Illinois Head Coach Dino Babers
Postgame Press Conference
weather affected the game:
"(The) point spread's too big to even talk about weather. That football team is better than us."
South Dakota State running back Zach Zenner:
"Very impressed with him. Talked to him after the game - ZZ, affectionately, is what I'll call him from now on; he's very, very talented. The way he carries his speed and his power into the fourth quarter, he must be a very fine, well-conditioned athlete. My hats off to him. He's special. You guys got a special one."
SDSU's physical play was more than expected:
"You could see how physical they were on the football field (from film). Obviously, they had a close game with North Dakota State and they're (NDSU) ranked No. 1. But they (SDSU) wore you down. First quarter, seemed like we were going to be able to just hang in there, but over the long haul, just wore you down. Lot of strength. That physicality, we need to go back and we need to find some of that, get our guys back in the weight room and prepare for our challenge when we get back here next year. But we need to be a lot stronger and a lot more physical if we're going to compete in a game like this."
facing a Missour Valley team; grass vs. turf:
"I just think it's a little bit different when you're playing on grass and you're playing on turf, that does change. I don't think the weather had anything to do with it but when you're playing that kind of team - that strong, that physical - and you're playing on a natural surface, you better have lived in the weight room awhile. In that situation, they're going to be very hard to beat."
execution of the offense:
"I mean, we had some opportunities. We had a wide receiver open for a post, he falls down, trips over whatever the situation was. Now the DB that was beat by five yards catches the interception. But it's not about that. You don't sit up here and talk about the what-ifs. That football team (SDSU) came out and beat us on both sides of the football. So, you gotta take your hats off to them and that's what football's all about. There's no doubt - is there any doubt in the room? Right. There's no doubt. So, we know where we're at. It's not a grind, it's a find and we just found out where we're at and we need to go back to work. So we can come back and have a better performance next year."
"Oh I'm happy right now about this football team. From last to first. Just got through celebrating the 16 seniors in the locker room, loving and crying those guys up. Telling them what they've started - a foundation and what we're going to build with this program and where we're going to take it. We're not dead. We're not dead you guys. We just got started. We just got started, okay? We'll put on our big-boy boots and we'll be back. We'll be back. Very happy with this football team. Proud of them."
South Dakota State Postgame Press Conference
Running back Zach
Zenner on the offensive game plan:
"We ran a lot of power today, and kept getting big holes. They were an athletic defense and they were going to fly around. One of the goals of a rushing attack is to wear them down."
playing in windy conditions:
"Any game, we take great pride in controlling the game. In the first quarter we had a strong wind against us. We focused on running the ball and that paid off in the end."
Center Will Castle
on being in the playoffs for a second time in his career:
"It is great for the program, me and myself being from south Dakota, watching SDSU football growing up and getting back to the playoffs is our goal every year. We are here and we know what we have to do to keep winning ball games."
Wright on the performance of the defense:
"It was the fastest offense we have played against; we had an idea from looking at film. After the first drive we were able to keep up with the tempo."
Zenner about the
"The season has been great so far, we have a great team, but it is not over yet. We have to focus on next week."
Castle on if the
team is playing with a chip on its shoulder after squandering a lead in the
2009 playoff game at Montana:
"It has been motivation for us from 2009. It is always in the back of our head and gives us extra motivation."
Wright on the
conditions and playing at home:
"Our athletic department stepped up at allowed us to play at home. We went undefeated at home, which is very exciting. Our fans were very supportive and to come out on Thanksgiving weekend to cheer for us. It worked in our favor."
Wright on building
momentum for next week at North Dakota State:
"Winning this week lets our team know that we can do this and face a very tough opponent."
Head coach John
Stiegelmeier's opening statement:
"We are really proud of our football team in so many ways. We played against a really good football team in Eastern. I think we played our best football and we challenged them and they rose to the occasion. We ran the foaotball very well. I am sure Eastern will go back and go to work. I talked to coach and it will continue to be a good football team."
the speed of Eastern Illinois:
"We just tried to play our defense. I think when you play a team like that, and you don't have everyone on the same page, then you play 9-on-11 or 8-on-11. We tried to simulate that in practice; our coaches did a phenomenal job."
Stiegelmeier on playing
"I'm proud; proud of our program and our players. Proud of our fans and the noise they made. It was not a great weather day but they were able to make noise."