Oct. 7, 2006
Head Coach Frank Solich
On the win today:
"It feels great. You are always striving the win. You're always doing everything you can for the win, but if that win doesn't come, then you have to go onto the next one and do everything you can to get ready. We would not have fallen apart if we did not get this win. We would have been able to continue to push forward and been a good football team, but it is obvious that it was a huge win for us. I appreciate the way the players handled the week. It is a tough enough game when you get beat down physically. We played some very good teams on the road three games in a row, and when you get beat down mentally, and with those two things coming at you, it's pretty tough. Our players did a great job responding this week, getting focused, and did what they had to do to come together.
On Chris Garrett's punt return:
"It was big for a lot of reasons. To come out and show some life and show some energy and put some points on the board quick, that was something on the back of our mind. I wanted to try to get a fast start and get some points on the board, and what a great way to do it. He is developing into one of the best punt returners in the country. There is obviously great punt returners around, but from what we are seeing week after week now is that we are causing some bad punts because guys are trying to punt away from him. He has given us great field position. It was huge to get that first touchdown on the board and give us some life on the sideline.
On today's fan support:
"I think they (the players) were thankful. They went over to the student section for the few that remained at the end of the game. It was a gesture to thank them for hanging with them and being here. Then they went over to the band with that same understanding that there are people here with us that showed up. It is easy to show up when you are a top-10 team in the country and people will pack in. It is pretty easy when you're winning and winning. When you have some adversity, it is not that easy. It is those fans that still come when you are faced with all that, and that's what those fans are all about."
On the special teams for both teams:
"Special teams were huge today in determining the outcome of the game. Chris' touchdown stands out, but there were some great kickoffs on both sides, field goals by Lasher, and the block came into play. The punting game, Lasher did a great job in hanging the ball up and preventing returns. They have a great kick return game and you kind of hold your breath sometimes. We used three or four different types of kicks that enabled us to keep them off balance a little bit, so there are so many different facets that came into play today in the kicking game for both teams."
On Austen Everson's run:
"The guys on the offensive staff, Tim (Albin) and his guys, obviously saw what they were doing, and that this was something they could get done. The timing of that call could not have been any better. They are a kind of team that can wear you down. You can tell that at the end of the game we were tired out there. They are big and athletic and their backs keep pounding you, and so in the end they're capable of making a lot of plays on you that maybe early on your guys could respond to better. You are always concerned about it, but we went in there with the same mentality. We would pound the ball and try to get the running game going. At the end we had a tired football team, and I don't know if they were or not, but we still battled. Get that and not have to allow them to have one last shot and that big run was huge like a number of big plays we had in the game."
On whether or not they felt the game slipping away when WMU reached the 15-yard line in the fourth quarter:
"Certainly you are a little more confident when it is 14-0 in the middle of the game. You are a little more confident when you just come off of a long drive. When they have the ball and its within one or two plays that will make a difference, you're concerned, but it is certainly not a lack of confidence. You know you're in a battle, and you know that a game is going to come down to a few plays at the end. I think we are a confident football team, and I think we have played this year and believing in ourselves. Last week's game we didn't have the spark to get it done, but every other time we lined up this year I felt good about the energy levels that our team had. It's obvious that a few plays right at the end made the difference. I don't know if you are ever truly confident about the outcome other than knowing that your players are going to play hard and they are going to do everything they can to make plays.
On the rushing attack today:
"They are an excellent defensive football team and when you average 7.1 yards per carry like we did this ball game, that's huge. You are talking about being able to control the ball, talking about being able to get field position from the running game. You're talking about time running off the clock because you are able to run the football game. We didn't want to just have the game slowed down by a lot of throws and incomplete passes because they are just too good of a football team. We wanted to try to establish the ground game and mix in some throws. There is a reason they are leading the MAC and have to be ranked in the country averaging four sacks a game, and they are leading the country in turnover ratio. Those were two things we knew we had to do well in this ball game."
Western Michigan Head Coach Bill Cubit
On the offense in second quarter:
"We went into the second quarter just saying keep playing, and let the other team make mistakes. We just didn't get everyone in synch in the first quarter. Right off the bat we were behind 14 to nothing. I think we came in there at halftime, we hadn't played real well, we had some issues and we missed a field goal when we could have given ourselves a chance. Every time there was something that looked like it was going to be something positive, we didn't get it done. So, we have to do a lot of corrections on the team."
Quarterback Ryan Cubit
"It was just little mistakes here and there. You know, we lost by seven. Our coaches just said that we lost by seven given the fact that we made a lot of mistakes on special teams offensively and everywhere, all across the board. I give credit to them (Ohio). They came out ready to play even though they've been riding on a couple of losses, and we just didn't play up to our abilities."
On the turnovers:
"It makes all the difference in the world. Obviously, if you have a lot of turnovers, you have to overcome it, and we overcame it a little bit but not enough to win."
On the final drive:
"We were at about 1:30 left and we said `Hey, we're not going to stop fighting.' That's something this team never does. We never stop fighting. We never quit and we're going to play until the end."