COURTESY OF PENN STATE ATHLETIC MEDIA RELATIONS DEPARTMENT
Jahan Dotson | WR | So./So.
Q: Jahan, I think you guys recovered from last week. What could you say about that?
A: We had to come out and battle. This wasn’t a team where we could take a step off the pedal. This was a very good football team, and I felt like we came together in moments of the game. We didn’t play our best game, of course. But we came together in the moments that we needed to and pulled out a big one.
Q: Do you guys feel like you had something to prove to yourselves as receivers in this game after last week?
A: Honestly, we feel like that every week. Even if we play well, we feel like we have to make plays. We have to beat one-on-one coverage because a lot of teams are playing us man and giving us one-on-one coverage, so it’s personal to us.
Q: I was going to say it looks like you guys are drawing a lot of man, is that something that you hope for and you want to see?
A: Yes, that’s honestly something that you pray for as a receiver. You want man-to-man because it’s just mano a mano, you beat your guy, then you win your route.
Q: When did you guys find out that KJ (Hamler) wasn’t going back in and did you talk among the wide receiver group about that?
A: We found out around the second quarter that he wasn’t going to return to the game, so we knew as a receiver group that our main guy was going down. The rest of us had to step up and make plays, and we made enough plays to come out with a win.
Q: Did that change things with him not in there?
A: No, it doesn’t change anything at all. Just losing one guy, the next guy has to step up. It’s a next guy mentality. So, of course losing a big piece like KJ (Hamler) is huge, but it’s just the next guy up. We all have to make plays.
Sean Clifford | QB | Jr./So.
Q: Walk us through how gratifying it is to finish that thing with a touchdown.
A: We always talk about ending the game on our terms, especially when it’s a four-minute drive, we do that a lot in camp and we also practice it throughout the week, but that actually turned into a nine-minute drive. Nine minutes, one second. So, I’m just really proud of our guys, especially the offensive line. The aces and Journey (Brown) and Devyn (Ford) really punching it through. They all did a great job today. I’m just super proud that we could finish it on our terms and take some pressure off of the defense.
Q: What specifically worked on that drive, you mentioned the offensive line, why were you guys able to sustain it?
A: Just the grit that this team has, this offense has. We’re going to do whatever it takes to win the game. Today kind of came down to us having a nice long drive. It’s just the chemistry that we have, you see it. We’re just fooling around, but at the same time, I know I have Journey’s (Brown) back, he’s got mine. That goes for the offensive line, everybody. We said at the beginning of that drive, “let’s finish it on our terms and win this game the offensive way,” and we did that today, so I’m happy with our guys.
Q: Was it important to come out and play hungry in this game after last week?
A: We’ve always been a hungry team, but last week was a very, very emotional loss for us to a good Minnesota team. I took that pretty personally. I came in last week early and just made sure that we were getting back on track and I think we did a pretty good job of that today. Obviously, there’s a lot of corrections to be made, but overall, I’m just happy that we won, we’re back on track. We’ve got that team in Columbus next week.
Q: What was the discussion on the sideline right before you guys went for it on fourth down? Was there any doubt about whether or not you guys wanted to go for it?
A: No, we knew were going to score.
Q: What does that say about your mindset in that situation?
A: When we drive the ball 18 plays, if we don’t end with a touchdown, I think that our guys are going to be pretty angry at the coaching staff that they didn’t let us go finish the drive. Especially with how our offensive line was playing, they were asking for the ball and they were asking to go for it. As a quarterback, when your offensive line is asking to go for it on fourth-and-one, you know what you need to do. I was super happy with those guys today.
Journey Brown | RB | R. So.
Q: You guys converted on two fourth downs on that last drive, what does that tell you about the confidence the coaching staff has in you guys to do that?
A: We gained the confidence and their support during practice, showing them that we can do stuff like that going against our defense, which is a very good defense, you know they just have a lot of trust in us and we showed it.
Q: In years past you guys have had a hard time coming back from a tough loss and not losing again. What made the difference today for you guys?
A: Nothing. We have a 1-0 mentality, and will continue to do that the way we have all season. Just like with this one, we’ll have fun and we’ll celebrate this one and when Sunday comes we’ll forget about it and start focusing on the next game.
Q: Did you guys hear any of the outside noise about bouncing back from a loss or was that not anything that was talked about at all within the team?
A: When you spend 95% of your time with the team, we all have the same mindset, and you tend not to hear stuff like that. On social media of course that will always be there and so will the media, but they never bother us. 1-0 mentality like I said.
Q: Are you guys still going to have the potential for some of those long, explosive runs the more you go to the two tight end looks?
A: It definitely is just another blocker in there. It could help us out in the pass game and keep people on their toes so it can go either way.
Nick Bowers | TE/H | Gr./Sr.
Q: What's it feel like to end a game like that?
A: I think the team called upon the offense to try and end the game in that situation and I think we did a good job of getting a chunk of yards and took a lot of time off the clock, like nine minutes. We rely on our offense, rely on the tight ends and running backs to move the ball and we did that.
Q: How confident were you on the decision to go for it on fourth down there on the half-yard line and what was the reaction like when Sean got into the in-zone?
A: I think you heard the crowd, they wanted to go for the touchdown and the offense did too. We were confident we were going to score, and I saw Cliff get in there and dive for the touchdown and I was pretty excited.
Q: How do you think you guys recovered from the loss? How do you think you might have improved?
A: Yeah, I mean it’s always tough coming from a tough loss on a road game against a high-caliber opponent, but you know, we came back and had a good week of practice and showed out there. I think we did a good job just playing the game.
Will Fries| OL | Sr./Jr.
Q: Are you ever surprised by how fast Sean Clifford it is I mean, that's the one side on the 38-yard touchdown
A: Yeah, people probably give enough credit for him being a great athlete, but he’s a great athlete, is a tough kid, he battles, he's a fighter and we're just so proud to have him as a quarterback.
Q: How is it different when KJ is not in there?
A: To be honest, I didn't really notice anything about that. Guys had to step up and execute regardless, so no, next man up, and we just keep battling.
Q: That stat sheet doesn't show just how important Sean Clifford was in this game, how would you kind of explain or describe how important he was to the offense in the win today?
A: First off, I say his leadership, he is rallying the troops, it's not that I will get down, no bad body language, things like that. That's the first thing to say and just toughness, everyone else feeding off of it, he got hit a couple times got back up, popped up right back up and ready to go.
Q: How are the other guys playing?
A: They're playing great. The drive is really a testament to, the work that they put in, not only all week, but all offseason, things like that and credit, Coach Limegrover and Coach Rahne put us in a great position to be successful.
Q: What does that do for you guys today, not that you've been playing badly, you guys we're playing well, but what they do, what can it do for a group like you, 18 plays, nine minutes, when you need it?
A: Yeah, it gives us confidence. I think that's the biggest thing is, when you can put together a drive like that and we're running the ball…I think there might be one or two passes in there, whatever it was, but it just gives us confidence to keep building off that and keep improving and getting ready for next year.
Q: How much have they worked on their blocking over the years, how much do they work with you guys? Do you kind of work back and forth with them?
A: Oh yeah, no doubt, they're working on it every day, just like us, you know, being an ace, we got to do a lot of things but, their blocking has been very impressive this year.
Jake Pinegar | K | So. / So.
Q: What was the message all week long internally within the group, and to be able to finish off a game and not lose two in a row?
A: I mean everybody, I feel everybody was a lot harder to get back out to this week, everybody took that loss hard. But you learn from it, we grew from it, we made it a point all week in practice to get better and come and attack and play aggressive.