Oct. 8, 2011

Recap |  Final Stats |  Notes


Kent State vs. Northern Illinois – October 8, 2011

Huskie Stadium – DeKalb, Illinois


Northern Illinois Head Coach Dave Doeren

On the defense’s performance

“I think if you ask all of them, they’ve been waiting for it to happen. I think they know they’re a good defense. I think we’re young, and we’ve just been waiting for those guys to step up and be who they are. They held a team to one out of 15 on third down; I don’t think they had a completion in the first half. I’m just proud of the way the players stuck together and the way the coaching staff stuck together. We’re by no means an established team right now, but we got a lot better.”


On NIU’s pass rush

“I thought our pass rush today, for the most part, was really good. They covered up for some things in coverage; there was a few times guys got open and the defensive front took care of that (with their rush).”


On the defensive line

“When your defensive line is in the backfield and they have lane integrity – which we did today, we weren’t past the quarterback, we collapsed the pocket, we had our hands up – good things are going to happen.”


On if he’s found the right combination of defensive personnel



“I think 70 yards is a pretty good answer.”


On the importance of both lines’ performances

“I think football generally starts with your fronts. Your offensive line and defensive line are the tone setters for both sides of the football. Today our defensive line took charge, and that’s what they have to do. We talked a lot about playing for each other, for our family, and protecting our house today – and we did that. You can’t do that if you don’t play well on both sides of the football with your linemen.”


Northern Illinois Player Quotes


Nabal Jefferson, DT

On his interception return for a touchdown                

I just reacted to the lineman blocking and I was there.  It was a pretty good feeling I’ve never done that before so it felt good.


Ron Newcomb, DT

On the defense stepping up

We felt like we did not play up to our standards from the past three or four years.  We came out today and did what we practiced all week in tackling, and our tackling was a lot better. Being more physical was one of the big points this week.  It was a great feeling and we did what we needed to do.


Sean Progar, DE

On Kyle Jenkins’ play

I think it shows his commitment to the team and to the guys.  He’s been moving around a lot of positions and he’s gotten injured a couple times through his career and he just came in and improved himself and proved that he was a team player.  He never argued about switching positions, he just brought his hard hat every day and went to work and I think he’s just a hardworking player.  He deserves everything he gets now, and he played well today.


Sean Progar, DE

On stepping up defensively

I just went out there and went loose. I didn’t really worry about making mistakes. I just worried about getting after it to see if it was a run or a pass. I wanted to get after whoever was in front of me. I give all the credit to my coach. He challenged me this week and told me I needed to step up for the defense and I knew I had to. I tried to do that today and I got to the quarterback twice and pressured him three or four times. It felt good but it wasn’t just me. It takes four (defensive lineman) to get sacks and put pressure on the quarterback.  We played well the whole game.


Chandler Harnish, QB

On the defense’s success to help the offense

That’s huge.  It goes to show that defense does win championships and when they put us in those great situations all day, it’s easier for us. Offensively, we just have to score touchdowns and not settle for field goals (in those situations). It feels so good to see them coming around with energy, passion, and doing what they do best. 


Kent State Head Coach Darrell Hazell


Opening Comments

“We shot ourselves in the foot early in the football game today that resulted in 14 points. They did a good job maintaining our offense. I thought our defense was kept in poor situations all day. It seemed to me that we had break downs in all positions, quarterback, running back, tight ends. Somehow we will get all of those problems fixed once I look at the film tomorrow. We are not good enough to overcome our mistakes in those positions yet.”


On how much blame goes to offense struggling and how much credit goes to NIU’s defense

“I am sure that it is a little bit of both. When we called that screen, I thought it was set up well; it was just an errant throw to the D-lineman. The next time out, we had a sprint out where we fumbled the ball. All that took the sail out of your team. You can’t turn the ball over at any time, especially against good football teams.  We have not been very productive as a football team.”


On the performance of the NIU defense

“They played well. Their ends put pressure on our quarterback all day. We tried running the ball and we were just getting hit in the backfield. We tried getting it fixed on the sideline but no matter what we ran; power, stretch, we could not get any push with our linemen. Then, when you cannot run the football, they pin their ears back and come after you in the passing game.”


On the quarterback change

“This was his (Cedric McCloud) first snaps as a college quarterback. Turnovers early in games are critical. We talked as a coaching staff that if Spence struggled early we would go with the second guy.”

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