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Press Conference Notes from Northwestern’s victory over Nevada

Pat Fitzgerald, Clayton Thorson, Bennett Skowronek and others talked to the media after the 31-20 win.

Pat Fitzgerald

“Thanks everybody for being here, fired up about the win. Obviously we had a game like this that went a different way two years ago, so I’m fired up about this one.”

“A lot of self-inflicted wounds. Turnovers. Penalties, offensively when we had big plays. But we had guys step up when other guys went down.”

On whether going for the last 4th down was tough: “No, not at all. We go through all of those scenarios. We had 3 or 4 where we were kind of in no man’s land, with a freshman kicker kicking into the wind...Outside of a couple of mistakes, we were pretty efficient on 4th down.”

On first half successes for Nevada in the passing game: “They ran an exchange route where we had a breakdown in communication and then a slant-and-go where it looked to me like Jared made a mistake.”

On key 4th down stops late in the game: “I thought our guys really responded because we had to do a lot of adjusting.”

On Moe Almasri, who stepped in late at cornerback when Brian Bullock got hurt: “How about Moe? You know, to have two guys go down in the game, next man up, and Moe was already starting on three special teams.”

On what they need to improve upon: “Penalties. Eliminating big plays, explosive plays. Working on third down efficiency in the first half. It looked like we had a lot of linebacker run-throughs.”

On Skowronek: “I felt great about the wideouts going into the game. You’re trying to compare one game to a Biletnikoff finalist? Yeah, I’m gonna push pause on that. But to see how he responded [to his fumble] was great.”

On Thorson: “I think he saw Macan was even and he gave him a great, catchable ball...He's a guy that trusts his receivers and trusts his ability. He’s got 18 wins as our quarterback now."

On Oxley playing at defensive tackle: "We changed him mid-way through camp. We felt like we could use some extra depth inside."

On Slater and Vogel rotating: "We're going to play the guy who is playing better. Based on rotation I'd say both were equally good or bad."

Clayton Thorson, Ben Skowrownek, and Tyler Lancaster

Thorson on his sneaks: “I love it. Everyone does all the work, we get down to the one yard line, and I punch it in...Luckily my body is about 2 yards long. Great job by the guys up front getting the push.”

On the deep balls: “Thankfully our line was doing a great job of protection. Credit to those receivers, man, they went up there and made some great catches.”

Skowronek on his fumble and response to it: “The Nevada player made a great play and punched the ball right out, when I got to the sidelines...we’re a family on this team. When I got to the sideline a lot of guys came up to me and said flush it, go make some plays, and when I made that first catch in the second half I was able to put it out of my mind.”

Skowronek on his improvement: “Last year I gained a lot of experience and that carried over well to this year. I was just playing loose, playing comfortable, and that’s important for me.”

Lancaster on 4th quarter success: “Every play we played it the same, we were attacking, but come the 4th quarter we were just more conditioned to do so.”

Justin Jackson and Kyle Queiro

Jackson on second-half adjustments: “We weren’t responding very well in the first half and just had a better sense of urgency in the second half. In the first half, we weren’t capitalizing on red zone opportunities.”

Queiro responding to the same questions: “We weren’t expecting them to run the ball as well as they did in the first half so we just got into the locker room, composed ourselves, and came back out ready.”

Queiro on handling cornerback turnover: “Anybody who comes out, we trust them. We know that anyone who steps onto the field is going to be prepared.”

Jackson on his near-fumble in the 4th: “Obviously, can’t let that happen, I’ll take full responsibility for that. Can’t let officials decide on stuff like that. I just gotta take care of the ball better.”

Full videos of the press conferences can be found below: