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Northwestern vs. Purdue press conference notes

Pat Fitzgerald and several players addressed the media after Northwestern's fifth straight win.

Will Ragatz

Pat Fitzgerald

  • "It was really special to have Tom Hruby and two of his sons here today as an honorary captain. It puts everything in perspective... The reality is that men like Tom give us that freedom and that liberty. Thank you to all of our great veterans."
  • On the struggles of the running game and Justin Jackson: "At times, it looked like we were about a block away." Added that Purdue stacked the box against Jackson and the running game. "We needed Clayton and the receiving corps to step up, and they did."
  • Says that Purdue basically went two-minute offense for two and a half quarters of the game.
  • On Bennett Skowronek's performance and growth: "Bennett's been a guy that's been really consistent throughout the course of the year. He's been really locked in during the week."
  • On the penalty that brought Riley Lees punt return touchdown back: "That there was a penalty. I'll leave it at that."
  • On the defense's ability to stop the run: "Our guys just really stepped up. It always starts up front when you're able to get that kind of push."
  • On the fourth-and-one stop at the NU four-yard line: "Big momentum swing there. That's like a 14 point swing."
  • On Jeff Brohm: "He exudes exactly what you need. You've gotta have plan, and you've gotta have guys buy in. They're much healthier, and their guys are buying in. He's going to do a great job. There's no doubt in my mind about that." Says that Purdue and Northwestern are similar programs.
  • On winning five straight games: "Just finding a way. We talk about going 1-0 each week, and that hasn't changed. Any time you win five in a row, and you're in conference play, that's not an easy feat. I think our guys are confident right now, and they're seeing a return on their investment."
  • On avoiding playing in overtime for the fourth straight week: ""Obviously, we've been working hard here for ratings the past few weeks... To be done in regulation, it's only 10 o'clock. It's better than being 11 o'clock right."
  • On the sluggish start to the game: "I know that's not what everybody wants as a fan. That's great if we win, that's cool. It's Big Ten football. It's hard to get inches."
  • On redshirts and younger players working behind-the-scenes: "The Fishers of the world get attention, but it's the unseen guys who are growing up. It's exciting for the future."

Clayton Thorson

  • On Purdue loading the box, and the strategy against that: "We gotta just get the ball out on the perimeter. We gotta make those guys on the edge play. Some big plays on those slant routes, guys making plays against man coverage."
  • On Bennett Skowronek: "He's playing great. He's aggressive, which is nice, When the ball goes up in the air, I'm pretty confident he'll get it. It's nice to have a guy like that, we haven't had a guy like that in the end zone."
  • On the slow start offensively: "We just gotta get going a little sooner."
  • On winning five straight games: "It feels really good. To win five straight games in the Big Ten, against the teams we've played, it's impressive. It's been a fun stretch. This group of guys is very special."
  • On the touchdown drive at the end of the first half: "I love it. Just taking what the defense gives us. We've been pretty good at the two-minute offense this year, so that's something we gotta keep up in order to be successful."

Bennett Skowronek

  • On the offense's performance: "As an offense I thought at times we left some plays on the field, but Clayton played great...and it was a great night."
  • On his touchdown reception at the end of the first half: "It was actually something Clayton and I worked on Wednesday after practice. Clayton threw a great ball, perfect spot."

Jordan Thompson

  • On playing defensive line in game where the opposition throws a lot: "You kind of change your mindset. As an interior lineman, you kind of think 'Oh, I wanna make contact with my guy every play.' But, when they're passing a lot, you kind of want to switch into that pass-rush mode, so you can get his hands off you and you can make plays."
  • On winning five straight games: "Winning games is good. Especially big ten games. You only get so many opportunities to walk on that field, so to walk off with a W is great."

Trent Goens

  • On NU's fourth-and-one stop on its own 4 yard line late in the first half: "In a game like this, momentum is huge. Being able to get off the field, especially on the goal line, was huge, to take points off the board."
  • On winning five straight games: "Our goal is to improve each week, and I think we've done that these past five weeks." Mentions going 1-0 every week, because of course.