Postgame Quotes: #3 Ohio State 42, Michigan 41

Nov. 30, 2013

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Michigan Head Coach Brady Hoke

On Michigan's effort to get into a position where one play would have won it ... "We talked about it all week. We've got to play our best football. We also want to take the game into the fourth quarter. The fourth quarter we got it there and thought the kids played awfully hard the entire day, and in the fourth quarter we played even better."

On going for two points and if he thought about it during that last drive ... "No, like I said, we weren't doing a good job slowing them down. We wanted to go win the football game."

On the mental edge Michigan seemed to have ... "I would say that it started on Monday. The way they practiced Monday morning at 6 a.m., how they have competed, and they've done this all year. But this is a special game. I mean, it is the greatest rivalry there is in any sport. They know the importance of it. I liked their demeanor all week. I liked how they handled practice, how they were in watching tape. How they were trying to get better and know their opponent. So I was pleased with that and had a good feeling that they were going to play the way they did today."

On what he attributes quarterback Devin Gardner's improved play to ... "If I knew, we wouldn't have had some of the things that went on. You know, he's a kid. I think he's learning. I think he's learning how to be a Michigan quarterback. I think that's a daily thing. You know, he's beat up like everybody is, and that's when he was limping a little bit, and I said I don't want to see you limp. I said every guy out here could limp. We've got to go play, and he did that. I'm proud of him."

On what he takes from a game U-M was not given much hope to win ... "Well, I think there are a lot of positives and a lot of negatives you can take out of it. From a player standpoint, I think there are a lot of positives. But how guys did and how they performed, I think they learned maybe a little bit more about themselves. The negatives are when you don't execute, you don't protect -- we've got to still keep improving in all those areas."

On playing for 60 minutes as a team and if he feels U-M played as a team completely ... "I'd like to say yes and think we did. I think we played that way. But did we play well enough on defense against the run? No. Not even close. We complemented each other well. The offense responded, got us over some negatives."

On the play of the tight ends today ... "Some of it is planned, but there are also some things that we thought if Devin (Gardner) could continue to have a little bit more time, things would kind of come open a little bit. Jake (Butt) down the middle of the field; there wasn't anybody around him. But Devin made a little time, made a little space. So that's part of what happens. I think Jake Butt continued to grow, continued to get better. I was much more pleased with A.J. Williams' blocking today. I thought he really has made some steps in a year, let's put it that way. But, yeah, the tight ends are a big part of it. Now what's the function, tight end or wide receiver? He's a little bit of both."

Fifth-year Senior Offensive Tackle Taylor Lewan

On the team's effort today with everybody clicking ... "I think to be honest with you, we were the only ones that knew what was going to happen today. We knew we were going to take it to the fourth quarter. We were ready to fight. Everyone was fighting for each other. I'm proud of these guys."

On Coach Hoke's decision to go for two points at the end ... "Ohio State's head coach called timeout. We went over, and he asked us as seniors, 'Do you want to go for it?' and I don't think there was one guy that said no. Every single person said yes. We were behind the coaches 100 percent. We fight for them and our brothers."

On the play of rookies De'Veon Smith and Jake Butt ... "I was proud of them. I mean, it's a team sport. When a guy's number gets called, we have to step up. That's what we do every single time. My name was called as a freshman; you're expected to play at the Michigan level, not as a freshman. I'm proud of those guys. This team will be a Big Ten championship team before you know it."

On why he thought Michigan could hang with Ohio State today ... "Because we're Michigan. It doesn't matter what our record is. It doesn't matter what happened in the past few years. We're the winningest program in college football, and that's how it is. As long as coach is there, that's how it's going to be. I don't care about fair weather fans or the media or anything like that. All I care is about the people in that room. I could care a less if there were 110,000 Ohio State fans in there. This team knew what we were going to do today, and we knew we were going to fight."

On quarterback Devin Gardner's performance despite not looking like he is at 100 percent ... "None of us are a hundred percent. No one is a hundred percent in the 14th, 15th week of the season. No one's going to feel healthy. It's who wants to fight. Who is going to keep crawling, who is going to keep scratching even when you're knocked down a little bit. That's what these guys do. That's what they keep doing no matter what."

On the lasting impression everyone should take from this team today ... "I think the lasting impression you should take from Brady Hoke's team is these guys are going to fight no matter what. We're bred to fight. We'll fight, claw, scratch, get knocked down, but we'll keep moving forward no matter what. That is what it's all about. That is what this team is all about. We got knocked down a couple times this year, but we kept going no matter what. We could have easily rolled over and died against the No. 3 team in the country. We kept going, kept fighting, kept moving every time."

On the Michigan football program ... "This is the best program to be in. This is the most exciting program to be in. If you want to come to a place where there's family and you feel comfortable around everybody and you can bond with your best friends, there is no better place."

U-M Senior/Junior Linebacker Jake Ryan

On Coach Hoke's decision to go for two points at the end ... "It's a game. We want to win. I mean, that's what we were thinking. That's what Coach Hoke was thinking, and we're always going to stick with him."

On what made OSU so tough to stop in the second half ... "We had to definitely improve on our run game. I think that was one thing that stuck out. Carlos Hyde was a real good downhill runner, Braxton Miller, dual-threat quarterback, did really well both ways. I think that's one thing we just need to improve on."

On this being the seniors final home game ... "It's not how we wanted it to turn out. This one was for our seniors. But as Taylor (Lewan) said, this team is so close-knit and so together that every single person is like a brother. There is no better experience than playing here with these coaches. You have no idea what these coaches have turned this program into. It's unbelievable."

U-M Fifth-Year Wide Receiver Jeremy Gallon

On the team's spirited performance ... "All week in practice, we brought intensity that we had never seen before. We focused on every task that we had to focus on. We limited our mistakes and came out ready to play. Even in our walk-through this morning, everybody was ready to play. We were focused on playing our game and that's what we came out here to do."

On the big plays made by young players ... "They just understood what it was. It's Michigan versus Ohio (State). It's not even a game; it's a war. They understood that and they played to that level."

On the emotions of his last game at home ... "I was playing for my seniors, this guy (Devin Gardner) and Team 134 -- for everybody that came to support us. It was emotional for me because I wanted to win so badly. I wanted to play my best for these guys and I always play with a chip on my shoulder. I left everything out on the field. It was emotional for me and I'm sure everyone else felt and played the same way."

On approaching the single-season receiving record ... "I just want to play football and worry about my next game. I want to worry about the next game and do whatever I can to help my team come out with the win. The stats really don't matter to me. I just really love playing football. Whatever happens, happens."

U-M Senior/Junior Quarterback Devin Gardner

On the final play ... "Coach asked us if we wanted to go for it and everybody said yes. We ran a two-point play we've run in practice, and they got a jump on it and intercepted the ball."

On why the team wanted to go for two instead of taking their chances in overtime ... "We felt like we could win the game right there."

On what the team saw in film and practice that helped them with their game plan ... "We felt like we could take advantage of the outside -- with their corners and our receivers -- and that opened up the run game and vice versa, being able to run the ball opened up the pass game. That's what we saw, so we just went out and executed as best as we could."

On what can be learned about this team based on today's performance ... "What I've always known ... this is a team that fights and fights. We just came up short today."

U-M Senior Linebacker Cam Gordon

On his evaluation of his longtime friend and teammate Devin Gardner this year ... "He's done a tremendous job. Seeing him at practice and the enthusiasm that he brings and the way he is motivating guys and bringing guys along and how he performed today, I take my hat off to him. He did a great job today even though we didn't come out with the win. I feel like he really proved a lot of people wrong."

On Coach Hoke's post game message ... "It's always unacceptable to lose to Ohio (State), and I feel a lot of his emotions came from us as seniors and Coach Hoke really wants to send us out on a good note. He always stresses to play for our seniors."

On the mood in the locker room and what can be said about the team moving forward, especially offensively ... "(The future is) bright, both offensively and defensively. Offensively, I feel a lot of people didn't think they were going to perform the way they did and I really feel like they shocked a lot of people. The defense did, too. The mood in the locker room, of course it was emotional. Any time you have seniors with their last game played in the Big House it's going to be emotional but at the same time, no regrets."

Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer

Opening statement ... "That was a classic game, I just want to congratulate our players. Someone asked a question about what means more, our 24th win in a row or our second straight win against our rival. No question, it's the second win against our rival. I want to give (Michigan) credit. They have great players and that was a battle. A great game, classic."

On Michigan's call for the two-point conversion ... "We were blown out on defense, playing guys too many plays. When I called timeout there were some deep breaths, they were struggling a little bit. I would have done the same thing, you go win the game right there -- no question. Both offenses were kind of in that unstoppable mode where you were changing the line of scrimmage, they were passing the ball with very high efficiency. We called timeout and let our guys take a deep breath, think about it and then stop them."

On Carlos Hyde ... "It starts with the offensive line, no question it starts with the offensive line and it finishes there. And right in between you have the two guys. When I say our offensive line that includes our tight end, he played very well. Carlos Hyde, I know at Boston College my friend Steve Addazio has his, but if we have a draft, I've got mine."

On the melee in the first half ... "I was disappointed in that, I don't know where that came from. We had a little chat about that and that's not acceptable."

On what past coaches would think about this game ... "I think Coach Schembechler and Coach Hayes -- the two coaches in the generation I was growing up -- would've looked out and seen two teams playing as hard as they possibly can which is what this rivalry is all about."

On Michigan's offense ... "They threw the ball -- we didn't get the normal pressure that we normally have. (Devin) Gardner is an excellent thrower. I'm not quite sure I saw the same thing from the past few games when he struggled. Early in the season, like against Indiana, he looked like he did against Indiana. But we've got to fix some things."

Junior Quarterback Braxton Miller

On his thoughts of Michigan going for two points ... "We practice that all the time on Sunday. They know what to do when that situation comes, and they handled it well. I had a little prayer to myself, and I believed in them."

On if he was surprised by the way the game went ... "Not at all. After watching film, I knew their defense was pretty good. Their defense played hard, and they had a good game plan. I think that was the best defense we've played."

On if he wanted to throw the ball more ... "Yeah. You know, obviously, you have the best offensive line in the country, why wouldn't you run behind them too? When you limit passing to a good coverage team, you have to run the ball and mix it up a little bit. We came out with the win."

On what it took to get a one-point victory ... "It was a good game. A good, hard-fought game. They didn't let up at all. The record they had didn't faze them at all. They came out to play. It's just a blessing to have 24 wins in a row."

On the mindset of the offense at the end of the game ... "We wanted to do what we did the last drive, just play hard and you never know. Things like that happen in the game and you have to understand that you have to be patient and not get too excited. You want to score quickly, but you have to be patient and play with the game plan."

Ohio State Junior Linebacker Ryan Shazier

On the emotions of the defense ... "At the beginning of the game, we were a little too hyped and had a little too much emotion. We started calming down and getting in control of ourselves and started capitalizing on mistakes they were making."

On what happened during the last time out ... "We just went over some stuff that they do on two-point conversions. Off film, we noticed they like to do that route. We got in the right coverage, and we practiced that all week. He made the play. We knew what was coming. It was that play or another one, so we were ready for it. To be honest, them running that play didn't make a difference. We just had to make the play when we had the opportunity. That's what made the difference, and we got the win. That's all that matters."

On if Michigan looked like the team they saw on film ... "They were like a different team. We knew that would happen. Every time we play a team, they're going to play at the top of their standards. They did what they had to do. That's why this is a rivalry; they felt like their record was 0-0, and our record was 0-0. They were just trying to get a win and get a W, so we just had to finish strong and get the win."

Ohio State Junior Tight End Jeff Heuerman

On what was said before the drive with five minutes to go ... "There wasn't a whole lot said. As a football player in that situation, you know what needs to be done. That's what we're trained for. We're trained for the hard moments in the last seconds and fighting to the very end. We all knew. There wasn't a big pep talk or anything. We looked at the scoreboard and knew what we needed to do. We ran the ball down the football down the field well. That's something special about this team, the way we can run the football. It obviously showed there at the end."

On the mood in the locker room ... "We didn't play our style of football in the first half. We were jawing too much and talking too much. We're a hard-nosed football team. We keep our mouth shut, we run the ball. We got a little out of that in the first half. That was the main focus, just have confidence in the guys around you and we'd get the job done."

Ohio State Senior Offensive Lineman Corey Linsley

On the fight ... "I just can't explain it in words. I couldn't believe it; I was in total and utter shock. That shouldn't happen in any game. I guess it's a consequence of the emotion, but both teams are better than that. The thing is that the media advertises the fights. We've seen it all the time, but really and truly, we're a more disciplined team than that, and they are a more disciplined team than that."

On how to get himself back on track after the fight ... "It took me a quarter and a half to get back. I think the offensive line played well. I'm not sure; I'll have to watch my film, because there are areas that I wasn't sure about. It took me a quarter and a half to get back, and I remember finally starting the fourth quarter I was over it. The pit in my heart was finally erased, and I came in and just saw Mark (Hall) crying, and I hugged him and said, 'We did it for you.'"

On their situation against Michigan ... "We prepared for that going in, and we got it. I'm sure both sides of the ball would have liked to play better. Our defense would have liked to defend the pass better, but we talk about it year in and year out, when it comes to winning this game it's rushing offense, turnovers and special teams that win the game. We played a good game on special teams except for that one kickoff. On the turnover battle I'm not sure what happened there. But from a rushing standpoint we out-rushed them, and we played our best game from that standpoint."

Ohio State Junior Wide Receiver Devin Smith

On if Michigan frustrated them in the passing game ... "We were open every single time, but sometimes the defense got to Braxton (Miller) a little quick. Some balls were underthrown or overthrown. I think overall, with us throwing the ball, we have thrown better than that in games, but if we needed to get open we could get open."

On the touchdown pass ... "I was doing that the whole game so I knew how I was going to go. Just from coming off the ball on run plays and beating them, I figured I could get them on the pass."

On going for the ball ... "He placed it right where it needed to be, and I just did the rest."

Ohio State Senior Offensive Lineman Andrew Norwell

On how important the upcoming game is ... "It's very important, it's for the Big Ten championship, and it's our first time being in the game, so I'm very excited."

On wrapping his mind around today's game ... "Yeah it's crazy. It was a great team win. Michigan played hard for 60 minutes, so it was a great win for us. The defense stopped them on the play, and it still hasn't hit me yet. Going 24-0 is an incredible experience right now."

On his accomplishments playing this game ... "It means a lot, and you do it for the guy next to you. You care about that guy next to you a lot, and you trust that he's going to do his job. Our whole line played well, and Carlos (Hyde) had a big game."

On Carlos Hyde's single-game record ... "He runs the ball hard, you don't have to worry about him, and he makes plays. We just do our job up front, and we have good chemistry."

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