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Nov. 1, 2009
Head Coach Joe Paterno
On if Penn State made adjustments in the second half...
"The adjustment we made is their quarterback got hurt."
On how big of a turning point NU quarterback Mike Kafka's injury was...
"Big. Kafka's a heckuva a football player, but we played a little more aggressively in the second half, [and] did a better job with the pass rush, regardless of whether Kafka was in there or some other kid. So I think we played better defensively in the second half. I don't think we had quite realized how good they are offensively and it took us some time to speed up the tempo."
On if he was disappointed with the special teams and the dropped passes in the first half...
"Well, you're going to have some dropped passes, but no, not disappointed. You're going to have days like that, and when you have them you're going to have to be able to overcome them. I was pleased in the second half when they came out and they were all business. But again, I think you need to understand that when their quarterback is out all of a sudden, that's a big loss for them."
On his team's character when after his team was down...
"They certainly hung in there, [and] didn't panic at halftime. I thought they did a good job."
On the stretch in the fourth quarter when they scored three touchdowns in four minutes...
"Well we were disappointed. We got one, and then we got the long one, and we were just trying to tell the defense to stop them and not give them an easy one. See if we can get one more turnover, and we were just playing the game. I don't have time to think about what's happening."
On some uncharacteristic mistakes in the first half...
"Absolutely, I think there were some mistakes made. We had taken a big hit with the punting coverage team or the return team, I forget which one we had the 12 (men) on there. He had forgotten he was tagged and taken off. When [Stephfon] Green got hurt we had to start playing [Brandon] Beachum more at halftime, and we took him off some kicking teams. And he had been on and he caught up in the game. He's a competitor."
On the importance of Daryl Clark to the offense...
"I think Daryl is the leader of the offensive football team. I think when things are going well, he was fine. He had that great throw that was dropped. That would have been a touchdown, which was really a great throw. So he is a guy that makes us go."
On the defensive changes made once Dan Persa, the backup quarterback, entered the game...
"We did a couple of aggressive stunts that we wouldn't have probably done with the other kid. The other kid got rid of the ball so fast. He's a fifth-year kid and those kids all know how to play because that 85 (Zeke Markshausen) and the other kid, they've played a lot of football and they anticipate. He (Kafka) threw a couple of passes where we were in pretty good coverage, we just couldn't get there. The timing was too good but I think we did pretty well, really. Against him, I knew we were going to give up a lot of five-, six-, seven-yarders. I was a little disappointed, I don't think we tackled well enough. We missed some tackles and we had been stressing it all week. The thing that I was impressed with when I watched the tapes is the fact that when they caught the ball, they were upfield right away. And if you didn't get there, they make you miss. You've got to get a buddy to come over and help you."
Running Back Evan Royster
On the Northwestern run defense...
"They were stacking the box and we were able to throw the ball. It's kind of like the first two games of the season. They really stacked the box so we were able to go against their [defensive backs], get some matchups that we liked and take advantage. "
On whether the Northwestern defense was deflated by the two consecutive PSU touchdowns...
"I don't think so. They were playing hard throughout the game. That's the one thing. Even after getting down two quick touchdowns, they still came out and played hard. It's a big credit to them. To get down like that in the second half, it's tough to get yourself to come back."
Linebacker Sean Lee
On scoring two unanswered touchdowns...
"It was big for us. The momentum went our way after that and the offense made big plays. I think a lot of that was [Northwestern quarterback Mike] Kafka not being in. He's their leader. He's their guy that gets them going. And I think once we were able to make some plays like that, it kind of stalled them."
Quarterback Daryll Clark
On the frustration of the first half of the game...
"It was a little frustrating, you know, but some games you're going to have it that way. It's important that whenever we had opportunities in the second half, that we took advantage of them. I think the drive that we had to tie the football game was very important, that we didn't end up with a field goal and instead got six points."
On what coach Joe Paterno said to him on the field after the game...
"He called to me and told me that this was a good win. We've got our big one next week. We all laughed about it and what not. He said that it was a bit frustrating at first, but we answered the call. We answered to adversity this week and he was proud of us."
On the two consecutive Penn State touchdowns...
"We noticed that there were a couple of voids in the defense. We knew it was just a matter of when the players were going to be called for us to run it. We got that call. For the whole game, we took what they gave us. We knew there would be a big play for us, like the one up top to Derek Moye. We saw something in the corner that he was doing all game. He bit on a double move so that was clutch for us. In the run play, our offensive line fired off, got the guys helmet-to-helmet. Evan [Royster] made one call and he was gone."
Northwestern Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald
"Before we get started talking about the game today, I'd like to lift our thoughts and prayers up, we lost a Wildcat today. Steve Reid, who was a guard of ours from 1934 to '36, one of our team captains of the '36 Big Ten Championship team and an NU and College Football Hall of Fame inductee, died of natural causes at the age of 94. He was also a long-time NU team physician, so we'd like to lift Steve Reid and his family up in our thoughts and our prayers. Transitioning to the game, for three quarters we gave ourselves an opportunity to compete to win. In the last 15 minutes we gave up too many big plays and didn't move the football. So at that point, there weren't a whole lot of answers besides us not executing and us not doing the things we needed to do both coaching- and playing-wise. We've got to find a way to finish, we've got to find a way to get the plays made that we need to make in the crunch time. The credit goes to Penn State because they did, and we didn't." On the injury of quarterback Mike Kafka...
"We just had to pick up the flag and move on, and I think that Danny [Persa] did, but at a certain point in the game, when it became a two-score game, they were pinning their ears back. We need to do a better job as coaches to give our O-line a chance at some rush control and we didn't do a great job of that on a couple drives, but I thought we did toward the end of the game."
On the play of Dan Persa...
"I thought he was running for his life a bunch of the fourth quarter. I think he went out there and made some plays. We'll take a look at the video to see if he missed some shots, but I thought Danny competed hard and gave us a chance. We have a pretty good idea of what Danny's strengths are, and we were comfortable with both guys being able to execute our entire game plan. Danny has played well for us before, and he's been in a lot of games. It's not like its his first time out there. Our expectation around here is to control one thing, being prepared for the opportunity. You can't control when it's going to happen. I was proud of the way Danny went in there. There was no doubt he was ready to go. Unfortunately, it just looked like we didn't make any plays. We'll take a look at the way we called it and the way we executed it, and find a way to get better this week at practice as we get ready to head out to Iowa City."
On the play of the secondary...
"Well it looked like on a couple of plays they attacked our flats, and I don't know if we were getting out too fast, and weren't trusting our technique and trusting ourselves. Then on the one long pass, they just ran boot, more half-field coverage, we've got to get off the hash and go cover the guys. Credit to them, they made the plays. Good for them."
On the team's execution...
"We need to go make some plays. That was a good football team we played. There's a lot of good football teams in this league, but you've got to go out there and make plays, end of discussion. If you want to win games, it's about big plays, execution, and playing physical and you have to do it for 60 minutes. Right now, as a coaching staff, we are not getting our guys to do that consistently enough, and that's on us."
On the team's play before Kafka's injury...
"When Mike was in there, I don't think they stopped us once. We stopped ourselves a couple times. I thought we had a good plan and were executing it pretty well. At some point there we kind of lost our momentum offensively, and lost our edge and attitude, and we've got to get that back, in game. I thought we lost our attitude, and when you lose your attitude, you lose your stinger and you lose your physicality."
Northwestern Player Quotes
Kicker Stefan Demos
On the punt that resulted in a first down was a designed fake.. "I just dropped the snap, that one was kind of messing with me a little bit. I have to catch that ball. Mark [Woodsum] did a really good job adjusting to that play and I was able to get a little shovel pass off, but that was the farthest thing from a called fake."
On the change of momentum in the game...
"We played a great game for three quarters, but that's just not enough to win a Big Ten game against a team like Penn State. The momentum definitely changed in the fourth quarter after a couple big plays. Penn State did a great job taking advantage of our mistakes so I give credit to them, but we fully expected to win that game. We just have to make a couple extra plays to win a game like that."
Safety Brad Phillips
On the fourth quarter...
"We just didn't do our job in the fourth quarter. Penn State took advantage of it when we didn't do our job and they made plays. I feel like a broken record because that is what has been happening to us in games; we've been close and teams have taken advantage of us when we haven't done our jobs properly"
On Penn State's offense...
"Watching on film, they run zone, run counter, run power and then they try to get you with the play action. They run simple routes. We just have to do our job in the fourth quarter and finish."
On the state of the defense...
"I don't think there was any fatigue in the fourth quarter. I think our attitude might have dropped a little bit after that first big play, but I just think it came down to us not doing our job in the fourth quarter and finishing the game like we should have."
Quarterback Dan Persa
On replacing Kafka...
"I tried to just do my best in the situation and play as hard as I could. Obviously I didn't play well enough to get the win and that's really all that matters. [Mike Kafka] just told me to stay cool and just keep playing. He might have gone in for an emergency situation if I had gone down, but I think he knew that he wasn't going in for the rest of the game."
On his biggest challenges as quarterback...
"Right now it's probably seeing or knowing where exactly the blitz will come from. Sometimes I have an idea, but I need to do a better job of anticipating it. Another thing I have to do is throw the ball away and not take big sacks. A lot of times, on first and second down, normal downs, I would take a big sack and put us behind the chains. It's tough to convert 3rd-and-15, 3rd-and-10 plus." Penn State Quotes
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