Ohio Postgame Quotes – December 22, 2017

Head Coach Frank Solich
Opening statement…

“It was a great win. We certainly appreciate all this team has been about – the way they’ve gone through the season, the way they started to prepare for the Bahamas Bowl at home and then continue the preparation here. To end up playing a very, very good football game, I couldn’t be any more pleased. They’ve been a great bunch to work with. I feel like eight wins were not enough with this football team, so this ninth win puts a little icing on the cake. It’s been a great team and a great year. I had a lot of fun coaching this football team.”

On how the team handled the heat…
“We started the hydration program quite awhile ago back in Athens, Ohio. Our guys have been good at hydrating and doing things like that to give themselves the best chance in the game. We had enough time to prepare and conditioned well enough to be in good condition when we came down here. We obviously knew that we couldn’t come down here and get in great shape in three days by working them out really hard. We kind of saved their energy here until the end and it seemed to work out well. They’ve always been the type of team that has done the little things to keep themselves in great shape.”

On the dominating effort…
“I think it’s big. Obviously, being on national television, we had a chance to display the talent of this football team. Really, to have it go well for Ohio University, our football program and this team, I’m really pleased at the way they’ve accomplished this win. They played hard, they played well, zero turnovers – if we have zero turnovers or win the turnover margin, we’re a tough team to beat.”

On his memories about the seniors…
“Number one, they’ve supplied great leadership through their time here. They didn’t just jump up and have great leadership ability their senior year, they’ve shown it right from the start, a number of those players in this senior class. You can tell this was a driven group. Anytime you have a group that is that driven and wants to win as badly as they do, good things are going to happen for your program. Along with that, they’re just a fun group. I mentioned this before, they would not let me not have fun. They’re just so loose, and I’m not a loose guy. I’m a rather tight guy. But they’ve had a way to loosen me up and make me enjoy what was transpiring this season. I’m going to miss all that, a lot of great personalities in that senior group.”

On A.J. Ouellette surpassing 1,000 yards before leaving the game…
“It was really good to see him reach 1,000. He’d been beat up at times this season. Really, there was a time we were without Dorian and A.J., and obviously that’s going to hurt your football team. A.J. gave himself a chance to play in this game where I think there’s a lot of guys who wouldn’t have given it a try. I’m proud of him for what he accomplished there. He’s got an injury that hopefully won’t require surgery, but we’ll wait and see.”

On the defensive pressure…
“Well that was huge. If you’re stopping the running and getting hits on the quarterback when he’s throwing and able to pressure him as much as we were able to pressure him today, there are very few quarterbacks who are going to have great days when they’re taking that many hits and getting that much pressure put on him. We probably blitzed a little bit more than we have in some games, and I think it paid off.”

Sophomore QB Nathan Rourke
On his ventures before arriving at Ohio…
“It’s been a crazy journey. Obviously I’ve gone to a couple of places to get here. I tell you what, not going to a Division I right out of high school, that journey has been completely worth it to get on this football team and play for this program. I wouldn’t have wanted it to happen any other way. This is a great team, like coach mentioned. I’m so proud to be a part of it. It was great to end the season like this, and hopefully this is something we can build on for the next couple years.”

On his offensive teammates…
“It’s awesome. It’s really easy. The offensive line, I have to give them huge props because they’ve been working their butts off all year. They’re a very experienced bunch and they wanted this a whole bunch. When we get the running game going on and I have all day to throw, that makes my job really easy, and that’s when you see our offense start to click. That’s what happen when everyone’s putting their best foot forward and doing everything they can to win the game.”

On bouncing back from two losses…
“As coach said, we knew we were better than eight wins. We thought we should have been up there in Detroit [in the MAC Championship]. I’m really proud of our guys to not let that us consume us too much. We were still focused on UAB, we were still focused on this game, we were really focused coming into the game. We used it to motivate ourselves and prove to a national audience that we’re better than our record shows and we deserve every accolade that we’ve earned.”

On the fan support…
“It was great to see so many people make the trip down. All the chants that they make feel like we were at home even though we were down here. It goes to show the support that this program has, and that’s why we’re so successful is the support from our alumni, fans, parents and families. Them being here has made this experience so much more special.

Redshirt Sophomore S Javon Hagan
On playing ahead of the chains…

“It was big. The number one thing we do on defense is stop the run. When we stopped the run they had to pass and our secondary was ready for it. We just had a pep talk before the game saying we had to make more plays. Stopping the run definitely made them throw and we were able to make some great plays on the ball.”

On taking the field with an early lead…
“When we went up 7-0 we thought about the Akron game and that’s what made us play even harder. When we were up 7-0 against Akron, easy, and then we ended up losing. We’d seen it before, and that’s what made us go harder.”

On his bowl experience…
“Being from Florida, it felt good to get the heat again because it’s so cold in Ohio. There were no bugs – there’s a ton in Jacksonville. The food was fantastic. This bowl is just a great experience. It’s definitely one of the best bowls I’ve experienced so far. The atmosphere, the water, the beach, the slides, it was just so fun. I felt like a little kid again.”

Redshirt Senior RB Dorian Brown
On his performance…
“I missed two games last time we played. It actually motivated me. I give a lot of props to the O-Line as well, because they did a tremendous job blocking and making it easy for me to run the ball. It was very important [to go out on a high note]. A.J. [Ouellette] wasn’t feeling so well in the first quarter, so I had to step up and take my role.”

On his experience at the bowl…
“Being here, I think they treated us well. The Bahamas Bowl was a great experience. They did a good job helping us and feeding us, stuff like that. I had fun. At home it’s snowing and cold, and it’s hot out here. I think it was a great experience.”

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