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Oregon 55, Washington 34
Release: 10/20/2007
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Oct. 20, 2007

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Washington Coach Tyrone Willingham

On the game: "We knew coming in we were facing one heck of a football team, especially on the offensive side of the ball. It was, for much of the game, a heck of a football game except we were unable to match score for score with them in the end. Good effort, but no victory."

On his decision to try an onside kick late in the game: "Because I wanted to create something to give our team the best chance to win."

On whether or not he had given up on his defense by choosing to go for the onside kick: "No, I don't think (we took) that approach. But if you looked at the timing of the game, you're starting to run out of time and we need to make something happen. We needed to see if we can get the upper hand in that. Because if you're just chasing them I don't think you're in a great position. So, we needed to get that possession advantage and a score."

On the Huskies defensive performance: "There were obviously a lot of missed tackles at a lot of places. But, I think you're also going to see a very good back that is pretty consistent and has been running like that all year."

"I think we've got some issues. Obviously, there were a lot of things that we didn't do and places that we didn't get to that we wanted to be. I don't think its as simple as just saying `we missed a tackle and we played a good back.' I think there are things that we have to work on and continue to improve at to get ourselves in the right position."

On Oregon's running game, running backs and quarterback Dennis Dixon: "We weren't able to match up with all of them. Their quarterback got his share in there. They did a great job of keeping [us] off-balance. When you think you have one covered up, the other one was popping out. The quarterback did, I thought, an excellent job of executing their read option, their run option and put a lot of pressure on us."

On Jake Locker throwing the ball downfield more tonight: "It was part of our game plan based on how we felt like they were playing and I think it did in fact create some opportunities and big plays for us."

On not blitzing Oregon quarterback Dennis Dixon much: "With their option scheme you've got to be very careful when you choose to blitz. I thought that's what we did, we were very careful about when we came after him [Dennis Dixon] and what we came after him with. Because if you're not very sound in your option responsibilities then they eat you alive."

On whether his defense's missed tackles were mental or physical mistakes: "It's always a little bit of both. You've mentally really got to see things and get yourself in the right places. We as coaches have to always try and help them get in the right places. And then physically, obviously they [Oregon] did some good things. They blocked well and they ran well.

"You're always concerned because this is an explosive offense. This is an offense that came in averaging, I think it was, forty-five points a ball game. So you're always concerned about that. But as you noticed we didn't panic, we stayed with our plan, both offensively and defensively, and all of a sudden we fought our way back into the contest."


Washington Tailback Louis Rankin

On the offense: "Once we opened the passing game the game was still close to where we were able to run the ball. And when we ran the ball we made plays. We were moving the ball well. I'm not sure what the difference was. We were just able to do it."

On being in a shootout: "You just can't take any plays off. You have to step up and make plays because you know with an offense like Oregon you are going to have pressure on you to keep scoring."

On Oregon: "Oregon is a good team. I think we've played a lot of good teams, though. All season we have played good teams in every game, but I still feel like this is a game we could've won."


Washington Wide Receiver Anthony Russo

On opening up the offense: "Coach Lappano wanted to air it out today and he backed it up. He called a lot of downfield shots, like 10 to 15, and we connected on a lot of them. We didn't see anything in particular that they were doing, we just opened up the playbook and took shots when we wanted to."

On the first touchdown - an 83-yard pass play: "That was something we knew we would get. We practiced it the whole week and it was open like that the whole week. So it was nice that it worked just like it did in practice."

On Oregon: "They are a great team. They play good defense and are fast. They have athletes just like we do. But we knew we were this good, we just weren't executing like we did today. We executed almost everything today and offensively the result was good."

On the offense: "We knew we could put up 500 yards against anybody and everybody was just playing really hard today. Louis was running his butt off, Marcel was making plays, Jake was making plays and we just kept fighting. We wanted to win bad and you could tell."

On scoring a lot of points: "That definitely makes the game fun. It's football and it's supposed to be fun. But we didn't win and that's where the fun stops."


Washington Wide Receiver Marcel Reece

On the defense struggling: "We definitely have to make it easier on the defense. If they put up 55 then we need to put up 65. No matter how many points they score we need to put up more. And we have the ability to do that. We have to regroup and put up some more points." On playing highly ranked teams: "You smile and you lick your chops. You love being the underdog, because you know that no one respects you. You get to prove that you're better. You get to take it from someone that isn't going to give it to you. That's fun and it's what we've been doing our whole lives."


Washington Safety Mesphin Forrester

General Comments: "We have to go out and make plays and we didn't do that. We just didn't come out with a win today and we obviously are not happy about that."

On why the team struggles against the run: "I honestly don't know. We were in position to do things and we just weren't able to do them."

On the remainder of the season: "We have six games left and we need to win all six. We are 2-5 now and we need to keep our eyes on the goal of making a bowl game."


Washington Cornerback Roy Lewis

On not stopping the run: "We just have to make tackles, period. We have guys in the right place, but we need to make the tackle. We missed too many tackles and those add up. The mistakes are on our side of the ball. We didn't have enough stops and that came back to haunt us."

On not making 34 points hold up: "We let ourselves down. We believe that we are good enough to win and it is just a matter of us doing it. We have to keep fighting."

On keeping the younger players from getting down: "You just have to stay positive. These guys don't really understand what is going on, this is all new. They likely came from really good high school programs so this is different. When you get down during the season it is important for the older guys to step in and keep it positive."

On keeping the older players from getting down: "I think we realize that we have something special on this team so we won't feel like it's like it used to be. We know we can make the plays and we are just frustrated at ourselves for not making them."

On the third quarter: "I think they stressed that this week. We did a good job of coming out in the third quarter with the same intensity that we had in the first half. But there are a few key plays in each game that decide the winner and we weren't the team that made those plays."

On struggling in the fourth quarter after being on the field so much early: "I'd like to think we are in good enough condition to play four quarters. But those long drives do take a toll. We have to suck it up and keep playing. That's part of football."


Oregon Head Coach Mike Bellotti

General Comments: "I think Washington's a great team, they made some great plays. We fell a little bit asleep in the secondary which is frustrating, but I think the concerns about Jake Locker tend to do that to you. This is a game that I feel great about. We were challenged into the fourth quarter and we responded to that challenge. We ran the ball, we were physical. Credit to Washington and Jake Locker. He's a tremendous athlete and a weapon. He'll be a force to deal with in the future. I'm very proud of our guys, especially the offensive line. Jonathan [Stewart] had a great game. Dixon ran the ball, Crenshaw ran the ball. I was really, really pleased with our ability to control the line of scrimmage."

On Oregon's offensive line: "When you get that kind of consistency, I mean we've rushed for almost 300 yards almost every game. This is probably the best offensive line here at Oregon."

On Andre Crenshaw: "He is a cutback runner. He doesn't possess quite the same speed as Jonathan but he's nimble, he's got great balance and he sees the field very well. He understands this offense and uses it to his best advantage."

On Aaron Pflugrad: "Had a couple of key catches in this game, big catches. He's not the biggest receiver, he's not the fastest. He just has great hands and makes great plays. It's fun because the team is rallying around him now."

On Jairus Byrd's interception: "That was a tremendous play because Jairus had gotten caught earlier in the year in the same situation but he didn't look back. It should've been offensive pass interference; that was the most blatant thing I've ever seen. But Jairus fought the guy off and caught the ball. Great takeaway to change the momentum."

On others calling this a "trap game": "Calling this a trap game is a disservice to Washington. They're a good football team, they work very hard, they've got a great player at quarterback and they've got some weapons in Louis Rankin and Marcel [Reece]. They did some things, we just wore them down with our offense. That's a credit to our guys up front, they did a great job."

On injuries: "No injuries that I've heard of. We've got accumulated bumps and bruises but no serious injuries. And that may be the best news of all." On going home to play USC: "This game was a vote of confidence for our team, because we were challenged and we responded."



Oregon Quarterback Dennis Dixon

On the offensive line: "(They played) unbelievable. It wouldn't happen without them. I've got to give them all the game balls tonight for sure."

On whether losing receivers hurt offense early: "Not at all. I tip my hat to Washington. There was a little gray area between lanes and I didn't want to force anything. As a quarterback you have to read your keys and you've got to be patient."

On Jake Locker: "I talked to him personally. I just told him he doesn't know what he brings to a defense. He brings a tremendous scare. As he grows into this offense he is going to be one heck of a player."

On keys to the game: "Being patient and taking what's there. The main thing is just time management, staying within yourself and just execute the plays. The offense had good looks today as far as running, passing, and making plays."


Oregon Running Back Jonathan Stewart

On playing in front of family: "It felt good to play that kind of game in front of my family - give them a chance to come and see what it like for me to play college football."

On character building: "We built some character there for sure. We've got to fight through adversity; that is what a football game is about. They're a good team, they fight, they fight, they fight, and we knew they were going to fight. We just held on."

On winning the game: "(It felt) real good. It is a rivalry game, and it just feels good. It feels good any game really, to walk out with a fifty point performance and win."

On next week: "We've got USC. We've got to think about USC and nobody else."


Cornerback Jairus Byrd

On offense: "The offense was awesome. They did a great job and I give them a lot of credit, particularly Jonathan Stewart, Dennis Dixon and the offensive line."

On the importance of this game: "I think this game, being on the road and with the rivalry; it was definitely a statement game. I think a lot of people had questions about how we were going to react and (perform) on the road."

On interception: "It was just a toss-up, the throw; it was just whoever got the ball. He kind of just turned and threw it up and I saw the ball, I just focused on it. I knew we needed a play at the moment. The momentum was kind of changing at that time."

On Jake Locker: "He was tough, but he started kind of slow. At the end of the game I went up to him and said, `You're gonna be a heck of a player.' A lot of the mistakes came just trying to force it, but once he gets a little more comfortable in the system I think he'll be real good."

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