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2004 FBL vs. Minnesota -- Postgame Quotes
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Michigan Head Coach Lloyd Carr

On the defensive effort ... "We gave up a big run in the first half and a big pass play that led to their second touchdown, but with those exceptions, an outstanding Minnesota football team, my hat goes off to them because they played as hard as you could ever want a team to play and they came in ready to play. If there is anything that represents all of the positive things in college football, that is what this game is today. It was a great football game and we are excited to win because of the trophy and obviously the Big Ten race. We made some mistakes out there and turned the football over that put the defense in really bad field position in the second half, yet they rallied and at halftime they weren't very happy with the way they played in terms of the big play. I though our coaches made great adjustments and that last drive was a thing of beauty. That last five or six minutes to go when we punted the ball and they hit the big pass it looked bleak, but we found a way to win it and that is all you can ask."

On the play of freshmen Chad Henne and Michael Hart ... "He (Henne) has gotten better every week. He had a couple interceptions today. On one of them he threw the deep pass to Braylon inside, he has to keep that ball outside, but I thought he was remarkable. When you consider where he was five weeks ago it tells you what he can be. Michael Hart is special too. Of course those guys really fought on both sides of the football."

On Rueben Riley ... "Rueben Riley replaced Leo Henige. Leo injured his knee a week ago in the Indiana game and will miss the rest of the season. That is what you need also -- you need guys who will step up and play the important role and that is the magic of teamwork. For me that is what this game is about."

On the offense ... "I thought our coaches on both sides of the football had a great game plan. When you look at offensively over 500 yards against a very good Minnesota defense, I think a lot of that was taking what the defense gave. I thought Terry (Malone, offensive coordinator) did a great job, the way we came out and moved the football, took the lead and opened the game up. That is what enabled us to run the football effectively. Today we threw it to set up the run. Our advantage in time of possession was unbelievable and that's due to the fact that we did run and pass the football. We had some great drives."

On the rushing defense in the second half ... "I think we really played a lot of guys on defense. I can't say that I felt we could shut Minnesota down, but I don't think there is a man on this football team that did not feel that our defense would play outstanding football. They got off to a good start and then midway through the first half, Minnesota had the long touchdown run and that took something out of us. What I liked is that we regrouped in the second half and played outstanding defense."

Junior Tight End Tyler Ecker

On the final game-winning drive ... "We were in the two-minute offense and we spread them out. The linebacker didn't see me leak out on the edge, so the flat was open. I caught the ball and no one was there, so I just ran in the end zone."

On preparing for Minnesota ... "We knew the game was going to come down to something like this. Minnesota is a great team and we knew it was going to come down to the last drive and we were prepared all week."

On the importance of the win ... "This is an amazing win. Minnesota came in undefeated and they're a terrific team. This will give us a big boost going into the next game."

On Chad Henne ... "He kept his poise. For a young quarterback, he's amazing. He put the ball on the money and led us down the field. I think he found everybody today. Tim (Massaquoi) caught three balls and I think I caught three, all of the receivers got a bunch."

On the team's confidence in Henne late in the game ... "We trust Chad. He's done a great job so far. This is why you come to Michigan. We have all the faith in the world in him."

On the play of Michael Hart ... "He's incredible, Mike played awesome. He ran the ball very effectively and caught the ball in the screens."

Freshman Running Back Michael Hart

On his play today ... "I just had to run hard. The line did a great job, but their safeties came down hard and I knew I had to pull my feet and get the extra yard."

On how he has grown in the past few weeks ... "I'm real comfortable in the huddle. I'm really not worried about the plays. Each week, I'm getting more and more reps. I feel real good in the huddle."

On preparing for Minnesota ... "They (the media) were talking about their two running backs the whole week. We knew we had to come out and earn some respect this week. The line did a great job, (Kevin) Dudley did a great job. It was definitely one of our focus points to come out and make a name for ourselves."

On the offensive strategy against Minnesota ... "It was a great game plan coming into the game. The coaches did a great job and we came out in quads and spread the field open. They (Minnesota) didn't know what to do when we came out in quads. They didn't expect it, I think it was a great game plan coming in."

On the team's confidence late in the game ... "I knew we could get the job done. We do the two-minute drill all the time in practice. Chad came out and made a great pass to me across the middle and that just got things going. He was completing balls and got the job done."

On hearing the crowd noise at Michigan Stadium ... "That's a great feeling. Once you start doing that, the crowd starts going crazy. When you look up, you realize that's why you came here. The fans did a great job."

On his performance on the ground ... "I wanted the ball and I felt that I was in a groove and that I could get the job done. The line was doing a great job moving defenders and I thought I could get four or five yards a carry and that's what we needed to do."

Junior Defensive Tackle Gabe Watson

On how the coaches prepared the team this week ... "The coaches put the Brown Jug and the 424 yards rushing (from 2003) in our face the whole week. We just tried to prepare to stop the run and shut it down. Minnesota is a great team and the first half they had an 80-yard touchdown, but we had to keep our confidence and believe that we could win the game."

On the defense's mentality going into the last series ... "Most of all, we were just trying to stay calm. The coaches said before the game that they were a good team and that they would hit some plays. We couldn't get down on ourselves and we had to respond to it. Sometimes you have to make adjustments on the field. We weren't pointing fingers at each other, we were just like let's go.' We tried to remain confident and stop them."

On the defense's performance at this point in the season ... "I believe we're still playing well. We need to put together two halves, in the first half they rushed for 150 yards and we had to do something to change that. In the second half, we made the corrections and stopped them. If we can put together one full game, and everyone stays confident and works hard, all 11 guys working on the field as one heartbeat, we'll be great."


Minnesota Head Coach Glen Mason

Opening statement ... "That was a heck of a football game, wasn't it I enjoyed it except for the final result. As I told our players, we went through a number of situations, especially late in the game, where the tide could have turned our way. You forget in a close game like that to look at some of the things that happened early in the game. It became a one-series football game, let's face it. We jockeyed back and forth, and Michigan had to go to the defense when time was running out. I credit them, they made the plays, and criticize us, we didn't."

On the game ... "Michigan is a very talented football team. If you know anything about athletics, and you see those athletes in uniform, you understand that. We knew in certain situations we'd be hanging on for our life, and that's what we were doing. We got the turnovers, we got the field position, and we squandered it away, so to speak."

On Michigan's receivers ... "You think of Michigan as a running team, historically, but that's as fine looking a group of receivers that I've ever faced as a collegiate coach. This is not just the Braylon Edwards show. They've got a lot of weapons that you have to try to stop there."

On Chad Henne ... "It's hard for any freshman to play at this level. When you add the mental part of it, the responsibility and the scrutiny that's put on a freshman quarterback, especially at Michigan, if you didn't know he was a freshman, you wouldn't know he's a freshman. He's got a good supporting cast, which helps, and he's getting better every week."

On his team ... "I'm proud of my kids. They didn't stop fighting the whole game. We're still a young football team. We don't have a lot of seniors playing on offense. I know I'm paid to win games, that's what holds me accountable to some people, but to me, I'm a college coach, I'm not a pro coach. If the kids lay it on the line, and play as hard as they possibly can, that's enough for me. I don't love them any less because they lost this game. I might love them a little more because they'll bounce back. It's easy to be part of a winner, and we're a winner."

Junior Tackle Anthony Montgomery

On the end of the game ... "I wouldn't say we really ran out of gas, but they were just hot. They were hitting all their passes and I guess they just wanted it more than we did."

On the disappointment of losing a close game two years in a row ... "It's disappointing anytime you lose a game, but all we can do is just go in and break down film to get ready for the next game."

On focusing on this year's game ... "Last year was last year. We put that game out of our minds. Tomorrow we're going to watch the game and by Monday we'll forget about this game and just get ready for Michigan State."

On Michael Hart ... "He ran the ball hard and made some big plays for them when they needed him. I really couldn't tell he was a freshman."

Junior Defensive End Mark Losli

On the end of the game ... "It came down to a matter of who's going to make big plays at the end. We were hoping to make some big plays on that last drive but things started going their way. They made some nice throws and catches."

On having the ball down the stretch ... "We wanted it to come down to us and we wanted to get the win for the game, but they ended up making more plays than we did."

On the difference between last year's game and this year's game ... "Well I think last year was a little different because they came from behind by so much. We just about had it in our hands last year and it ended up slipping away. This year we knew it was going to be a close game and we knew it was going to come down to the end. We thought all along that we were going to pull out ahead, but I think the key is now to move on and head into Michigan State."


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