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BIG TEN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: IOWA vs MICHIGAN STATE


December 5, 2015


C.J. Beathard

Kirk Ferentz

Jordan Lomax


Indianapolis, Indiana

Michigan State 16
Iowa 13


THE MODERATOR: We'll ask Coach Ferentz to make an opening statement. C.J. and Jordan, as well.
Coach.
COACH FERENTZ: Well, needless to say, we're really disappointed with the outcome. Came up short tonight. I just told the team and spoke on behalf of our entire staff, couldn't be prouder of this group. They've been fantastic to work with from day one. That was the same way this week. They put a great week of preparation in and I don't think could have competed any harder tonight.
Credit to Michigan State. They played a great football game. But our football team I thought played with great effort, unbelievable guts and courage out there, continued to exhibit just stellar teamwork.
Really proud of them. We're disappointed with the outcome. But we still have another football game ahead of us, and we'll simmer on this one for a little bit and turn our sights to the next ballgame shortly. Again, I'm really proud of our football team and these two guys are representative of our football team, C.J. and Jordan.
THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions.

Q. Coach, obviously the game is just over, but can you talk for a moment, C.J. played out of his mind tonight, your entire team.
COACH FERENTZ: At a game like this, you're going to have two outstanding opponents, teams competing, I should say, our opponent tonight was an outstanding football team. They've played great all season long.
C.J. has played great all season long, too. We came into the season, he started one game in his career, he played like a veteran right from the start. Certainly has impressed everybody in our football team, organization just with his courage, his preparation, the poise he plays with and the toughness he plays with.
Couldn't be happier than to be associated with a quarterback like C.J. And Jordan is the same way. Representative of our defense, work hard, committed. They were flying around, hitting, two good teams competing.

Q. Coach, I think you said before the game, you talked about inches. Maybe on that 22‑play drive that Michigan State had, what was your view on that with your season on the line there?
COACH FERENTZ: Well, wish it had a different outcome. We were confident right up to the last play we were going to make a stop down there, I think everybody on our team was. We've been there before and done that.
It was a great, competitive football game. They had it when they needed it. We couldn't quite get off the field. It's that close. It's how close this game was. I think that's how the margins between the two teams is.
Proud of the efforts. Nobody had their heads down out there. Just playing hard.

Q. C.J., obviously moments after the loss, but are you able to appreciate the amazing performance you had tonight?
C.J. BEATHARD: No, I mean, I don't really look at my own performance at all. I just know the team gave a good effort the entire night and we played tough. It was a tough game. Both sides of the ball played tough.
Credit to Michigan State. They played tough as well. But close game, we came out on the losing end of it. It's tough to handle, but you live with it.

Q. Jordan, what was the discussion in the defensive huddle on that last drive?
JORDAN LOMAX: It was just, Don't let up, keep playing tough and physical, just go out there and give it all you got. That's what all 11 players on defense did.
But Michigan State, they just came up and made a play.

Q. Coach, could you talk about C.J.'s pass play to Smith?
COACH FERENTZ: It was an excellent call by Greg up in the box. The guys up front really executed well, play‑action, protection was great. A tough group to block. They were really good pass‑rushers. The protection was great.
C.J. put it right out there on the money. De'Veon finished the play. Gave us a spark in the second half. Gave us an opportunity to take the lead. Just a tremendous play.
But characteristic of the way he throws the ball and the way he plays quarterback.

Q. C.J., can you describe the feeling of the ball being out of your hand for that whole nine‑minute drive, being on the sideline?
C.J. BEATHARD: Yeah, you know, it's tough. As an offensive player, you want to have the ball. The defense played well all game. We knew whatever happened that drive, we were either going to be in a two‑minute situation or a drive situation. Michigan State had a great drive at the end, but defense played lights out all game. It's tough. It comes down to the end of the game like that. Both teams fought hard the entire game, so...

Q. Jordan, go back to the fourth down when Cook ran to the left to get the first down. From your perspective, did you anticipate that, a run from him, considering he was injured?
JORDAN LOMAX: No. He just made a good play. He was able to get out and run for the first down. He was just being a play‑maker and was able to make the play.

Q. Jordan, on that last drive by Michigan State, was there one time when you thought you had them stopped?
JORDAN LOMAX: Yeah, we thought we had them stopped on one third down. They completed down the seam. We thought if we played that play, we might have made a better chance, put them in fourth down or go for it on fourth‑and‑15. We had our opportunities out there. It was a tough game. We played tough all the way till the end of the game. We just weren't able to come up with the big stop.

Q. C.J., can you talk about the feeling in the locker room right now. You have fought so hard. Every game seems like it's come down to the fourth quarter.
C.J. BEATHARD: Yeah, I mean, it's tough. We've gone all season long, haven't experienced what it feels like to lose a game. Every time we've been in that locker room after a game, it's been exciting, joyful and stuff.
It's just tough 'cause losing a game like that when it's that close, it's hard to handle. But we have another game ahead of us and we'll find out who that opponent is coming up here soon.
But, yeah, you just got to move forward.

Q. Even though tonight's outcome wasn't ideal, coach, can you talk about what it's like to be able to have the chance to play in Iowa's first Big Ten title game.
COACH FERENTZ: I said it yesterday. No different today. It's a lot better than sitting at home watching. I've done that for four years.
We played extremely well tonight. We played extremely hard against a great football team. They played well, too. So to be here competing, there's no substitute for that.
Time ran out on us. Congratulations to them. Time ran out. I feel like our team has a bunch of champions, too. Morgan said in the locker room now, it's probably true, we probably learned more about teamwork from our players this year than we taught them. It's been fantastic.
Any chance to play another game with them, that's a bonus. Luckily we still have one more in our future.

Q. Coach, I predict you're not going to speculate here. Maybe just what would it mean for you to play in your first Rose Bowl, coming down to you and Ohio State, do you feel you deserve that?
COACH FERENTZ: That's really the last thing that's been on my mind all week. I know it's been written about, what have you. I think the answer is nobody knows right now. Our focus was strictly on winning tonight.
Can't say enough about our fan support. They were here strong yesterday. They were certainly strong in that stadium. We appreciate that. I know wherever we go, there would be a lot of Iowa Hawkeye fans there, too. We'll look forward to that. Wherever they want to send us, we'll be eager to go.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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