Ohio Head Coach Frank Solich
On how the team played:
"It's a great feeling—these guys deserve this kind of a win. They've played hard all year; practiced hard all year long. I really love the way they prepared, but sometimes, we get off to slow starts. Sometimes we didn't play the first quarter. Sometimes that went into the second quarter. When we've put together four quarters of football we're a really good football team. It was good to show that."
On A.J. Ouellette:
"He's been special for our program in so many ways. He's done everything right on the field, off the field, school. He's just one of those guys who was mature when he showed up. We didn't have to help develop him in any way. He was already a person and a player that just had everything put together. He knew exactly what he wanted out of school, out of football, out of life and that's how he's operating. I'm an old running backs coach and there were times tonight—and actually in the last game, too—where I've seen really good running backs and I've said, 'Well, okay, we're probably going down here.' But he didn't go down. He made some special runs and it was really neat to see him show and display really all of his talents. He got the linebacker depth; he was making sharp, quick cuts. He was making people miss. He was powering through people when he had to do it. He was getting everything done at a high level that a really top-of-the line running back does. It was great to see him accomplish that tonight."
On the impact of Ouellette's abilities:
"It's a special play and the players appreciate a special play, whether or not you're talking about a run like A.J. can provide for you or someone coming up with a big tackle or a great play-making interception. All of those things get guys going and A.J. has had more than his fair share as you go back through the seasons and pick out plays that he's been special at. I'm really glad to see him finishing up the way he is; I think right now he's the best back in the league."
On the defenses' injuries:
"We have been banged up a little bit; certainly some of our corners. That's been a concern here for the last few weeks. We have played a lot of guys and we are fielding a lot of depth in the corner spots and some young guys at safety, too. It's been great in the regard that some guys have been banged up and they haven't played as much as they would normally play; other guys have come in and learned, got better and so it's what it is. It's helped develop our football team."
On the loss against Miami:
"Well, there's a few frustrating losses we've had this season, not just last week. The teams that we did lose to are really, really good football teams. It's not like we just laid an egg and didn't play well against really good football teams. They're never easy to take when it doesn't play out, but I've known from day one with this team if we're playing well, we can beat people in all three areas. Now, we're patting ourselves on the back a little bit and we've got Akron coming up. That's a very physical football team, very well coached and we're onto the next one. I do know that our team will play hard every time they step onto the football field. Their skill will generally show; if it shows for four quarters, we have a shot."
On running the ball:
"Well, it started to show somewhat early in the game—on our first drive. We were running the ball well, we were getting some guys knocked off the ball and back to reading the ball well. If you get off to a pretty good start in the running game, you can get slowed down as the game goes on, normally it's going to show fairly early whether or not you're running into a stonewall and you better loosen it up on the throwing game. We didn't have to loosen it up with the throwing game, necessarily, in this game. We just kept running the ball and mixed in the throwing game to try to have some efficiency in the passing game."
On the first drive:
"It was really important. They scored so quick; it was seven-nothing. They are a very fast football team and I think it took our defense a little bit to get adjusted to the speed that they have in their receivers and their quickness in their running backs. I feel like as the game went on we started to show what we're all about in all three areas. We have a chance to be good and show that in every game, it's going to keep you in ball games. You're going to be in ball games no matter who you play."
On Buffalos' turnovers:
"It had an effect on them; I'm sure of that. Because right now, one of their star players picks the ball off, they're in really good field position, they're starting to gather momentum, they go down and score and they're hiked up."
On playing 10 games in nine and a half weeks:
"That's part of being in the MAC, but this was fairly tough on us. Five days between one game; I think it was four between another. A couple teams had a day longer than we did. Normally, that balances out. I don't sit down and go through everyone's schedule and say, 'Holy cow, man did we get a raw deal.' Everybody has a tough go of it in the MAC when you get into late November, it's just how it's going to be. We didn't help ourselves with the bi being in the second week, but we adjusted pretty well and kept the guys pretty healthy."
Ohio Player Quotes
Ohio redshirt senior running back A.J. Ouellette (Covington, Ohio)
On bouncing back from last week's game:
"I mean, with that hard loss last week we just had to come out and play the remaining games and show people what our team in capable of. I believe we did that tonight. We played four quarters mistake free. We put our best foot out there."
On dominating the game:
"It's just how you think it would feel. Going out here, I know we had some hurt people early in the week but like I said, we needed to have a statement game to show people what we were capable of and I think we did that."
On rebounding from Miami:
"We're a hard fighting team. We take it game-by-game, no matter if they're first in the conference, last in the conference, and we give it our all and it shows. Each and every day people show up to practice—I think this has been our best year since I've been here. Just practicing through the week; people practice hard. Our scout D-line is playing a good game and it just makes our O-line that much better.
On playing 10 games in nine and a half weeks:
"Coming in before week one we knew it was going to be a challenge with that week two bye, but the way our team is made and how Coach Solich coaches us, I knew we wouldn't have any issues and we would just play tough football.
On setting back-to-back career highs:
"I think I get more pleasure out of it knowing it's a couple of those guys up front's last couple of games. They work their butt; I've had them my whole career. That's the reason such good career yards is those guys are bad-asses out there. It feels good knowing that they can get credit, too."
On his health:
"I just needed to get some demons out—felt a little better after. All week; feeling a little better today. The trainers helped me out on the sideline and gave me some stuff for my stomach, so credit to them.
Redshirt junior safety Javon Hagan (Jacksonville Fla.)
On the defense:
"Really just trusting in each other—in the beginning of the week, we had a team meeting about just trusting in each other and finishing strong and not giving up, not worrying about where we are in the seed. Just trusting in each other and on defense communicating. We did a great job communicating, not busting any coverages and things like that. I can say just playing more as a unit and not as individuals and listening to the coaches."
On the scramble:
"Coach Burrow teaches us not to pick a side, but sometimes you have to as he says, 'Play soft and retrace,' and figure out where they're going. I really just retraced and I figured out which way he was going, but I got hit on this [left] side; that's how he got outside of me. And not giving up on the play: finishing strong, like we preach and just making the play for the team by getting the offense back the ball."
On Buffalo's defense handling A.J.:
"Squats. They're coming through for him. When he runs the ball, everyone get out of the way. As a defender, I try to tell guys, 'It's hard tackling a beast coming full-speed. [Number] five from Buffalo, he's great. He was running extremely hard and it's hard to tack backs like that when they're running full-speed. He doesn't slow up. He doesn't go light in the weight room; he's lifting about 400 [pounds]. That's just him and as you can see, it pays off on game days. That's how he breaks those tackles and shoestring tackles. It's being able to not be tackled by one man—that's what A.J's got, too."
On secondary plays:
"Just confidence. I feel like we gain confidence as a unit and you can see we got a big play on the first drive, which led to a touchdown. So, just confidence and believing in each other and believing that if we make a mistake, we'll come back with the play and things like that. It feels great when things play out because we've struggled in that category for so long. Like I said, it feels good to step up as leaders and come together and just communicate and play the way we know how to play."
Junior quarterback Nathan Rourke (Oakville, Ontario, Canada)
On practicing in the cold:
"I think when we learned that we're practicing outside it's not always people's favorite thing to hear, but I thinks good. It's good to practice in a game environment. I think it definitely benefitted us."
On the physical toll on offense:
"I got that feeling a lot this year. Our front five were extremely experienced and physical when they get out there on the football field, it just happens. When they get on a roll and they get big boosts of confidence with the things upfront I think that just really opens up so much and it really deflates the defense when they realize that we've been running downhill at times."
On A.J.'s strong runs:
"Offensively speaking, we show a guy that's working extremely hard for every yard. That trickles down to the rest of the offense. The O-line sees a guy that they've worked really hard for and he's working for every inch. That speaks volumes and they're going to work hard for it. I think some of his really big-effort plays are a reflection of the hard work he puts in."
Buffalo Head Coach Lance Leipold
On allowing over 400 yards defensively on the ground:
"They executed really well. We tackled terribly, like I told the team, it's on me. We were out coached and completely out played. And disappointing, but that's a good football team, we've been saying it all along. We did not play well in really any area. We had a few flashes. We got to own that, turn the page quickly, and get this group ready to play at Bowling Green."
On how the fumbles hurt the team after a big run:
"We had three-straight possessions where we had turnovers, an ineligible man downfield on a big first down,we lose momentum. It started off looking like it was almost like it was going to be the Miami game. It was going to be a lot of scoring back and forth early in the game, we lost the momentum and they never broke stride. We just didn't come out and play well in a lot of areas. And we just didn't tackle well. I'm afraid to look at what that will be when we grade the film, how many missed tackles we had. In execution, a lot of areas were down. Disappointing day for sure"
On no time to feel sorry for yourself (or the team):
"No, and that's what we just talked about. We got to own what's on the film and try to get better. In game number 12 of the year, you got to know what's left in the tank if you want to try for a conference championship, especially if don't play like the team we played like tonight. We got to bounce back, but again: I love this team and I love what they're about and the resilience of what they'll be, I'm confident they'll have a good week of preparation."
On Ohio's rushing:
"Schematically, they did some really nice things early in the game. Even just the simple speed option stuff, you know. If it was one thing, it would have been simple. But it's a different thing every time: where we were at and where we were fighting things off in the right gap. I can't tell you everything in this moment, but it must be better. Obviously, two times with some type of option scheme, we were very poor and of course that play action stuff starts really taking hold and they got guys running open."
Buffalo Senior Linebacker Khalil Hodge
On the direction of the game after the early lead:
"Well, Ohio is a great team and they had a great scheme and we just didn't do what we needed to do this week. As a defense, we didn't execute the game plan Coach had for us. "
On how to fix the number of rushing yards against defense:
"Starting tomorrow, looking at the film and correcting our mistakes and from there onto Bowling Green. This is a MAC Championship or bust game for us and it has to be taken seriously and such."
On not feeling sorry for yourself with biggest game of the season next week:
"Definitely. Like you said, were still in. It's our mindset, and it's the playoff mentality now and that's how we are going to approach this week. I promise you, as a defense, as a team, Buffalo will be a lot better next week."
On what Ohio did to take control of the game:
"I'm not really sure when, but they came out with more sparkle than we did. We came out flat, and we just didn't handle business correctly. Plain and simple. They didn't do anything out of the ordinary, or anything like that. We just didn't execute and make plays when we needed to."
On being in a must win situation:
"Just like Coach Leipold said just now. Next week is really going to show what this team is all about. I think with our senior leader group, we're going to come out and handle our business. I feel like offense and defense can get this thing in the right direction and play like we've played all year and get a big win."
On his role is as a team leader:
"To lead, to be a captain, to be a senior, and to understand that all of our goals are in front of us. We have to watch film, flush this, and get ready for Bowling Green.:"
On the outcome of tonight?
"I feel like with this team, were going to take the loss as a bargain. Like I said, Ohio is a great team and they came out and they executed. They made plays and we didn't."
On Ohio's running game:
"There was nothing particular, we just didn't execute well. We practiced all week, plain and simple. Didn't execute."
Buffalo Junior Quarterback Tyree Jackson
On the reaction to the game:
"We just didn't play well. It's that simple. I'll take full responsibility for it, I didn't play well. We just didn't play well at all. It's tough, but we got to get ready for the Bowling Green game. I mean, they're a great team and it hurts. It definitely hurts. It's been a while since we've lost, and we haven't lost a lot. We just got to know how this feels."
On the first drive:
"We were doing what we wanted, and things were going well. They played great, I mean they came out hungry and they played hard. We didn't help our defense much tonight. They had 52 points or whatever they had, but we did not help them a lot on offense. Like I said, I'll take responsibility for that."
On his fumble:
"Just stuff wasn't happening tonight. I don't know, I've probably made that run a million times in my life and the ball just popped out for whatever reason. He hit me from behind and it just popped out, and like I said, I got to be better, either better ball security or making better decisions to get down after a long run. So, that's on me."
On next week's game:
"Yeah, we have a great group of leaders in that locker room. Those guys are unbelievable and it's such a blessing to play with them. Everyone understands what's at stake next week, and we're going to go in prepared and ready for that."
On being in a must-win situation
"It's football in November, it's what you sign up for. You want to be a part of these must-win games, we got to be ready and excited for Bowling Green. They have good athletes and a good team, and we can't take them lightly."