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November 21, 2015

Paul Chryst

Madison, Wisconsin

Northwestern - 13, Wisconsin - 7

COACH CHRYST: Well, it was a tough game to lose. Appreciated and told the kids this, appreciated the way they kept playing and kept playing together and we had a chance at the end to win it.

I thought our defense played tremendous and individual efforts, group efforts, gave us a chance to be in that game and to win. And that's not common.

You turn the ball over five times, four on offense, one on special teams and even to have a chance to win the game, that's a credit to that group.

And appreciated the resiliency of the guys and the grit and felt we -- actually I thought we won it a couple times, but we didn't. You just got to keep playing. And we struggled, offensively, all day. Didn't go a good job of running the ball, protecting the quarterback. And early in the long first downs turned into long and we weren't efficient at all. That's on me. We got to be better.

In the end of the game, we got to do better. But appreciate this group a ton. And I feel bad for the seniors that this is their last game at Camp Randall, but feel fortunate to have one more game with this team in the regular season and this group's earned the right to play in a bowl game and so we get to keep this team going. And it's a good group to be around and appreciate that a ton out of them. And we can still play better. But that's a tough one.

And appreciate what the kids put into it. And we have an opportunity to bounce back and play again next week.

Q. You mentioned you thought you guys had won it a couple times. Did you think that when you saw the replay, did you think both were coming back? Did you think that was the right call and how difficult is it to for a team to go back out there when they think they had the game-winning touchdown and had to regroup and go out there again?
COACH CHRYST: Well, I think that you have to do it. The one thing with the reviews, you have time to talk to the guys, to kind of have a plan. It kind of goes fast on you, but we actually had some time and the end of the game, you know, there's a chance that the ball is going to be on the 1 and didn't have any timeouts. And you want to maximize the number of opportunities you can get to have kicks at the can, maybe, is a better term.

And felt pretty good with the things that we went to. I thought we had it on the first one to Jazz, and was surprised it went to review, but it did. We had time if it didn't go, what are we going to do. And we had a play that got the look that we wanted. And we had a chance to talk about it out there and get it out and that's the one thing that didn't happen.

Really an interesting sequence. And I give Artie credit our quarterback, he doesn't know where it's at. He said he wanted to try to huddle it up and then Artie gets underneath and hawks the ball and gives us one more chance at it.

And actually had a chance, an opportunity because of the timeouts for Bart to be able to get squared away. And we had the first time we -- they showed a look and we had been good with that one. And so, if that was the coverage at the end that we were trying to get and we just didn't finish it.

Q. You mentioned the lack of ability to protect the quarterback. Six sacks they had. On the last one, the pressure got to him but should Joel have been able to get the ball out of there before he got that sack?
COACH CHRYST: To be honest with you, I was kind of -- with -- I was putting it on the back part and didn't see it. I think that even if it's cloudy, because where we were at -- and we had time to have multiple reviews to be able it talk about. Because you still have the run in your back pocket and trying to figure out. Hindsight, I wish I would have gone to it, right? But I got to live with that one.

I don't know if he had or not. I think that if it was muddy at all -- I think he got back to the top of his drop. And if it's muddy, then -- but I don't know.

Q. You mean he should have run it the first time, was that what you were thinking?
COACH CHRYST: No. But second down I wouldn't call something and take a sack.

Q. Sounded like you didn't necessarily agree with the TV call, even at this point after seeing the replays and stuff?
COACH CHRYST: Yeah, I thought that he had gotten a couple feet down, a couple steps. And very similar, maybe to what happened on Tanner, the first fumble that we had on where he got his feet down and then the ball comes out. Doesn't matter what I think. And I thought it was pretty good.

Guys, we did not play well offensively, but I give them credit for continuing to play and give us a chance at the end.

Q. Can you guys win a lot of football games not being able to run the ball like today?
COACH CHRYST: Makes it really hard, I think. You've got to be able to run the football. And certainly, the six sacks add to the total. But we were not getting anything consistent and that's hard. We have got to do a much better job running the football if we really want to have a chance to win games.

Q. What was your opinion of the punt return, Alex's punt return, that was called back?
COACH CHRYST: Everyone's used to the over-the-head fair catch signal. And now I understood what they were calling. When the ball bounces short and you try to warn everyone to get away from the ball. Any signal at all. I mean, the returner can't advance it.

Q. Did you anticipate coming in or at least was it a concern of yours that their defensive front, which was pretty darn good, would be such a major issue today?
COACH CHRYST: Going into it we knew that was going to be one of the challenges and we didn't rise up to that.

Q. Talk about the five turnovers. What role that played in the game. I know Joel had a hand in three of them.
COACH CHRYST: Yeah, I mean it's huge. The first one I think was the shallow cross with Tanner, and we're not even giving ourselves -- really what you're trying to do on that is, if you catch it in the right couple coverages, then you got a chance to maybe throw in a screen.

And then when we had the tip. And that was just the short field, the other one was midfield, I think, and you had the short field and then we had another one -- interception on first down. That kills you. I mean there's nothing more demoralizing than a first down turnover. So I thought those were -- we just made it hard on ourselves.

Q. Did Walker sustain any kind of injury during the game?
COACH CHRYST: He did. He couldn't finish it.

Q. Alex, was he maybe trying to do too much to make up for something?
COACH CHRYST: On the punt return?

Q. The punt return that he muffed?
COACH CHRYST: I think there's a little bit of that. And blitz, you appreciate what he's trying to do. And I think -- I think he too felt that, hey, I can make something happen against this group. And that never -- I love guys that put themselves out there and there's always a fear of failing.

And you know what, I'll take him every time, every game. But you don't want him to fumble and he doesn't want to. But that's the thing you appreciate about these players, is the work that they put in and the willingness to put themselves in front of all these people. And they're the lucky ones.

I'm not trying to make it feel sorry for him, but kind of respect for guys that go out and put themselves out there. And you know what, to win a game you got to go make plays. And it doesn't always go your way, but I appreciate Alex, everyone, and we're talking about, I guess, it started because you asked me about Alex and the punt return. But the guys putting it out there and doing what they can. This team means a ton to these guys. The individual players. And they will do anything for the team. And that you appreciate a ton.

Q. What was your plan for Corey coming into this game?
COACH CHRYST: Didn't have a clue of what to expect. With Corey, it's week-to-week whether he would even play and then it's warm ups and how's he feeling. I thought he did some good things. He was patient. Talking about earlier, we were struggling to get anything going in the run game, but I thought he did some good things. It, obviously, was a big touchdown run. And but, no, we didn't have a pitch count, because we didn't know where it would go.

Q. What happened to Joel at the end of the game?
COACH CHRYST: He got a -- he got hit and was disoriented. We weren't going to put him in for the last play. I just knew that he wasn't right.

Q. This was like the last game against Maryland, where you made some adjustments in the second half and came out pretty strong offensively and defensively. But this time you weren't able to sustain it through the third quarter into the fourth. What do you think the difference was there, just a lack of execution or did Northwestern kind of make some adjustments back?
COACH CHRYST: I mean there's a lot in that question. I think that it all comes down to execution and truthfully, different types of games.

And we did. We came out and we had -- we scored and guys made some plays. And I thought, defensively, that we were playing well in the first half. And I thought we came out and played well in the second half.

I think execution is the key to this game. Especially offensively. Executing defense is reactionary and so, we just made a couple plays and didn't turn the ball over. And you have a chance to -- we made some adjustments, but actually made some adjustments in the first half that didn't work real well.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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