“For a rivalry football game, that was definitely one to watch. I want to congratulate Coach Fitz [Fitzgerald] and that team upstate. They played well and good enough to win. I’m sorry for the senior class because I wanted them to be as successful as they possibly could and win the last two football games, especially their last game at Zuppke [Field]/Memorial [Stadium]. There’s a lot of tears in that locker room. There’s a lot of understanding that they’ve done a lot for this football team this year. As we talked to each one of those guys, we talked about what they’ve done for this football team – at least bringing an attitude of competing and the attitude of making this program better in everything they do. Each one of those young men put their lives into this last year to try to build this program that was at the bottom. They did a great job this year of competing and pushing this football team to be the best that they could possibly be. We fell short in a couple football games, there’s no question, but I’m very proud of the way that those seniors led this football team, and we’ll continue to push those younger players to push this football team further.”
On Nathan Scheelhaase’s interception in the fourth quarter
“I think he was just trying to make a play and throw it out of bounds, and it didn’t get out. When you talk about turnovers in the football game, that was definitely one that they had and we didn’t have and it ended up being part of the factor in the football game.”
On the bond between QB Nathan Scheelhaase and WRs Miles Osei, Steve Hull and Ryan Lankford
“You’re talking about guys who have been together for a long time, that have lived together, been in weddings together, you name it. I’ll tell you what, it’s been an honor to coach them. Being the head football coach here, understanding that to those young men, it means a lot to them. It meant a lot to try to push this football team with the youth that we have. They’re like father figures to be honest with you to a bunch of young players. As I told them, they will be repaid by the way that this football team is going to continue to progress.”
On Northwestern kicking a field goal right before halftime
“We weren’t able to move the football coming out of the red zone. We had to punt the football, and it wasn’t a very good punt. They ended up hitting us with a strike and then kicking three points. You know it was a swing there. There’s no question about that, but I was proud of how the team came out in the second half and put the ball in the end zone immediately and competed right back. But those are three points that are crucial in the football game right now. We can all see that, and then the missed field goal – we missed a field goal too – you can’t do those types of things and beat a good football team, which they were in my opinion.”
All quotes are from fightingillini.com.
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