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Ohio vs. CMU | Postgame Quotes

Head Coach Frank Solich

Opening Statement:
"This was a difficult, strange game. Turnovers played a huge part in it. Four turnovers to one, that is not winning football. We really didn't play well enough on offense, defense, or special teams.  We did not have one area that played winning football. When that happens you usually don't win football games. We hung in there and kept the score close to where if we'd stopped them on their last drive, who knows what would have happened. Everything leading up to that is not good football. The end of the first half was outrageous in terms of what transpired. We lined up incorrectly on formation, we had a touchdown called back, a field goal blocked, they scored. Instead of being up 21-7 the score was 14-13 and that is huge."

On the touchdown pass being called back because of being off the line of scrimmage:
"I didn't see it, they normally ask the refs if they are lined up right, and will usually get help. We were in a two-minute situation so were going fast so that may have had an affect on that. But that is inexcusable, you know you're on, you know you're off, so line up on or line up off."

On the field goal block, if a mistake was made:
"I couldn't see anything; I will have to look at the film to be able to tell. I really thought he got it up okay, but there had to be penetration, there was no attempt to block form the outside I didn't feel.  At least no one was close on the outside; it all came from the middle."

On giving CMU a momentum shift going into the second half:
"It's a big momentum shift, instead of being down two touchdowns, they are right there, jumping up and down in the locker room. We got them back in the game."

On Nathan Rourke having four turnovers:
"There were a couple turnovers I don't think he could have helped it, he got blindsided on one or two. Along with those turnovers we had a lot of dropped balls, which is not customary for us. Add those together and how are we in the game. Four to one in turnovers, dropped balls, lined incorrectly, it was just idiotic things. We had a chance to stop them, call for pass interference at the end, when the ball landed in the first row of the seats, but that is not the answer. The answer way to play good football up to that point, and we wouldn't have been in that situation."

On Jared McCray being possibly targeted, and dealing with those circumstances:
"I am not going to deal with it very well if I see targeting was a factor on Jared's injury. We have had three guys labeled with targeting in the last two games. That is more than the previous twelve years here at Ohio. So I don't know how to account for it."

On an update on Jared McCray
"I have not heard anything yet."

On the play that was called on Kevin Robins for targeting.
"What I saw was a quarterback not down and twisting. And he was off the ground when he was doing it, so I will look at that on film, but obviously the twisting factor, I'm sure he was not indenting to target the kid. Whether he did or not remains to be seen by me on film."

On offense being off rhythm because of the turnovers:
"If you look at the past you can determine if you have a problem. That determines if you have a problem that has been continuing or just popped up. We are hoping that it is a problem that just popped up and we will address it. I'm not sure if just was running with the football loosely. Sometimes when you look back at the turnovers it may not be the guy that turned it over fault. Sometimes the quarterback can get blindsided. I don't know what all transpired, you just see flashes of it on the sideline, but four is way too any. We had zero last game, so it was nightmarish to see the number of turnovers."

On Ohio's difficult history playing CMU being:
"It is very frustrating that this has occurred as it has. Usually we are able to get a handle on most teams, and win our fair share. That has not been the case and its something we have set out to change this year."

On the blocked field goal penalty being side interference:
"It would have been on the kickoff, you wouldn't take back the touchdown on sideline interference."


Ohio Player Quotes 

Quarterback: Nathan Rourke

On the turnover rate:
"I think you have to give credit to them. They have a very strong defense and there were times where they had the right call against what we had. It starts with us and we have to—I have to—do a better job at holding onto the ball and giving our guys the chance to make plays. That's really what it came down to."

On changes in the offense:
"Nothing really changed. I know he's a great player and we can definitely do things with him there, but it's up to the next person and I think the guys stepped up and did a pretty good job."

On the momentum change in the end of the first half:
"I think it really started with the penalty that went to touchdown. We'll have to look at that and maybe we were right, maybe we were wrong, but that is a huge turn in momentum because then the score could be 21-7 instead of 14-13. That was a huge moment, and knowing that they would have the ball going into the second half, that was big, too."

On knowing when to hold the ball:
"The whole position is based on finding that balance between understanding what to do with it. Obviously, there were some times where I probably made the wrong decision on scrambling or staying in there and obviously there were some times where I stepped up. It's just finding that balance. It's something to work on to make sure it's not an issue for the rest of the season."

On struggling offensively today:
"It was the turnovers: you can look at any stats sheet and that's going to be the story. If someone looks at the stats, they'll see we have to take better care of the ball and that we're really shooting ourselves in the foot. We had drives that, especially earlier in the game, we were driving and we were in their area. That's points that should have been on the board, at least a field goal, I know. That's a tie game right there. This game hurts because we did more things to stop ourselves than they did to stop us and that's what really makes it frustrating."

On potential offensive positives:
"I mean sure, the stats are good, but one of the things Coach looks at is field possession, turnover battle, and sacs. We lost the last two. Obviously, there are positives, but when you lose a game there are always more negatives to take from that. Obviously, it's a tough loss, but we can learn from this. We still have some season left and the guys are a resilient bunch. We saw that after the Eastern Michigan game and I think that, given the opportunity, we will come through next time."

Cornerback Bradd Ellis

On the last five minutes:
"I was proud of the way the defense stepped up today, especially after a week like last week. We didn't step up enough, and that starts with me. We all feel that we would be celebrating, if it weren't for that penalty call. It's plays like that: just one play like that every now and again that really hurt our defense. It has to be corrected."

On the frequency of targeting calls and the call on Kevin Robbins today:
"I didn't see it; it was on the opposite side. I can't really comment but I think with where we are with this style of football and where we are today, it's just something that people are really looking out for and really making sure to protect people. I think that's really good for the game. As far as defensive players, they can't really think about it. You just have to keep going out and playing."

On the third down pass interference play at the end of the game:
"I thought both guys were competing for it; there was contact for both of us and they threw the flag on mine."

On the challenge of guarding a "bigger guy":
"You have to plan differently. The last couple of weeks we've had certain ways of playing our receivers that helped our defense and just made Jalen and myself and the other corners that came in today just play better. Against him—he's a big, strong guy—he doesn't need to make a move. He can just come right through you and it's one of those things where you just have to try to catch him and stay on top. There are times things that I tried worked and times that they didn't. He's a good player."

On conference play:
"The MAC is a good conference and any fan who doesn't think it is, isn't watching the same games that we are. It's a touch conference, things like this happen and we just get better. As Nate said, we did more things today, both offensively and defensively, that hurt ourselves than they did to beat us. And I think that the stats will back that statement. We just need to get better and take a nice long look in the mirror at ourselves and step up."


Central Michigan Quotes

Central Michigan Head Coach John Bonamego

On getting a win on the road:
"It's obviously a big win for a football team. It's tough to win on the road, as we all know this is a great football environment, Ohio has a great football team, they're very well coached. I was impressed with the turnout that they had here and their fans and everybody. It's a first-class organization, a first-class program, but I'm really proud of the grit that our team showed. Everything didn't go our way today, we definitely made some mistakes, our fair share, but we made some things happen. Defense, forcing five turnovers was definitely the key to the game that blocked field goal for a touch down at the beginning of the half- that was huge that was really kind of the dagger. Just really proud of our staff and our players, how they prepared this week and we'll enjoy this one, tomorrow we'll go to work on Toledo because we have another tough stiff test next Saturday at home."

Pretty nice to have Tyler Conklin back, today:
"Without question, he's a difference maker on the football field, it's the reason why he's a captain. He's a lot to handle from a defensive prospective, we had Corey (Willis) out there as well, (but) Corey didn't get targeted as much. It was just a great team effort all the way around. I keep replaying that third down play at the end there where Shane (Morris, QB) has people draped on him and he finds Mark (Chapman,) and Mark makes a catch for the first-down, and we're able to run the clock out. Those type of plays, they kind of get lost in a game like this- they're just huge. You know, I couldn't be prouder of our players and our coaches, they earned this one. Again, hats off to Ohio, their kids played really hard, we expected that. We knew this would be a game that would go four quarters and deep into the fourth quarter. (We're) just really proud of our guys, and happy that we were able to come out on top."

Making statements scoring on the first play, and then scoring on the first drive: 
"They're really important, it's something that we've not been able to do the last view weeks. There have been times where there's no silver bullets out there. You just have to stick to what you believe in, recommit yourselves, pay attention to details, and there's success right around the corner. Sometimes it doesn't seem that way, but you have to continue to commit to the process, stay together as a team, work, accept the coaching, and we've got to give them answers too, as coaches, but it really comes down to attention to detail, not hurting yourself. And we still had some of that today, you know we had a couple key penalties. We had a holding penalty on a big run by Jonathan Ward, who knows, they may not even get another possession if we don't commit that penalty, there was a number of them. But, again you just battle back, you stay in the moment, you can't live in the past and you just keep your eyes forward and keep grinding."

Ohio moved it pretty good on the ground, and then after a while, every move on the ground was tough, was it an adjustment for you, about bearing down:
"They're a challenging team to defend, we still haven't defended the quarterback. You look, he was they're leading rusher today; we were fortunate, we covered well, they dropped some balls too. When they look back at this film, you always look at those plays as a coach, and see the opportunities that you missed. We made plays today, I don't know how many drops we had today, but it wasn't very many. I thought our guys were prepared, and we came to play and it showed. When we play the way that we're capable of playing, we can play and beat anybody."  


CMU Player Quotes

Defensive Lineman Joe Ostman

On how bad the team needed the win:
"There's no doubt, we were looking at it as a 'must-win' game for us if we wanted to accomplish our goals this season. So it's a huge win for our program and I'm very proud of the way the team fought and that's a good football team we just played. Ohio's a very good football team so we're definitely proud and we're ready to move on and get ready for Toledo now."

On his mobility and passion today:
"I try to play with that desperation feeling every game and hunger every game, but today there's no doubt. Our backs were against the wall so we had to respond and I'm really proud of the way our guys fought."

On what challenges Rourke and the read-option presented:
"The quarterback was a very elusive player so that makes it very tough. He's not down until the whistle is blown. I found that out for myself so the quarterbacks a great player and that option that he has is a dual threat. You don't know where they're going. Not all teams have a running quarterback like that so it for sure brought a challenge for us but we prepared for it during the week and I think we responded pretty well."

On how the block kicked affected the team going into halftime:
"Huge spark. Chris Kantzavelos made the play. He's been playing a long time, been playing a lot of football so he came through when we needed him and I can't say enough how big a play that was to swing momentum going into the half and there's no doubt, it could've been the difference in the game. Big time play."

On what he win means for the team confidence-wise:
"We've done a great job at staying together throughout the season whether we were up or down but there's no doubt this win is going to help our momentum and confidence moving forward. We have a huge game this week, homecoming against Toledo. They're a great football team just like Ohio so we have to come back ready to work tomorrow."

On what adjustments CMU made after the half:
"I think we were prepared when it comes to the X's and O's, we just had to get acclimated to the game. Bear down like you said on defense. That's what they [Ohio] do, that's what they're good at, running the ball. So they came out and did that the first drive but I'm proud of the way our defense responded throughout the rest of the game."

On whether it was tough not having Amari Coleman on the field:
"There's no doubt. Amari's a great player, one of the best players in this league, senior captain, but that's part of the game. You lose great players, you never know who's going to go down. I'm proud of the way our defensive backs, Sean Bunting, Josh Cox stepped up. Tyjuan Swain, a lot of guys stepped up and helped do their best to fill on our line after the loss of Amari so there's no doubt." 

Tight End Tyler Conklin

On how much he think's performance today helped and how he wanted to come back from injury:
"I mean, it's nice to be back. Sitting out your first five games of your senior year is tough, and at the same time not really knowing if you're going to come back because of the injury and at the same time the timeline being sped up and coming back kind of sooner than you're supposed to come back. It's good to go out there and feel the way I felt. It's good to have number eight [Corey Willis], I love playing next to Corey. He attracts so much attention and made it easy for me."

On how he feels currently:
"I feel good. I'm probably going to be a little sore tomorrow but I feel good. Foot feels fine. Some bumps and bruises I haven't been used top but I feel good."

On how his emotions played into today and how big the win was:
"This is a huge win. Ohio, trying to always find a way to get it done against them, they're a great team. They were in the MAC Championship last year so to come in here and beat a team that was in the MAC Championship last year, I mean that's huge. So that's good for our confidence and when you're slowly getting healthy, Corey coming back, me coming back we're trying to play like the team we once were. It's a great spark. The win, we needed it going into homecoming to play a good team in Toledo and we have to put this one in the past and start preparing for them."

On the defense forcing five turnovers:
"It's incredible. We needed it and we should've capitalized on every single one of them. We left a lot of points on the board but that's karma, you're just knocking the rust off and I'm not used to everyone being back out there but something we definitely need to change for the future.  We can't leave those points on the board if the defense is going to put us in great situations like that but they played a hell of a game. A lot of people stepped up on defense and we have to keep improving as a unit, both units".

On Kantzavelos' block before the half:
"That's huge. The fact that at first, I mean Sean's having a rough game and to make that play, he was kind of frustrated on the sideline, and to come in and make a huge play like that and he's from Macomb county, that's where I'm from, I just kind of expected it. But that's huge and Chris, he's one of my good friends, he's a playmaker. He comes up and makes plays. Sean's a great corner, he's going to be a great player so I mean, that's just a play that really boosted us to get the momentum going."

On how bad they needed the win:
"We needed it. We've been kind of playing really sluggish, some tough games we could have definitely won . we could be 6-0 right now if we played the way we should play and didn't make as many mistakes as we did in the past but this is huge. Trying to just get a good feeling back in the building and have everybody ready to roll. Going into Toledo man, this is huge. Going to our homecoming, our house, play a good team in Toledo that we haven't beat since 2009.  We've had it marked on our calendar for a long time. We're excited to go in there and knock them off."