A trio of Northwestern players met with the media following the Wildcats' 17-12 loss to the Iowa Hawkeyes Saturday night. This is what QB Andrew Marty, RB Evan Hull and DL Joe Spivak had to say about the game.
QB Andrew Marty
On starting for the Wildcats on senior night:
"It meant a lot, and it was special to do on senior night. I feel like it's been a long time coming, and I'm starting to see strides happen. Obviously, today did not go the way I wanted it to or the team wanted it to, and I hold responsibility for a lot of the mistakes that happen, and that's something I'm going to learn from and just come back ready for next week."
On the Wildcats' performance overall:
"As I saw it today, when we have the shots down the field, we have guys that are going to make those plays. And then having the ability to stay within myself and get the ball down to Evan [Hull] and our tight ends... We came into the game saying if we eliminated turnovers and we won the field position game, we would win. And we still gave ourselves opportunities to win the game, so that's what hurts the most."
On his connection with Wildcat RB Evan Hull:
"Evan [Hull] is a dog, and any time I can get him the ball, I'm going to. He made several great plays."
On the Wildcat wide receivers:
"I'm confident in Steph (Stephon Robinson Jr.) and Malik [Washington] and JJ [Jefferson] and Jacob Gill; all these guys have the ability to win down the field, which is fun. We haven't always had the ability to do that, and now we do, so it's going to continue to be something that we specialize in and we continue to push forward with."
RB Evan Hull
On his connection with Wildcat QB Andrew Marty:
"[Andrew] Marty is a smart quarterback. He knows where to get the ball. I think the biggest thing is that we've always had a connection. Basically, from the day I stepped on campus, we've had a good connection, so it's just kind of showing out there on the field."
On the offense's improved performance in the second half:
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"I think the biggest thing was just momentum; taking the nickles, having them turn into dimes, and then turning them into big, explosive plays. So we want to just continue to do that."
DL Joe Spivak
On how the defense adjusted to Iowa's quarterback change:
"Right away, we knew that No. 8 [Alex Padilla] was a little bit more agile, so as a defense lineman, you start focusing on your pass rush lanes like you would with any quarterback who can run a little bit more. And that's nothing against [Spencer] Petras, obviously; he's a great pocket passer. That was our biggest adjustment, just having that awareness right off the bat. But as far as game plan, it wasn't anything too different."
On Iowa's OL Tyler Linderbaum:
"He's a hell of a player. As a former wrestler myself, tons of respect, and obviously you heard Coach Fitz (Pat Fitzgerald) talk about that. It shows up on the field: the dude's hips, the dude's leverage. He's a fantastic player and he plays offensive line the way it should be played. He's a great leader too. We've gone against him the past three or four years now, so I have nothing but respect for that guy."
On if he's thought about the end of his time playing for the Wildcats:
"Not really. I'm just so thankful for the experience I've had here. Thinking about tonight, obviously it didn't go the way I or any of us wanted; all you want to do is leave with a win. But I will say that I was blessed to call my last game at Ryan Field an absolute dog fight, an absolute battle, because that's what this game is all about and that's what I'm thinking about right now, battling these last three games."
On how the Wildcat defense prepared for the Hawkeye offense:
"Obviously, it's Iowa, so the first thing you think of is a hard zone running; it's Iowa-style football. When you're a freshman and you get on campus, you talk about Iowa football. So there are never too many things that are too new; it's about playing fundamental defense against a team who plays fundamental offense year in, and year out, consistently. You have to fall back on your fundamentals, and I thought the defense did a really solid job of that; not a perfect job -- it's very rarely going to be perfect -- but I thought a lot of times when we needed to get a stop, we did that, and we fell back on our fundamentals."
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