Did you feel completely prepared for ND ?
With a full week of preparation we all felt that we could come out and get a victory.....we knew they had a few players banged up and we wanted to come out and take advantage of that.......defense struggled a little bit with the wildcat formation but I still felt like we should have won. They made a few more plays and came out with a win.
How tough is it to be so close?
It's real tough, especially with this happening three weeks in a row. It came down to the last drive and us not coming out on top it's real tough. We're all gonna keep our heads up and come out, Big Ten play is coming up and we're gonna try and finish strong in the Big Ten.
Describe your interception of Clausen (the QB's first all season) in the Purdue endzone near the end of the first half:
We were in man coverage...I stayed on top of my man and actually didn't see the ball coming until it was halfway in the air because it kinda got caught up in the lights. We did a lot of deep ball drills in practice because we knew Notre Dame liked to come out and throw deep, so I just went up and highpointed the ball and came down with it.
On the final drive, it just seemed like ND was able to make play after play
Did you notice a momentum swing after the 3rd and 14 pass play from Clause to Tate that gave ND a first and goal at the Boiler 4 yard line?
Yeah, it was a little discouraging because we had them right where we wanted them, 3rd and long, and they come out and run a comeback. We were playing real conservative, meaning we didn't want to get beat deep and try to keep everything underneath. But they came out and executed and came out with a win.
QB Joey Elliot
How good was Keith Smith ( Boiler wideout) for you guys tonight?
Keith is a leader. Obviously with every catch he's trying to get everybody riled up and get the other receivers to step up like he is. He just does a great job, comes over to the sidelines and communicates with me as much as possible and obviously he's big for us.
You know it's a real tough loss when you're playing in the rivalry for the first time, trying to create something special. You know the the guys up front, Jared and the seniors, everybody wanted to win this one really, really bad. It's going to be tough because we're going to have to come back to work, look at the film, get better. Obviously we've had a lot of close ones so maybe that says something about our character, we just never give up. You never know what's going to happen with Big Ten play coming up.
Is it easier said than done trying to recover after these last three games?
We'll be just fine.I think offensively and defensively we put ourselves in a position win the ballgame there at the end, in fact we did that two or three times. Where else would you rather be as an offense or a defense than on the field, trying to win a ballgame after 4 quarters, not getting blown out. I know in previous years I've been sitting on the sidelines down 35 thinking I might go in. Offensively, defensively, giving ourselves a chance to win, that's what's positive.
Talk about the play that gave you the go-ahead TD... did you or the coaching staff see something in their defense that prompted that call?
Well Ralph Bolden was hurting a little bit so they brought Jaycen Taylor in and ND kept doing a lot of man coverage and we were able to execute man coverage. It was a wheel route & I think the guy actually maybe fell down and Jaycen was able to take it to the house. We were hoping that the LB would bite up on the play-fake and then be able to use Jaycen's speed to get down the field. When I saw him that open I tried to get it to him as quick as possible. I didn't put any air under it cause he had to turn, catch and secure the ball and then get upfield.
In Ross Ade Stadium as a senior, in front of 60,000 playing Notre Dame - was it everything you expected?
Yes, when we scored on the go-ahead drive the first thing I started thinking was the last time I heard RossAde rockin like this was maybe my Junior or Senior year of high school when Purdue was #5 in the country and playing Wisconsin. I was a recruit in the stands. That' s the same energy and excitement I felt tonight versus the Irish.
If you asked me if I wanted the ball in my hands at the end of the game I would say 'Yes', but also, I'd rather have the lead and have the defense out there. If we're behind, I want the ball as soon as possible so I can go ahead and get the go-ahead score. But if not, I'd like our defense out there. I thought we had a huge sack by Gerald Gooden that forced 3rd and long yardage. I thought our defense played hard but give credit to Notre Dame - they went out there and executed some big plays there late.
Jaycen Taylor, RB on his go-ahead TD reception
I didn't know for sure if the Linebacker would see me or if he was going to come with me, but when he didn't I thought I should just slow down and just let Joey throw me the ball. Once I got it I knew from there I was going for a touchdown. I thought that was going to be the game-winner right there because I have a lot of faith in my defense and I figured once we were up, that was it. But things happen, that's football.
Ryan Kerrigan, DE
When you took the lead at 21-17, how confident were you?
We were very confident because we knew there was still 30 minutes of football to be played. We really tried to control the game upfront and I think we did good for most of the second half, but that last touchdown was a killer.
On the last play (TD pass to TE for the win by ND) Who did you feel was the main threat to get the ball?
Well I really wasn't sure because they have a big, bruising running back in Robert Hughes in there and so they kinda could've gone either way with it (to the air or on the ground) so, it was tough (to predict) they have so many weapons you can't key on just one and that was very evident on that play.
Where do you go from and how do you recover from this close loss?
Take the negatives and correct them, and then through film and practice, take the positives from it like we came back from being down 14 points and that we fought all the way to the end. We can still take that into the Big Ten season and still make this season worthwhile.
Keith Smith, WR
We came up a little short and it hurts, but it's behind us now and we have to look forward to Northwestern coming in here next week.