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Oct. 29, 2011
#28 Drew Astorino
Q: Can you talk about the defense and how important getting turnovers was?
A: They were phenomenal all game. It was horrible weather, freezing cold, but they're always huge, especially for the defense.
Q: What does winning a type of game like this do for you guys?
A: It takes a lot out of you. I'm just about spent, but it's huge. We're 5-0 now in the Big Ten. We were predicted to win two games I think, so we're riding high. We have a bye week now which is nice because we're a little banged up, we'll get refreshed and then go to work again.
Q: For you, what was it like watching the 80 yard drive after all the times you had given the
offense chances and then they make the big one at the end?
A: We needed one out of them, just one. Matt (McGloin), a couple big catches by our receivers, Si's (Redd) is running hard every game all game, they punched it in when we really needed them to. I guess that's all that matters.
Q: Did it surprise you to see (Derek) Moye on the field when you guys needed something to
A: Was I surprised? No, not really. I didn't know his exact status, but I wasn't too surprised.
#31 Brad Bars
So./Fr., Defensive End
Q: What happened on that blocked kick?
A: Well, we've been practicing blocks all week in practice with Coach (Ron Vanderlinden) and we had a left block on. What we do is, we try to double the guy on the left, and we got penetration so we decided to get our hands up. We knew that the offense needed a spark, so we were just trying to provide that for them and give them good field position.
Q: Through the first half you guys were getting there the whole time. Did you think that could
actually happen at one point?
A: Yeah, we actually called it a few times - a couple safe returns. But we were like, "give us a block, give us a block," because we felt like we could get there. Coach had confidence in us and he let us do that.
Q: What does it mean to you to make that kind of play this early in your Penn State career?
A: I'm just trying to help the seniors and the older guys get this win. We're off to a great start, 8-1, and we're just doing our jobs on the punt return team. We're just doing what we're taught and going hard every play.
Q: What all units do you play on special teams? When you can make a play on that does it show
everybody that when you come here you can still contribute on special teams?
A: What I'm trying to do is prove to them that they can trust me on special teams before they get me out there on the defensive side. I'm trying to prove they can rely on my on kick-off return, punt return, and sometimes on kick-offs. I'm really just trying to prove to them that they can trust me and be out there 10- 15 plays a game and help the team.
#34 Nate Stupar
Q: Can you talk about the big plays you guys made?
A: As a whole defense, we always strive for turnovers. We always have different ones, like three or four, and we say `two more could put this game away.' Just like any other week, this week we had a lot of turnovers and made big plays. Our turnovers really push the whole game. It is completely different for the whole game because when you have turnovers, it changes the whole game. It changes the momentum and everything. I'm so glad our defense made big plays.
Q: What do you think of Gerald Hodges making all of those tackles today?
A: I heard he had (19). I'm so glad for him. He got a nice strip, too, that fumble recovery. He is an amazing player and an amazing athlete. I give all the credit to him. He had a great game and the defense as a whole unit did amazing. We had sacks, interceptions and fumble recoveries. Overall, I think we did awesome.
Q: What did you think of defending Illinois' quarterbacks?
A: It's funny because we were expecting a lot of options from (Nathan Scheelhasse and Reilly O'Toole). That's what they did last year. We only got one or two plays for options. So, we were putting different stuff together during the game and just manned up and played defense.
Q: Was the ending to this game exciting for you?
A: Definitely, it came down to the last play. Awesome game. Offense finally stepped it up and pushed it down the field and made a crucial last drive and got a touchdown. Defense held them off; a missed field goal and we got the win.
#2 Chaz Powell
Q: What were you thinking as the last field goal attempt by Illinois was leaving the kicker's foot?
A: To be honest with you, I wasn't even looking. I was just praying to God that he was going to miss it. I was hoping we were going to block it, but he shanked it and hit the post.
Q: What did it feel like when the ball hit the upright?
A: Everything goes blank to be honest with you. It is like, `Did we really win that game?'; going back and forth, up and down the field, struggling the whole time. They played a great game. I give real credit to Illinois. I give the credit to our guys, too. We stepped up as seniors right at the end to get everybody in the game just to make sure that everybody is tuned in to what we were about to do.
Q: How do you describe how everything is working out today?
A: We're finding ways to win. We're working hard each and every day in practice. We're striving to try to be the best team to ever come through here. Right now, we're on pace. We're 8-1. We've got a bye week coming up and take a couple of days off, watch film and get ready for Nebraska.
Q: Does it bother you that some people are still questioning how good this team is?
A: That's motivation for us. If people don't believe in us, we're going to believe in ourselves. We only play for ourselves. We don't play for anybody else but ourselves.
#6 Gerald Hodges
Q: I think at some point before the fourth quarter even started you had 16 tackles. Is that something that you keep track of mentally?
A: I definitely don't try to keep track of that. I just go out there and when I get a chance to make a play, I try to make it. I just happened to be around the ball. A lot of them came off of hustle tackles where I ran across the field to make a play. I definitely don't try to count them though.
Q: You had 14 tackles last week. Did you think you would have another career-high?
A: I came into this game knowing that they run a lot to the fill side. I play on the weak side. I definitely think I would come out of the game with 19 tackles. That career-high, that's crazy to have that many tackles in a game. Definitely, playing on the weak side you would not think you would have that many tackles, but when you are around the ball that happens.
Q: Why do you think you got so many tackles today?
A: I just hustled and was around the ball. They were mostly on hustle plays. I was running down the field and on the opposite side of the field.
Q: The game seems to have really slowed down for you and that may be why you have really
improved. Is there any way that you can describe that or put it into words?
A: I am just able to break down the defense and make pre-snap reads to set which gap I am supposed to have and see what my responsibility is that play. Before, I was going out and trying to play on instinct. Once you get the defense down and study the offense it makes it way easier and way slower. You know what is coming.
#90 Sean Stanley
Jr./Jr., Defensive End
Q: With the offense struggling, how much pressure was on the defense?
A: Every draw we try to go out there and try to stop the offense. We try to get good field position for the offense.
Q: What does (Gerald) Hodges bring to the defense?
A: His speed is what makes him so great because he's pretty much free every play and he just gets to run it down. He's great at containing the ball and using speed to get there.
Q: What were the doing on that last drive that they weren't doing throughout the game?
A: They did a good job at keep pounding the ball and they stay with the running game to get it finally got them down the field.
Q: How do you contain a guy like (Nathan) Scheelhaase?
A: It took all of our full front four and the linebackers. You just have to keep an eye on him. You're going to have to let him get a couple yards. You can't just sit there and spy on him the whole game. I think we did a pretty good job.
#47 Jordan Hill
Jr./Jr., Defensive Tackle
Q: Taking the field, a minute left. What's going through your head?
A: It felt like Iowa over again. It felt like Temple over again. We were like `This drive we either stop them and win the game or we don't and they win.' So it's been like preparation. Each time we go through those circumstances it's just going to make us better and build confidence that we know we're going to go out there and try and stop them. That field goal felt like it took an hour. The ball seemed to be just hanging there. Then we were jumping around like little kids and having a good time.
Q: When they were moving the ball at the end, were you getting scared?
A: They were definitely. I know for myself I was just like, `What's going on?' We aren't used to somebody moving the ball on us that easily. We stepped up when we needed to and came away with a win.
Q: it seemed like they were running the same plays over and over again. How did you deal with
A: We stopped a couple of their plays early and they noticed that they couldn't run certain plays that they have been practicing because of the weather conditions. They couldn't do much with their option. They were given the option of (Nathan) Scheelhaase keeping the ball or handing it off. (Jason) Ford had a couple of successful runs. I don't know what he ended up with but we did our best with it.
Q: How does it feel being 5-0 in the Big Ten heading into a bye week?
A: It feels great. I haven't felt this type of vibe since I've been here. The seniors are comparing it to 2008 when they had a really good year and went to the Rose Bowl. And just being 5-0 going into the bye week is huge and then having our last home game that week after, playing Nebraska. You couldn't ask for more. We're just really excited that this ship is moving and we have to keep rolling.
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