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Northwestern-UNLV postgame press conference notes

Fitz and co. talked to the media after a solid win.

Pat Fitzgerald

On Drake Anderson: “Drake had a great offseason. He was really close to being in the mix last year... He had a couple tough plays against Stanford. I thought he responded really well today... He’s got a bright future ahead of him.

On Michigan State: “I think we need to be efficient. Our defense can’t cover everything... We’re gonna have our hands full. Can I enjoy tonight first, though?”

On Defensive Line: “Mental mistakes that skewed the stats. Our defensive line was great, it had all to do with the schematics. Very little drop backs.”

On Wide Receivers: “Catch the ball. Do your job, catch the ball, and they will.”

On today’s victory: “Great team win, bounce back. The way the guys responded at half time. A couple of mental mistakes that led to big plays... Found a way to win. Executed the game plan at half time.”

On first half run-game struggles defensively: “Our defense takes a lot of pride against the run. They [UNLV] are very creative with how they run.”

On Jesse Brown: “I thought Jesse has overcome a ton of adversity. A tough, physical guy, always plays with square shoulder pads. A guy waiting for his opportunity and took full advantage of it.”

On the team’s history of tough non conference losses and the importance of today’s win: “Thanks for the reminder... We put our backs against the walls with how we schedule. Football is never a game of perfection, we will grind to get there.”

Joe Gaziano

On second half performance: “Our offense had some key plays at tehe end of the first half and beginning of the second half... Credit to those guys, they put a little cushion on. That forced UNLV to back into drop back mode. It was good for us to be able to get into pass rush [mode] and do what we want to do... In the second half, we cut it loose. We had fun.”

On UNLV: “It’s hard to win regardless of if it is Big Ten or non-conference... Today, we weren’t focused on who the opponent was, we were focused on ourselves.”

On Rose Bowl team: “It’s really cool to see that generation. Ed talked about how ‘we won the Rose Bowl’ and then a couple years later he went off to the war... It was really cool to see those guys coming back. You could tell they were very thankful to be coming back... It’s a cool moment for an older generation of (Wildcats) and us as players.”

On the changes the defense instituted at halftime: “Not many X’s and O’s adjustments. More of a mental thing, cracking down and limiting those explosive plays.”

Hunter Johnson:

On getting the first touchdown: “The first drive was a big confidence booster. It got us all fired up and excited for the rest of the game.”

On the deep-ball success: “Connecting on that play with JJ was a big play for the offense. A great route for JJ and a great play call....It was just a slant and go, we read the coverage.”

On the interception: “I could have looked at other routes, could have placed the ball a bit better.”

On his refusal to slide: “The players keep talking about sliding. I should slide a few more times. Decided to just stick my nose in there. I’ve always been the guy that depends on the play. Getting that extra yard is something that you think about.”

Drake Anderson:

On outdoing his dad: “It felt good to be out there again. Jeremy Larkin always says to prepare like the number one, which helped me.”

On his touchdown: “The NWO [offensive line] helped...the holes were huge to run through all game long.”