Ohio Head Coach Frank Solich
"Proud of our kids, that we played hard the entire game. We didn't have a turnover which was important that's one thing that we talked a lot about going into this game. You look at Central, we were 4-1 in favor to them on the turnovers, 2-0 Purdue, so we wanted to really take good care of the ball and create some turnovers, so we were able to get that done. We got off to a fast start, that's another thing that we talked about trying to play the four quarters and not have it be a slow start for us, and I thought we did. We went out there [with a] fast start, then we slowed down. I'm proud of what they accomplished, I thought the defense played better as the game went on. I thought the offense put together a lot of drives. Michael Farkas did a great job, I think he had four punts inside the 20. Field position in this kind of game is obviously important, so a lot of good things. "
On rushing for a season low but still putting up 45 points:
"I think we're a multiple offense, we're not just a running football team. We have the ability to throw and throw really well. We got really good receivers, we have explosive receivers. Nathan, I think is a really good passer, I don't know if it's really his stat hasn't shown maybe as well as it should in terms of the type of thrower he is. We had some dropped, we may have had one or two dropped in this game but not a lot of dropped balls that I can reflect back on. I think that when we're hitting on all cylinders we can be pretty good offensively in both the running game and the passing game. That was good. And I think Miami coming in, if you look at us, we need to stop the running game and I thought they worked at that and did a pretty good job of that and that opened up a few doors in the throwing game for us."
On How Rourke and the Receiving Core Did:
"I thought this kind of game would be coming along. The last few games that we've had, we've probably are passing attack didn't show as well. I think it is capable of being. I was kind of trying to wait for it to break off of the closet a little bit. It was good to see us being able to move the ball, I feel like we had three TDs through the air, which is good. Nathan again showed his running ability and his capability which are all critical to being a good running and throwing team."
On Brendan Cope:
"It was good to see him have a good game, he's been playing hurt, and up until the Kent State game and he had to sit out. But the previous games, a couple of previous games he was playing banged up, and so you have to love what he's all about and what our team's all about, what the guys are all about in that manner. I think the break came at a good time for us. Even though it was a 10 day break we got guys that healed up a lot from bumps and bruises and minor injuries that they were playing with, but you know we had quite enough time to get them healed. A few extra days helped us an awful lot.
On the sequence Miami penalty sequence in the fourth quarter:
"We have a 15 yarder that had us kick the ball from the 20-yard line, and so that should have never happened. Those kind of things are tough to eliminate completely from the program, it's not like we're going to go through a season and not have a guy maybe have a problem. You keep talking about it and when it happens to the other team you feel fortunate ad you just kind of keep hoping that it doesn't happen to you. We talk about it enough that I like to think some of that is hitting home and that we're doing the right things in terms of not doing anything that's going to hurt our football team, that's what we set out to do. We've been pretty good this year in penalties overall. I'm not sure in this game how many we had [6 for 50] that's not unreasonable. Not too bad there, we're doing pretty good in the penalty department on the year."
"It's not amazing if we've got the right quarterback and I think he is. Obviously, we've had some pretty good quarterbacks. Tyler Telleton was a productive quarterback for us, he did a lot on the ground and also in the air. He was a great guy, and Nathan I think has all those attributes and is capable of really being a copper lined quarterback, and I think his statistics are showing that. He might lead the country in rushing touchdowns [he's one off] He's right there. [most total touchdowns] he's getting some huge things accomplished, but [Quinton Maxwell] has not gotten a chance to show his talents because Nathan kind of took over the position but Quinton has done a lot of good things for us. I want to pat him on the back for how he's taken this. He continues to be a good leader on our football team, practices hard, practices well, so he's going to be a guy that—should we need him—he can come in and he can win it for us. We feel pretty good at the quarterback position for us."
On the game being on ESPN2, and giving Nathan a stage:
"I think it was good for Nathan to have that kind of game on ESPN2 and then obviously it's good for our program, and I think it's good for our university, that Ohio gets on national TV and gets broadcast around the country, so it's good for everybody. If you play well and do well."
On the mentality of the players supporting and pushing each other:
"I think this is a special team in that regard. There are many great leaders along with being good football players. They enjoy the game and have fun with it, while doing everything they can to make this program work. When I look at the number of guys on this football team and how they worked this summer, how they worked through fall camp, its been an amazing year. We could have had eight or nine captains but we had to limit it to five. If you look at our unity council it is made up of a great group. The leadership has extended, and this is what you hope for as a coach, to have this kind of group to coach is great and I expect it to continue throughout this season."
On an emphasis of getting pressure on the Miami Quarterback this week:
"We talked about blitzing and doing more of it in this game. It is something that's worked well for us, but you when get a two touchdown lead it's very easy to get conservative on the offensive and defensive side of it. It's very easy for a head coach to get conservative about it also, so when you look at what we are about defensively, blitzing a certain amount is beneficial for us. We can put pressure on the quarterbacks. No one as a quarterback likes to stand in that pocket and get hit after throwing, even if it is a completion. Were mixing it up a little bit more, and I think we need to continue to do that."
On changing during the forth quarter defensively towards James Gardner:
"There wasn't any magic we did to take things away from him. We did utilize more coverage's and blitz some more, which helps to some degree. That takes away the deep throw. They weren't getting the slants, but had a fade on us for a touchdown; so they were still getting things done in the passing game. He is a great receiver so he is going to have his moments in the game; you just hope he doesn't have four quarters of it."
On utilizing the reverse three flicker play after Purdue ran it against Ohio:
"We have been practicing that a lot. It has been really good for our defense and offense to practice. When we have our service period, going speed against speed, we practice that play. We have had enough practice that we have been able to stop it a little bit and we had success with it this game."
On Nathan Rourke mentioning he feels every week's game is the "game of the year":
"It is not surprising that he said something like that. He is very down to Earth, he knows what it takes to win games, and he knows you can be a flash in the pan and can play well as an individual or a team, but you need consistency. When he talks about understanding that each game is the current game of the year, we can control our own destiny right now."
On Quentin Poling being Ohio's leading tackler on solo stops:
"He has the whole makeup that you look for. He is and athletic guy, he can run, cut, be used as a tailback in an offense if we wanted him too. He is very bright, and when you play smart football you put yourself in a good position to make solo tackles. It is not surprising to me that he is number one in that category. Great athlete, tough as nails, can play through injuries most guys wouldn't be on the field with. I am so proud of him and what he has accomplished and meant to this football team during his career here."
On the team being it's healthiest all season:
"I think the break came at a good time for us. I think we can go into the last stretch of games being fairly rested and healthy. I don't know of anybody who got banged up to the point that they will miss a game."
On Jalen Fox interception:
"That was him making a play. Every quarterback has his quirks that make him what he is, and if you study enough film you can pick these things up. Jalen has really gotten better, and our coaches have worked hard to coach our guys well enough to catch any quirks."
On Nathan Rourke being compared to Eric Crouch and Tettleton:
"Right now he is doing everything we ask. He has great ability to run the football as well as being and excellent thrower. He has great touch on the ball, has the arm strength to make all the throws we need made. He is bright, he has everything we look for, and will just keep getting better."
Ohio Player Quotes
Wide Receiver Brendan Cope
On a perfect record against Miami:
"It's awesome, not a lot of alumni can say they went 5-0 against Miami – most have at least one slip up, but yeah, it feels good. It's nice to go 5-0 and get five mugs."
On catching the catch to beat Miami 25-14 last year, does this beat that feeling:
"It's definitely close. It might be an unfair question to ask right now, because my emotions are a little bit high. So maybe, but a win is a win over Miami."
Coming back from injury this week... What was it like to get back on the field and give that spark to the offense:
"It wasn't just me – a lot of us caught some big-time catches. I know Andrew Meyer had a nice one. He had a nice catch and got popped pretty good. We really just focused in on this week. We made sure we caught the ball and sought the tuck, as Coach Dixon says. We really focused on the little things and I think it showed for everybody – for Papi White, for Jerrid Marhefka and everyone that was in."
What do you do with your Miami mugs:
"I am going to probably use one every morning for my coffee mug, so I will see that every morning. "
Linebacker Quentin Poling
How did you turn it up in the fourth against Miami's offense:
"Well, we were up significantly, so we tried to play more drop-back coverage. But besides that, he came into the game averaging 21-yards a catch – he is kind of a deep-ball guy. We knew that and that's what they targeted him with, so, no surprise there."
On becoming all-time leader of solo-tackle:s
"It's a pretty cool feeling. The program has been here for 100 years, I think I've been here for 20; so, it's expected."
On a two-game lead over Miami in the MAC…
"We aren't really worried about Miami. Any time we beat Miami is pretty cool, but we're tied in the MAC with Akron."
On wearing new jerseys…
"I like them. They fit well."
Quarterback Nathan Rourke
On his first experience of Battle of the Bricks
"Well I'm 1-0 against Miami to start, so I'd say it's pretty positive."
On almost 300-yards:
"I'm not that big of a stats guy, as you all know. It would be nice to get over 300-yards passing."
On having Cope and Papi back:
"It is great. Obviously they are two very dynamic playmakers for us. On top of that, they are both very experienced and they know the offense very well. You know that they are going to be reliable and that they will do their best to get open and make big-time catches like they did today. As Cope said, there were a lot of guys that stepped up today but it is always good to know that they are going to be in and do the right thing and get open."
Does playing on ESPN2 make a difference:
"That has nothing to do with it. The bigger motivation was playing Miami and getting some of the guys on our team to be 5-0 against Miami. I saw on the video board that this was the "biggest game of the year", but it's not… the next game is the biggest game of the year against Toledo, and then the next week and then the next. That's got to be our mentality."
On going up two-scores and the penalty:
"It was big. At that point we were really trying to but the nail in the coffin and really separate ourselves from them. We had bunch of opportunities throughout the game where we were up by 14 and we could not pull away. That drive was huge and that penalty was obviously huge. Obviously, we didn't draw it up like that, but we were glad that it happened."
On having 29 touchdowns in nine games played:
"It really isn't a focus of mine. The mentality isn't set a personal record – it's about winning a MAC Championship."
Not just a running team… getting it done in both facets – working the passing offense more against Miami:
"First of all, I think we have a lot of confidence in our defense that helped stop them from scoring. I knew that we were capable of being able to open up in the passing game, we just really haven't got it going in the last couple of games. The Bowling Green game was a great example of that. Things kind of opened up today, I think we got into a rhythm and the receivers played probably one of their better games this season. We were really able to spread the ball around. That's when things get dangerous – not keying on one person, you can throw it to whoever comes in and that was evident tonight."
Is the offense hitting a stride at the right time with getting Cope and Marhefka back?
"For sure, and I hope that we can keep it up and stay healthy then just keep building and getting better from there. Although I thought we played pretty well today, we can keep building and there's another level that we can get to."
Running Back AJ Ouellette
On getting 14-point leads and then going back to the wall… What helped you keep grinding out touchdowns?
"Well coming into the game, we knew we had to score a lot of points. They have a great quarterback and great receivers. Once you go up by 14, you can't let up. We just kept to the game plan and did what we do best. We ran the ball which opens up the pass. They're going to load the box then the passing game is going to open up, like it did."
Do you get frustrated at Rourke's ease of TDs?
"No, he's just hungry for the end zone. He does it better than I do. He's a little prettier getting into the end zone than I am, too."
When McMullen lost his mind, did you feel like you had the game won?
"Well I was on the sideline when that happened, but I ended up on the field going crazy and throwing my towel like it was a flag. After you get in their heads and they get a little frustrated, you know you got the game won. They get frustrated and can't stop you and stuff like that, so at that point you know you're in their heads. As long as you do your job, you got the game won."
On winning by a season-low of rushing yards…
"If they're going to load the box, passing game is going to be there. Air Canada and our great receivers are going to get the job done."
On looking forward to playing one of the best teams in the MAC West…
"Yeah, we're excited. When you play a great team, you expect a great game. We just have to game plan well and execute. We know that it is going to come down to execution and who will have fewer mistakes. That's what competitors want and the fans want – a great game."
Miami Head Coach Chuck Martin
"Obviously, tough loss. It's 14- nothing, gave up a quick drive, turned the ball over and we were able to battle back to 14-14. We felt a little better, and then we turnover again, and then the score is 21-14. They score again; we got a key drive before the half is over. At half time, score is 28-21. It felt like both offenses were clicking. We were disappointed in our own offense because of the two picks; one set up an easy touchdown and the other one cost us a possession. In this game, when you're scoring points at will, those two possessions— maybe it's us 35-21 at halftime because they were having a hard time stopping us and obviously we were having a hard time stopping them. We go on a 95-yard drive and score from our own five-yard line; it was a beautiful drive that brought us to 28-28. Then they bounce back and score. We got to come back and score and we don't. In the next drive we have three penalties on one play, we get the holding penalty and two arguing penalties with the ref over different stuff and basically they punch in. It's 42-28 and at that point the game is a very big uphill battle to climb. They did a lot of good things on offense, the two turnovers on offense were critical, those were there—that obviously gives them a big advantage in a game where both teams are scoring. One of them set up an easy score within our ten-yard line; we directly lead to seven points. On defense, we obviously had a hard time stopping them."
On the arguing penalties:
"They just said that he was arguing the call and he lost. I was more worried about trying to get him out of there and I didn't really talk to the officials. I still haven't talked to them because I addressed the team. I have to talk to them now."
On Ohio's successful game plan:
"We couldn't stop the run or the pass. They were running their offense; they weren't doing anything that they don't do every week. They've been very potent offensively—their quarterback's ability to move and run. At times we defended the run well and at times we didn't defend the run well. They handled us up front and they handled us better in the second.
On Gus Ragland's availability:
"Gus was available but he wasn't 100%, so he wouldn't be able to play the game the way he needs to play it. He could have went in the game and there would have been a lot we couldn't do. Again, Billy did a lot of good things today, but you've got to take care of the football. The two picks were critical in a high scoring game, like I said. 28-21 half and we've got two turnovers we should easily and could easily have a lead at the half, or at least be tied. But he obviously threw for a bunch of yards, he made a bunch of good reads, he hung in there and took some shots, but you can't be minus two in the turnover battle."
On moving forward:
"Obviously, you want to win the league, but we want to play football the right way all the time. We've been struggling for the last—Buffalo we did, but the two weeks before we'd play in spurts and we did some things that shoot ourselves in the foot and we've got to get those things up. It's still going to be about playing the game the right way every week and giving yourself the best chance for success and playing smart and hard. At times we're playing super hard and at times we're playing smart, but other times we're not playing very smart—that one drive, we have three penalties on one dive and obviously that's not very good football."