week, in games, sometimes it adjusts and changes in games with what were going to do...I’m not going to put him in a situation where I don’t feel one hundred percent he’ll make a kick.”
  • “Today was just a great Big Ten defensive battle...There were good and bad on both sides of our team and same thing for the ...But I just thought this was one heck of a Big Ten football game.”

Joe Gaziano:

  • On containing Wadley: “Iowa likes to run the ball... Everyone knows it ...We focused on being able to stop the run.”
  • On defensive progress: “I think were a more cohesive unit and were playing together a lot.”
  • On overtime decision being a vote of confidence in defense: “Absolutely, it gives us the spark and the energy. This was my first overtime game so I was thrilled to even get the opportunity to play.”
  • On win: “Overtime victory thriller at home, packed house, there’s nothing like it...This game was great and we loved every second of it.”

Nate Hall:

  • On defense: “I think the young guys in the front seven are playing well...when the front four plays like they’ve been playing it makes it easy for the linebackers to make plays.”
  • On varying Iowa yard totals per quarter: “They came out and ran a little bit of a different offense than they usually did and we did a good job of adjusting. It seemed like every quarter they were switching up their game plan.”
  • On overtime decision: “We let Coach Fitz manage the football game and we go out there and play and do our jobs to the best of our abilities.”
  • On win: “That game meant a lot for our seniors...We all feel very passionate when we play Iowa.”

Clayton Thorson:

  • On Justin Jackson’s OT effort: “He made a good catch...Oh man that was awesome. I saw two guys in the open field and I’m like oh they got no chance...Awesome effort, great game by him.”
  • On overtime decision: “They’re our coaches and we do what they say but I respected the decision and my focus was then just on overtime.”
  • On Iowa’s aggressiveness: “They’re a physical team. That’s what they do.”
  • On halftime thoughts “We got it to the other side of the 50 five times and penalties killed us...Thank goodness our defense was playing well...We felt like we could move the ball and in the second half we did.”
  • On going for it on 4th: “Fitz trusts us to get a first down and we love going for it on fourth down...We love the trust he has in us.”

Justin Jackson:

  • On running game: “Credit goes to our O-linemen, they’ve been responding to the challenge that we put on to them...I think we wore them [Iowa] down with our tempo.”
  • On beating Iowa: “Means a lot because I think in some ways we’re very similar teams...We always know that it’s going to be a fight with Iowa...They’re a great team...It was just about us getting the last punch.”
  • On Coach Fitzgerald deciding to go for it on 4th: “That’s who he is, he’s very aggressive as a person too so his personality kind of affects his calls and...we love it. I always feel like we’re going to get it, I always have confidence in us and he does too.”