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October 3, 2017

Ryan Buchholz

University Park, Pennsylvania

Q. I know the offense gets a lot of hype because of Saquon and Trace, but you're giving up less than ten points a game right now and Top-30 in the country. What do you think has worked so well for you so far this season?
RYAN BUCHHOLZ: I think it's the leadership we have. Every position, we have older guys, like Jason at linebacker and Marcus at safety and trap, and D-Line we have Curt and Parker. We have a lot of guys that have a lot of experience are able to help out the younger guys, even in the game with plays and calls and stuff, and we communicate really well. So that experience that all those guys have helps.

Q. Wondering what kind of stands out to you when you look at this Northwestern offense, and especially Justin Jackson and how much of a handful he can be?
RYAN BUCHHOLZ: He's obviously a really good running back. He has good size and speed for that offense, and the offensive line moves really well.

I know they did a lot of stretch plays and zone plays to get the whole defense moving. As a whole, I would say they are a really good offense and they gave Wisconsin a run for their money, which also shows how good they are.

Q. You mentioned experience really playing a big role on the defense. How has your experience from game one against Akron to where you are now improved your game? Where are you more comfortable, what areas?
RYAN BUCHHOLZ: I would say just with the plays. I know I've been in the system for three years now, but just getting more game experience with plays, especially last week with Indiana and their fast-pace offense. We would have to look at the sideline and get the call real quick and you've got to know what you're doing like that.

Just I would say knowing the plays and knowing -- getting more accustomed to offenses of the teams we're going against.

Q. So going off the success, I want to know, is that at all frustrating to you to be a defensive guy and know the offense is going to be the one that takes all of the attention away from you guys?
RYAN BUCHHOLZ: Not at all. I think the same thing as having like certain stats, like they say, oh, I'm not upset that I don't have ten sacks. Jason is not upset that he doesn't have five interceptions. It's the same thing as individual stats, is like winning as a team. You don't really care about that stuff as long as you're winning.

I mean, personally, myself, I don't think we care as a whole defense, as long as we win and hold them to as few of points as possible.

Q. Talking about winning and this team, all the past games, it's been big moments where players are able to not kind of let the pressure get to them. How does this team continue to do that, especially looking back at Iowa, how do you maintain what you're doing and not let the pressure get to you in those games?
RYAN BUCHHOLZ: I think making big plays, and turnovers, especially; the offense is all doing their thing.

Just like last week, that second play on defense, after the first one, they got a pretty big -- well, they got the penalty, but they got a gain on that and we forced a fumble in the second play and we kept getting turnovers. I think getting turnovers and changing the field position will always be beneficial to keeping that spark.

Q. Last week, what did you identify as an issue in terms of allowing yards on the ground, or what did you guys feel up front and how are you taking that to this weekend? Obviously you want to keep forcing turnovers but limiting the opposing offense from gaining on you like they did in the first half.
RYAN BUCHHOLZ: I guess with that, obviously we were focused on stopping the offense as a whole but Indiana passed the ball a lot. They had like 400 yards passing in a couple games, so we were not more focused but that was a big emphasis.

I think last week it was just a little different because we thought they would pass a lot more. I know Iowa, we did really well against the run. I think it's just different week-to-week, how teams run their offense and how we're able to stop it.

Q. When you talk about the depth and versatility of the defense, how effective does that makes you guys as a unit?
RYAN BUCHHOLZ: I think it helps a tremendous amount. We rotate a lot of guys, and none of us are selfish. None of us want to be in there. Last week when we were talking about how to rotate a lot of guys with the way Indiana runs a fast-pace offense, the way just Spence was explaining it to me, I was like, take me out. Put Shock in.

If I'm tired, I'd rather have fresh legs in there, so I'm 100 percent happy with the rotation and the way it affects the game, because the offensive line is in there pretty much the whole game, but all of us are getting 20, 30 snaps. So I think it's really helpful.

Q. When you look at Northwestern, I think they have allowed -- since last year, they allowed 54 sacks in their last 17 games. What do you guys have to do to slow down that passing game to apply pressure to Thorson?
RYAN BUCHHOLZ: Obviously I think it would be early sacks. They are getting the ball off and getting good chunks of yardage on passes, then they will get more confident and throw it a little bit more. So I think if we get some early sacks, some early stops, some early three and outs, they are going to have to change their scheme a little bit.

So I think we get some early plays that change the game, it should help a lot.

Q. You look at Yetur and how he's progressed, what's impressed you from week one to now?
RYAN BUCHHOLZ: Definitely his knowledge of the defense. We're roommates in the hotel, and during our tests, I'll ask him if he has any questions, stuff like that, and each week he's having less and less questions about it.

At practice, he's having less missed assignments and stuff like that, so I think his knowledge of the game is really helping. His talent, size and speed is obviously good enough to play at this level. Now it's like the knowledge part he's getting down.

Q. Who are the best offensive linemen you've gone up against in your career?
RYAN BUCHHOLZ: I would say best/biggest were Wisconsin last year. They are some big guys. They are pretty scary to look at. They were huge.

I would say this year, Iowa was definitely a really good offensive line. They have some big guys and their offense is a really good scheme. It helps them out. They don't match-protect all the time. But they usually have a tight end in their blocking with them and those six guys blocking are a really good front six to block with.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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