Nov. 22, 2009
Recap | Final Stats | Notes
Ohio Head Coach Frank Solich
On coming back late again after holding an early lead:
This has been a resilient football team in that they have found a way to overcome some things that a lot of teams won't. We have not really put games away early, but despite the competition, they have figured ways to stay in the game and then to win it at the end. I give them a great deal of credit. I thought it was a great game with two really good football teams that came down to the end. We thought it would be a very physical, close football game, and that is what it ended up being.
On LaVon Brazill and special teams play:
It's pretty easy as a coach to jump up and down and pat them on the back when they score a touchdown and then to get on them when they drop one. As the game went, we told them to look more toward fair catching. He's (Brazill) got really good instincts, and he's the kind of player that can make that kind of play for you. You take some chances along the way, but you know he's going to give you an opportunity to win some games.
On moving the ball against a strong Northern Illinois defense:
I think we were able to move the ball better on the ground than a lot of teams have been able to move it against them. They're a very good defensive football team. They're ranked first or second in a number of defensive categories in our conference. You don't want them to make you one-dimensional, because if you do, they'll just tee off on you and you'll have a tough night. We knew we had to get some ground game going. I like our style of offense in that if you're not able to power football a team, we're able to option a team and then throw play-action passes off of it. I think the combination of that gave them some problems tonight. We were able to get some things down on the ground and then hit a few key play-action passes.
On the decision to go for it on fourth down late in the fourth quarter:
There was a lot of conversation about it. Some thought we should pin them down, and some thought we should go (for it). We took a timeout and talked about it a little bit more. The think about it is that even if we don't score off of that drive with a touchdown, if we just get another first down and get ourselves in field-goal range and then get a field goal, that gives you a chance to beat them with another field goal if you play good defense. That was going through my head a little bit. Knowing that if we just punted the ball and they made a couple first downs, that the clock was going to really start to work in their favor. That changes the whole complexion of the game and the whole play calling of the game. Two fourth down plays, one we made and one they didn't was huge in this game.
On the defensive effort to get stops and force turnovers late in the game:
I was a little frustrated with them in the first half. They let them go on two long drives and there were some things we should have controlled better, but I thought as the half came to an end we were playing pretty good defense. The second half I thought we were really starting to pick it up and let them (NIU) understand they weren't going to have a ground game in this football game. That was going to cause them to throw some more, and we felt if we caused them to throw enough, we were going to get a pick or two. It pretty well played out the way we hoped at the end from a defensive standpoint.
Ohio Senior Wide Receiver Taylor Price
On successfully converting a fourth and one play:
We took the timeout just to think about it a little more and talk it over with our coaches. We decided on a play that's kind of a pick route to get the tight end free, but I ended up being open in the middle of the field.
On NIU's defense tiring:
After half time, we knew we had to come back out here and put some drives together to keep our defense off the field and to wear their defense out. That's what we did. We put some drives together, put some points on the board and kept our defense off the field.
On next week's game:
We're looking at it like it's the MAC championship. Every game is the biggest of season from here on out. We've got to bring our `A' game, and we have one less day of practice. But this team has been resilient, and we're going to come back and be ready to go on Friday.
Ohio Junior Linebacker Noah Keller
On dealing with NIU's prolific passing offense:
They were, I think, eighth in the nation in rushing, and I felt they were effective running against us. They did make some big plays here and there. Their quarterback was a better thrower than we thought coming in, and he made some big plays. As a whole, I think we made plays when we needed to make them, and our offense played great.
On how the offense's two scoring drives helped defense:
Our offense was ready to go, and their defense looked a little tired. We were able to run the ball well and really took it to them. On defense, we knew we couldn't get into a scoring battle with them going back and forth because we wouldn't win, so we knew we needed to get a turnover.
Ohio Junior Wide Receiver LaVon Brazill
On how double coverage on Price helped him:
I didn't think I was going to have a big day, but I was prepared for it 100 percent. Taylor made good plays, and they're going to have to cover him. They gave me a chance to take advantage of the one-on-one coverage.
On being the school's leader in punt returns for touchdowns:
Coach told me that I had a chance to make history if returned a punt, but it wasn't something I was trying to do. I was just out there making plays. I'm just glad I made history.
Ohio Senior Safety Patrick Tafua
On NIU's early success on third down:
We definitely came together and decided to stop them on third down from here on. We have a goal every week to win the third down battle, and in the first half we were kind of losing that. We felt like `this is not us. We need to shut this down and win it for the team.' It was just a matter of mentality.
On trying to force turnovers against NIU:
It was a challenge that was brought up in our first defensive meeting. They've only given up the ball 9 times, and that made us want to step up a bit. The challenge was there, and we just took it by the horns.
Northern Illinois Head Coach Jerry Kill
On the simple things that lead to Ohio's victory:
Field position was a critical part of the game, and their kicking game beat our kicking game. [Ohio] did a great job and got off to a great start. I compliment them. Our kids played hard, but someone had to lose. Ohio did a great job of doing the little things, and at the end of the day, they executed better than we did today.
On the championship atmosphere:
It was a back-and-forth, overall good game. I have a lot of respect for Coach Solich and for what's he's done here and what he has done his whole career. He's a good man. It was a great college game back and forth, but they just made a few more plays than we did. The game came down to a few inches all day, and in the end, they came through and made more plays.
On Theo Scott's play at quarterback:
I think both quarterbacks played well, and we knew that [Scott] could make some plays. Their wide receivers did a good job getting open.
On special teams play:
They had our coverage teams out of position. You have to give them credit for executing well. They are very good in the kicking game, and we've been very good, but their coverage team did a better job than ours.
Northern Illinois Sophomore Quarterback Chandler Harnish
On attacking the Ohio defense:
We are banged up at running back pretty bad, and we knew Ohio has a great defensive line. We knew our receivers had to make plays. We passed a little more than what we wanted to, but Ohio is a good team.