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Postgame press conference notes for Northwestern-Rutgers

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“Great job going 1-0.”

After the Wildcats’ second straight comeback win, Pat Fitzgerald, Joe Gaziano, Isaiah Bowser, and Clayton Thorson answered questions from the media.

Pat Fitzgerald:

  • “Great job going 1-0. Sometimes you don’t have your A-game...but we found a way to get it to our bullpen, in baseball terms.”
  • “Our defense was outstanding. We mis-fit one play, but otherwise did a great job.”
  • On how Clayton played today: “Awesome! 1-0, baby. That’s the job of the quarterback.”
  • “There has been a point of emphasis to establish the run every game...[on how the running game developed in the first half] I haven’t looked at the stats, but based on your question I’d assume not well.”
  • “Hanaoka got plenty of reps. How about no. 1? The kid played great.”
  • On “style points”: “That’s a great point of discussion on your guys’ [looks at us] blog sites. But I don’t care about that. I care about going 1-0.”
  • On fourth quarter success: “I think we’re in outstanding physical condition. Our guys are playing hard. A couple of weeks ago, we were making too many mistakes...still far from a finished product.”
  • “Everybody plays pretty darned good defense in this league. It’s hard to gain inches.”
  • “Looked like we dropped more balls today than we have in a month...when you’re off it’s hard to make plays. But I thought our guys stayed resilient.”
  • On going for the late 4th and 4: “We’re going to be aggressive. We’re going to be really aggressive, and that’s the way it’s been for the past 5, 6 years...our guys executed.”
  • On how they freed up Bowser: “We blocked. Our guys got better angles...it’s no secret that we play pin-and-pull, and as a back you’ve gotta diagnose the blocks. When you've got young guys out there, they’re just happy to hold onto the ball...it’s a work on progress.”
  • “I think Chad Hanaoka embodies what’s best about Northwestern and Northwestern football. He doesn’t do some things right, he does everything right.”
  • On Skowrownek: “Sounds like he’s gonna travel with us, so that’s good news. Good job by their young man [of not delivering a high hit]...I’m just ecstatic that it looks like he’s gonna be ok.”

Isaiah Bowser

  • “Going for more than a couple of series was a great feeling...glad we got the win.”
  • On his big runs down the stretch: “Nerves weren’t really an issue for some reason. I got into the flow of the game in the second half. Knew holding onto the ball was a key thing.”
  • On his second touchdown: “The line got a great push...I saw the hole open, put my shoulder down and got in there.”
  • “I try to prepare for every game the same, even when I was the backup for Jeremy [Larkin]...I was just ready to go.”

Joe Gaziano

  • “We had confidence in [the offense] the whole game, knew that they could put up the points they needed to score. In the fourth quarter, we knew it was time to step up.”
  • On success this game compared to Nebraska: “We were able to execute and be more fundamentally sound. Last week, we were getting out of our gaps a little bit.”
  • On NFL rule changes: “I’m pretty sure a lot of my sacks would have been penalties in the NFL, but right now I’m focused on my team and making plays.”

Clayton Thorson

  • On how he’d evaluate his performance: “I think I could’ve played better. Made some big plays down the stretch, but I’ve gotta be better...it was a big team win.”
  • On Bowser: “He played great. Hit some holes, and broke some long ones too. He obviously would’ve liked to play a little more at the beginning of the season, but he’s getting his chance.”
  • On lack of big plays: “We saw on tape that defending those was one of their strengths, so those plays just weren’t called.”
  • On going back to Nagel over and over: “However we need to win we will. I know that, and I think the receivers do too. When [other receivers] have their numbers called they come up big.”