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November 7, 2015

Kevin Wilson

Bloomington, Indiana

Iowa - 35 Indiana - 27

COACH WILSON: A hard fought game. Disappointed with the outcome. I thought we played a good team, we played well. Thought our guys played very, very well.

Just not enough plays passing game. Probably got us a little bit where we got behind some chains early in the third quarter.

A few dropped passes, could have been a lot cleaner. Run game's good, defense got a little better as we went along. Kicking game didn't hurt us. It was a solid game, just wasn't enough against a good team. We got to keep pushing.

So very positive with the guys in the locker room. Those kids are disappointed, but same time, there's a good group of leaders and a good group of guys.

And I think there's a team that's might be a little disappointed and frustrated, but it's a good group that's confident, and we're going to keep them going and push forward for next week which is the biggest senior game.

Congrats to Iowa. Solid team. They played well. And proud of our guys, but got to keep pushing for more.

Q. What's missing from being close to getting a win?
COACH WILSON: Yeah, again, is it psychological, is it physiological, is it a play or two more? A play or a call or two?

To me, we have got too much evidence of too good week after week against a lot of good teams that there's good players and good football. And at the same time, we're going to have to ask and as coaches do better, players do better, plan it better.

I thought we had a good plan all phases. Thought we played pretty good today. But at the end of the day, it wasn't good enough and we really need to win. Like I say, you look at Shawn, Jake Reed, AJ Raynor those senior guys. Jerry, Corsaro, Cooper, Sudfeld. Got a great group of seniors.

Those guys have given us an unbelievable amount of energy in a program where we're trying to create it. And it's got to be created internally, day after day.

So, again, I just got a lot of respect for those guys. So my thing is as much as they have given us, I'm just -- I've got to ask them to keep finding a little bit more and dig a little bit more.

We got a couple minor injuries that doesn't affect us. Everybody has that.

Our depth and talent has gotten a little bit better, it could be better. We've gotten stronger, bigger, it could always be better.

But at the end of the day, we have gotten to where we're competing really high. That was where we started, wanted to get so to and now, we're at a point where we need to start winning.

At the same time, I'm not playing -- trying to pressure, we wanted to play this game confidently.

We wanted to play this game without a lot of force, you got to, you got to, you got to. As coaches, players, we tried to put our kids in good position and have them go play hard.

And Iowa was good today, we just weren't quite good enough. We're not going to get into the psychological side. I just think we're right there knocking on it. And my thing is you got to keep knocking and knocking and knocking until you get through it. And that's what we're going to do internally and I expected those guys to do it, the way we're coaching, the way we're being led by our players and assistants, I think we're going to do that. That's the plan and that's where it is. Don't like it, but that's where it is.

Q. Lack of production in the fourth quarter?
COACH WILSON: What was it today? 7-7? 14-10. So we got a drive bogged down or whatever. To me, today's issue was the third quarter. When we go five plays and eight plays, that's where the game got away a little bit.

In the third quarter they did a nice job of sticking it to us early in the third quarter. So, you know, defensively, we have not been good enough to sustain stops, we went a lot slower today. Didn't really matter how fast or slow you went on Iowa, they're going to play their same defense, their same structure. Tried to run it a lot against those guys, but at the same time I think, if anything, sometimes we're worn down and the wear down, as much as anything, has been our poor third down defense. It was a little bit better today, but we got to keep working on that.

Q. On defense's response to third and longs?
COACH WILSON: Again, to me, it's been a little bit of an Achilles Heel. We had five against Michigan State. We tried to keep getting some pressure. Does the pressure get there? Again, we'll keep looking at it schematically. Today they were what? 7-14. So they were 50 percent. We were 8-17 and we actually got two fourth downs, so really you're 10-17. So, of conversion downs, you know, we only, we're 10-17. So we got more conversions than they did, at the end of the day, to tell you the truth. So 50 percent's got to be better, but that's an undefeated football team. And that's typically why they're undefeated. They did pretty well.

Thought our guys battled a lot better. Defense was a lot better. But not satisfied with it, a lot better, I thought we made some strides just got to keep pushing. Right now the football team is pretty close, but today we played more like a team.

The defense got the stops in the second quarter that led to the offensive touchdowns. But in fact it was a punt that was down deep -- they took one 95 yards for us. They had a 95 yard drive. That was their second touchdown, correct?

Next time we downed it about the 8, 9, 10, again, but we had a three play stop, we got points. We had a kick off and I think we got another three or five play stop, we got points again. And on the sideline the conversation was, you're playing like a team now. You're getting stops, the offense is scoring, etcetera. The issue I thought, where the team let it get away, was in the third quarter, the offense didn't muster any offense early and I think that was the separation where then we weren't strong enough, weren't sure enough to close it back at the end.

Q. On losing TJ?
COACH WILSON: Yeah, we were fortunate because of Oliver and Simmons and those guys. There's depth, and my thing, like I had him say a quick word to the team, and let's make sure we play harder, because I thought it was a proper call, and I thought it was a good football play. It was just a play. And they didn't mean to -- it was a bang, bang play and it got a little high. And the crews are going to do phenomenal job trying to protect the athlete. So I thought it was a heck of an -- I thought it was the right call. I thought it was a good football play. It just happened.

And at the same time, I needed him to, even though it could have been a sideline, to be a good leader and we needed guys to pick it up, and I thought the guys did. And we tried to handle it positive. I'm not sure, but because it happened in the first half, I think he will be back with us the first half with Michigan. I think it happened at the end of the second quarter, so hopefully his penance has been served.

But I thought our kids rallied and wouldn't use that as a rallying call, but I tried to address him being strong for us in the locker room, and also tried to address the team, that wasn't bad, it just happened. And you got to overcome adversity and nothing was wrong there. That just happened and we're going to move only.

Q. On passing game struggles?
COACH WILSON: I don't know. A little bit. Again, Nate was a little bit off. So again we just got to work to clean up. We have been decent pass team. I know their defensive coaches well and they were pretty highly regarded team coming in. But again we got to be better than we were.

Q. On running game success?
COACH WILSON: Yeah, again, I think we're a better team when we can have the run. And I think that got us a little bit earlier where, again, it was some things that happened, I think, again, we had the injury to Friend, it's a minor deal, but it's a bigger blocking dude, edge presence. And Cooper got a little gimpy there. And so we didn't have Jordan Fuchs today, had an issue, a mild injury Sunday, hopefully will be gone this week. But didn't have Jordan at our disposal today.

But the tight ends are so much a part of your ability to run the ball or not run the ball. And your edge blockers. And that was one of the strength of Iowa, their tight end group is a really, really good group that gives makes their offense very complete.

And I think, not only the injury to Jordan early in the year, but the tight end deal hasn't played -- today we had better tight end play. And I think Jordan being back and the way it looked like Cooper and Cosaro and we had Brandon playing a little bit out there as well, I think that really helped the run game.

Q. Howard's lack of production in the second half?
COACH WILSON: I don't know just whether it be play selection, execution, their ability to deal on defense. The defense played good defense those first five plays and three and outs, that was kind of funky to me and it got us in a lull there for 20 minutes. It was different than some other games, but we were just in a little bit of a lull. We needed to come out and execute. I think we had the, what, we had the skinny post pass that was a drop and then we kind of ran it for much and kind of had like a bender route that was kind of there, we didn't, I think we had two drops on play, was it one and three, the second drive? Of the second half? I think so.

So we tried to take shot that was there and that happens sometimes. When you're throwing the ball, you don't catch them all, so, whatever. But we just, it was just the team's execution didn't give us enough snaps to get Jordan in a rhythm. And in some games -- that was a team where you need to get to play five and six and seven to have some offensive success. And when we did, we had some offensive success. When we got to play five and play six you could get rolling. But you had to get there. The couple drives we didn't was when the offense kind of let us down today.

Q. Keys to Michigan now? What are you looking at with them?
COACH WILSON: Well, good question. Haven't looked as much from afar, but know they're playing extremely aggressive. I believe they had another good win today. So a team playing hard, they got a lot of football to play for.

At the same time we have had some great challenges against upper level teams and I expect our coaches to put together a good plan, the kids to have a good week, senior day, make a big deal about senior day, because we got a lot of football to play with these kids going forward. But it will be a great challenge and we look forward to it.

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