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Ohio vs. Ball State | Post Game Quotes

Ohio Head Coach Frank Solich

Opening Statement:
"Another complete ballgame by us as far as playing four quarters and offense, defense, and special teams all contributing to the win. It was surprising to me that the game got out of hand as much as it did because they were obviously a team that showed that they could score points. We got our ground game going, and they were not able to stop that, and when that happens, you're usually a tough team to beat. So, we didn't really need to highlight our receivers much in this game, but as far as our running backs, offensive line, the defense played really well. We had some good blocks by our receivers, I don't mean to say they weren't on top of their game, we just didn't give them the ball a lot. That's a good, strong part of our offense that we just weren't able to highlight that today based on how our ground day was going."

On the effectiveness of the running game the last two gamrs:
"Well, NIU is a great defensive football team, and we were disappointed in our production in terms of the running game. If you look at the early part of our season, it's explainable that our players under (offensive line) Coach (Bart) Miller, new coach, are quick right now. They understand his approach to the game, his techniques and what he's all about. I think we just keep getting better and better at that, to now they're hitting on all cylinders. Now we're going to have road trips here that are going to be tough ball games, and then two tough home games. We're going to finish out our season with a strong part of our schedule."

On if hitting 400 rushing yards tonight was a goal:
"It wasn't. I don't know if our offensive staff or offensive line was. Especially the offensive line, they know when they're zeroing in on something like that. As far as I'm concerned I just want to see really good execution. If we get 390, I'm happy or if we get 400, I'm happy. It's just a matter of wanting this football team to be able to display itself best out on the field and not get caught up so much in figures and numbers and so forth. But in saying that, they like to get some things accomplished. Numbers are really important to them."

On how this season compares to last:
"We're just going to continue to try to play our best football. Last year was last year. It was disappointing. I don't think there was a person involved in our program that wasn't disappointed. We had a chance to get to that MAC Championship Game and all we had to do was win a game, and we couldn't win it. That sits with us. We can't get rid of that. It's what happened. All we can do is move on this year and keep trying to be on top of our game and play our best football. We're doing that right now, and we need to extend that."

On the importance of the last two games avoiding injuries:
"Yes, it seems that way. I haven't checked with (Assistant A.D./Sports Medicine Services) John (Bowman) yet, but it seems like we've made it through that stretch. Having the chance to play some of your non-starters can only help, but it's a tough stretch. We tried to take the right steps in terms of how we practice and the amount of time they're given off. This team has never complained about a single thing that we asked of them. That's a really good sign. They just go out there and do what you ask. They got that in them and the makeup of that kind of team has a chance to accomplish their goals."

On performance with sophomore offensive lineman Brett Kitrell being out:
"That's accurate. It didn't seem to matter to a degree what plays we called at time. Things just seemed to unfold, and they were moving people off the ball. They did that, and you're going to get people and good backs will get their yards. Brett's injury was costly to us but (junior offensive lineman) Steve (Hayes) stepped in and played really well. This has to be a big confidence builder for him to get this start and play. When you're in the middle of the line like that it really shows if you're getting it done."

On the performance of the defense
"Yeah, we're playing our best football right now in terms of defensive football. It's critical timing for it to be unfolding like that. We have to keep it up. I've mentioned this before, and I think we're moving more. That's really helped us. We've got good team speed, and we're utilizing that team speed. We're challenging the quarterback a little more, and we're getting a lot of guys around the running backs and our kids are relentless in their pursuit to play hard. All of that comes out as good defensive football. We're going to need all of that as we go through the last few games."

On the defensive progression since the NIU game:
"I don't think you can overestimate the loss of Quentin (Poling) and Chad (Moore) inside and our two defensive linemen inside. We lost four All-MAC performers. They may not have gotten that recognition, but, in my mind, they were those kinds of players. You don't just have those people disappear and think you're not going to have some growing pains. We had them early. Those guys are responding in a very positive way, and we've gotten better and better as we've matured as a defense, and so we'll see. We'll test it here soon more so than we have the last two games."

On the last two opponents' talents compared to upcoming games:
"Wins in the MAC play are not easy. Notre Dame had to work to beat this team. Indiana was not just a total runaway. Any MAC game is normally a competitive football game, and I couldn't be any happier to see our team win in the fashion that they have the last two ball games to make it easier on the coaching staff."

On getting the short gaps between games out of the way:
"I'm happy. We've got one coming up that's a five day break, Miami. That's on the road. You can only take about that long to be happy in this business. Then you have to deal with what's in front of you."

On (redshirt senior running back) A.J. (Ouellette's) averages this season:
"I think so. He's a great running back, a complete running back. It can get a little frustrating for a running back when you aren't getting the kind of production that you want to get. He's hung in there with that. He looked quick to me today. He's accelerating well in the linebacker area. Last week, we had 18 runs of ten-to–29 yards, which is more than we've ever had in my time here. I don't know what it was today, but we probably had a fair number there today. Someone is getting blocked, and some backs are hitting the holes and they're accelerating."

Ohio Player Quotes

Redshirt Senior Offensive Lineman Joe Lowery

On the way the offensive line set the tone with one of the regulars out of the lineup:
 "I mean, we have a lot of guys that can come in and play, so I guess I'm really proud of Steve for coming in and the guys in general who were prepared really well for the matchup that we had. Shout out to the running backs for hitting the hole and making plays happen."

On hitting the 400-yard rushing mark:
"That was definitely something that we wanted, seeing 200 at halftime. That was definitely something we were looking for." 

On the rushing performance at NIU, and how that refocused them:
"Having however many yards that was, that's not what we're about, so we needed to make sure that we focused on that, so we could get back to where we're supposed to be, and now we're back to where we're supposed to be, I feel like that's just us taking pride in the running game. And knowing that we have to do that in the passing-game"

On importance of last two wins:
"It was super important for us to get on a roll like this. Obviously, we're going into some very good teams here at the end of the year, so I think we need to be on this roll here so that we know what we are capable of and what we should be able to do." 

On importance of being able to get starters out of the game early:
"It was a short week and bodies are banged up so." 

On playing on four days rest:
"I think we have another short week coming up in a couple of weeks or so, but definitely happy to get this one out of the way."

Redshirt Senior Running Back A.J. Ouellette

On dominant performance:
"To be able to dominate like that, it's starts with the guys up front. O-line and D-line. More importantly, our O-line. Like I said, we dominate, so we control the ball, we get time off so their offensive linemen on the sidelines, they just drive us down the field, the quarterbacks are smart, they're making passes. When it's there, they're handing it off when it's there, so we just got smart players."

On bouncing back from a tough rushing performance against NIU:
"The O-Line dominates like always. I'd say that NIU game, the running backs, we were having trouble reading it. Their linebackers, we were just kind of reading it differently, but yeah we made adjustments in these last two games, like you said one of our best."

On making sure the last two wins aren't the bright spots of the season:
"We have to prepare like we have. We've practiced like MAC Champions. I believe, people showing up every day and trying to do their best no matter what if it's a walk-through or a full-padded practice, we just have to keep that mindset. I've seen in years past on short weeks, they get to people, but our team just showed up."

On hitting the 100-yard rushing mark:
"It's always nice. I had the O-Line breathing down my neck the past couple of weeks, so we get 100-yards, and we're going to have some treats the next couple of games for them. Looking forward to going shopping."

Linebacker Jared Dorsa

On the young guys getting reps as the season went on:
"Yeah, the beginning of the season obviously there's a lot of growing pains, a lot of us being really young. Got off to a pretty slow start, but we work really well together as a whole defense, we're a pretty close group. When it comes to practice times, a lot of times we're really good about correcting each other the right way and really helping each other out. We've grown together really well."

On changes the defense has made:
"Communication. I think at first a lot of us, we're keeping to ourselves on the field, and we were kind of doing what we had to do. As we've gone through the year, we've realized that's obviously not going to work, so we're done a really good job of being open and being loud on the field, communicating, getting the right plays to everybody." 

On identity of the defense
"For sure. We pride ourselves in being run stoppers, and at the beginning of the year, it showed that we were struggling in the pass game, so I think we identify as run stoppers, but we realize that our weakness is the pass game. So, we've really worked on not just being kind of a one-trick-pony, kind of working on everything, being good in all areas." 

On his interception:
"First career turnover, I was kind of in awe. It was like right place, right time, teammates making plays, so, it was pretty cool." 

Ball State Head Coach Mike Nue

On moving forward 
"It's difficult circumstances, but I only know one way in my life, and that's to fight. We had some challenges, and we had some players that were injured there that missed the second half. All I cared about at halftime was coming out in the second half and trying to have a one-play-at-a-time approach. Leave everything you had on the field, no negative vibes, no negative energy on the sideline. I looked around, and I saw a lot of guys competing. A lot of young guys competing and fighting. It's disappointing. We lost to a good football team; we didn't have an answer for really what they were doing to us offensively. We had a few good things going in the first half, but when you have a turnover and you lose momentum, get yourself down by two scores against a good football team like that, we certainly couldn't get the momentum switched. My hat is off to Frank Solich and Ohio. they've got a very good football team. They've sustained success for a while. It's not a secret why. So, we've got to get ourselves on the bus and back to Muncie. It's another short week again against another good football team. Only the strong survive, so I'm interested in guys getting on the bus that want to go fight to find a solution and those are the guy's we'll go to war with."