Post-Game Quotes: Stanford 45, Notre Dame 38

A statement-making Toby Gerhart came through with a stunning performance for the ages. The Stanford team's raucous chants of "Heisman! Heisman!" could be heard through the walls of the Cardinal locker room. A thrilling 45-38 comeback victory over Notre Dame broke a seven-year winless streak against the Irish and a packed house witnessed a tremendous football game in which the Cardinal "finished".

Post-Game Quotes: Stanford 45, Notre Dame 38

Stanford/ND Post game with Toby Gerhart, Andrew Luck, and Richard Sherman

 

RB Toby Gerhart (#7) on the final drive…

 

"We had to score. We had six minutes, five minutes, we wanted to end the game with the ball in our hands and when we had an opportunity like that we did not want to be denied. It was a good drive all around. The offensive line got after them, I was dying. I couldn't breathe, but we finished in the end zone and that's what we wanted to do, make it tough on them and the defense stepped up on the last play and we came out victorious"

 

Gerhart on his surprise touchdown toss to Ryan Whalen

 

"We had been practicing it once a week. One time a week I get a shot at it and I kind of just threw up a prayer. In practice it's always wide open and in the game they had a guy whose back was turned and it was fourth down and I just kind of threw it up there and he (Ryan Whalen) made a great play!"

 

Gerhart on his previous passing experience…

 

"I think I was 1-2 in high school. I threw one for a touchdown and one I just threw out of bounds because the guy was covered. I threw it way out of bounds, like into the stands, because the guy was covered."

 

Toby Gerhart on today's performance and his Heisman candidacy…

 

"It's a team game. It was a good all around game. It was one that people want to see. It was high-scoring, the defense stepped up, and the offense stepped up in the second half. I played well enough to win the game, help my team win. I don't know, it's not up to me, it's up to everyone else to invite me or whatever so I just went out and tried to help the team win"

 

QB Andrew Luck (#12) on Toby Gerhart and the Heisman race…

 

"Toby's way too much of a great guy and too humble to say anything about himself, but how can you not at least invite him to that (NYC). He put his team on his back, he's the man. He makes everybody in the locker room behind us a better player. He makes my life a whole lot easier. The things he does, how fast he is for being his size. That one play where he ran over the safety kept the drive going. It's unreal, it's hard to describe in words. I think he deserves it."

 

Andrew Luck on Gerhart's reaction to the halfback pass play-call…

 

"I didn't see one [a reaction]. We practice it a lot during the week and I was like 'that's an interesting call', but I liked it. It was ballsy. I'm sure he was confident. Whalen made a heck of a catch, like I'm sure Toby will say, but I didn't see his reaction."

 

Toby Gerhart on Notre Dame possibly allowing him to score on Stanford's last drive…

 

"I think so. I think they wanted to get the ball back and have one more opportunity. They all just kind of stepped out of the way. It was kind of anti-climactic."

 

Andrew Luck on the two-point conversion to TE Jim Dray…

 

"It was a play-action. We had run so much power down by the goal line - we were trying to get them to bite on the power and then kick it out into the flat or in the corner behind the flat to the tight end or to Owen. Jim was just sort of running a clear-out to pick some guys or get some other guys open but they played it well and Jim just ran so I looked back to the backside and threw it up. I have a lot of confidence in Jim Dray making plays. He had a great catch on a third down earlier in the game. He did his job and I put the ball in a good enough place for him to make the play."

 

Toby Gerhart on post-game celebration on the field…

 

"It was mayhem. It was a good way to go out. It was the last game for a lot of these guys and to celebrate a win with your teammates with all the students and the fans. I don't know what to say. I'm still excited and I was getting shaken and I couldn't hear anybody talking  - it was just crazy! That's the way it should be, that's the way to finish a regular season and that's something I'll always remember."

 

CB Richard Sherman (#9) on the defense growth and development this year…

 

"Yeah, it is an incredible feeling. As a defense you always learn as the season goes on, you get more comfortable with the scheme. With the offense you can do it every time - you can practice plays, but on defense until the other team comes out, you can't really get the same look you'll get in the game. As the season progressed I think we got better and better and personally, I think I got better with my technique and had a lot tighter coverage. Today I gave up a pick opportunity and could have made some plays, but didn't."

 

Sherman on the transformation from 1-11 in 2006 to a 8-4 record in 2009...

 

"Toby and I came in together and he was here every day and those were rough times. Any time you go 1-11 and you come from high school not knowing what to expect with a team that went 5-7 the year before. You don't know what to expect. That's rough, but you try to build on that and every year we have won more and more games. I've been confident in my fellow players and we've all grown as a team. The senior leadership has been great and even the seniors before helped build this base for what we have now, this 8-4 season, I give all the thanks to the people who came before us."

 

Sherman on Golden Tate and Jimmy Clausen

 

"I mean, Jimmy throws a great ball. You have to give him all the credit in the world and you also have to give credit to Golden Tate because he goes up and makes the tough grabs you have to make. Jimmy's a great quarterback. He's obviously NFL- caliber and he's going to make it to the league and he's probably going to get picked up high this year if he chooses to go - and so will Golden. They're great athletes and when you have great athletes on the field, you try to contain them. You try to do what you can to stop them, but it's always difficult."

 

Richard Sherman on the defense's fourth quarter stops…

 

"Basically we looked each other in the eyes and said, "Man Up!" We looked at our d-line, our linebackers, our defensive backs, "Man Up!" We know #7 (Gerhart) is going to take us to the promised land. All jokes aside, he'll take us. He'll take us on his back and I have a front seat, so all we have to do is make some stops. That's exactly what we said."

 

Luck on the sense of accomplishment he feels after finishing the regular season with a big win... 

"I'm very happy. I'm just glad to be a part of this team.  I think we've come a long way offensively from the start of this year. We've started to figure out how to win close games and finish the tight ones. It's a lot of fun and I feel very comfortable."

 

Gerhart on breaking the 2001 team's record for total points…

 

"I think we're just a dangerous offense. All year long, week-in and week-out Coach Shaw always says that we stop ourselves. It's hard for us to "get stopped". And whenever we do get stopped, we do it to ourselves. Penalties, turnovers things like that. We just stuck to our system and got better each week. Our offense is dangerous. You got Luck, dangerous receivers, an awesome offensive line, the Tunnel Workers Union, and we have the capability to put up points every week. As the season progressed, we got better and better and kept putting up points and this is something that, as I said, we'll all remember. We'll all go down in the history books temporarily, I'm sure we'll get better and better and break it (the single-season scoring record) next year but for our moment of glory, this is something we'll all remember."

 

Head Coach Jim Harbaugh Post-Game Q and A

 

Opening Statement…

 

"That is 'finishing'. That is 'finishing'. Our players played a great second half and just played their hearts out the whole game. So many individual performances that were outstanding, starting with Toby, Andrew, Ryan Whalen, Jimmy Dray  - incredible, incredible job, just not being denied. Chris Marinelli, playing a on a high ankle sprain the whole game, usually you're out for six weeks with those things, but so many guys…Michael Thomas, Delano Howell throwing his body around, Nathan Whitaker - you can imagine the emotions Nate was feeling all game and to step up there and play brilliantly, placing kicks, kicking the ball into the end zone, just so many guys like that."

 

On Toby's play...

 

"Well he's made that statement the entire year. He sure did it tonight. It was incredible to watch. A phenomenal football player, one of the best I've ever been around."

 

On beating ND, USC, and Oregon down the stretch run…

 

"Yeah, it was some kind of stretch to have on your schedule. I though our players did a great job, just handling success, handling adversity, rising from adversity, handling rewarding times, they just kept plugging away and I think it all starts with the seniors, those guys who have been around here for a long time and have seen it all and have seen all of Stanford Football for the last five years. It's really been their fire, their desire to win, that has fueled this team."

 

On Marinelli playing through the injury...

 

"He wasn't able to practice until Thursday and he just gutted it out, toughed it out, never said a word about it, just said he was fine, ready to go. But, I mean, anybody who has had a high ankle sprain can tell you that's a tough thing to play on."

 

On potentially icing the game by further running the clock on the final scoring drive…

 

"Yeah, we did, we talked about it. It was definitely a prudent option, taking a knee on first, taking a knee on second and trying to run it in on third with very little time left in the game and, if we didn't get it on third, then kicking it on fourth. We talked about it, but decided to just put the foot on the gas and go.

 

On not running out the clock in that situation…

 

When it doesn't work you're able to second-guess that too, but this time it worked. That was definitely a prudent option to take the knee and all that, but a lot of things can happen on a field goal, it just takes a little bit of a muffed hold and those don't work all the time and aren't fool-proof. I know everybody thinks the other option is the fool-proof one until it isn't - then you say "Why didn't you do the other?" Just proud of our guys, we don't lose any confidence in our defense, put a TD up there…I don't think I need to say anything else to explain it.

 

On his post-game interaction with Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis…

 

"Just the customary. Said congratulations and great game."

 

On the defense making critical fourth quarter stands…

 

"The second half I thought we played better defensively. Not the way we want to play…we have some work to do but fortunately we have some bowl practices. We've never had that before around here. That's like 15-20 practices where you can get better. That's a great advantage teams have had over us. That's like another spring ball 'plus'."

 

On Toby's touchdown pass…

 

"Pretty much all year we've been practicing that. Sometimes it's looked good, sometimes it hasn't. Coach Willie Taggart suggested it and we went with it. It as covered well – it was a perfectly thrown ball. I think Toby was kind of just throwing it up and putting it over the defender's head and then Ryan made an incredible play and fortunately we got the interference call as well - but Ryan picked it clean."

 

On the possibility of a run option on that play…

 

"It's a straight pass. It's a run if it's covered. But it's not an ideal run because people are pass-blocking."

 

On Toby Gerhart's Heisman trophy candidacy…

 

"I think he's said it all…he's really said it all with the way he's played. He's been about it - he hasn't talked about it. He's just gone out week after week and been 'about it'."

 

On whether he will talk with Toby about #7 heading to the NFL…

 

Yeah, we'll talk about it. He's such a great player. I assume he'd be a high pick, but we'll talk about it. I do expect to be accompanying him to the Heisman Trophy presentation in New York!

 

On this 2009 season…

 

"Really proud of our guys mostly...They've fueled this. It was their fire that fueled this. I am proud of them. 8-4 is a heck of a season and we've got another game to go."

 

On taking over a 1-11 team…

 

"When I first met them, the positive that I noticed was that they were a group that was tired of getting their butts kicked and I knew we could work with that. That was the starting block."

 

On possible bowl preferences…

 

"They all sound terrific to me."

 

 

Notre Dame Coach Charlie Weis

 

On the loss…

 

"It was a microcosm of our season. You know when we're up 38-30 and then they come down and score and then they go for two to tie. You figure, "Here we go again." Then we move the ball some and then get stopped on that rd & 1. They move the ball down there and were forced to do something and then we go, "What are we doing letting them score?" I figured it was the only way to get us an opportunity to get it down there and score. We get it down to the 30 yard-line with an opportunity to get it to the end zone, but with the way things were going today, crazier things have happened and we just played short…It's just the way this year has been."

 

On Jimmy Clausen and Golden Tate…

 

"The both of them are just awesome. They put in phenomenal performances. Everyone was wondering if we were going to show up or not and they did. They certainly answered the bell."

 

On Stanford's offense…

 

"They had some long drives in the game. We'd punt them down there, get them down there at the 12 one time…At the end of the day, they were very efficient on offense and good enough to beat us."

 

On Toby Gerhart…

 

"He's a big physical runner. Everyone thinks he just runs North-South but they run him to the edge a lot on a toss or a toss-sweep. When he gets to the edge, you're in trouble."

 

On the Irish Special Teams…

 

"They made a game-changing play there. When we were down 7-0, they got us the ball there on the 16-yard line and set up our first score. We weren't going to let Owusu beat us on kickoff returns. We realized they might get some field position, probably a little more than we wanted them to get. But we were rolling, trying to get them to the 30-yard line, just not to give them a potential game-changing play."

 

On ending the season…

 

"I feel really bad for the outgoing players. I think too many times we forget that these guys are kids. There's a bunch of 22-, 23-year-old young men right there, finishing out their careers, losing the last four games. They feel miserable and I feel miserable for them."

 

Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen

 

On losing a close game to Stanford…

 

"It's difficult. We were talking in there, and it's just close games. To be honest with you, we didn't finish. For whatever reason, I've been trying to find the answer all season long, especially these past few weeks…It's hard, I'm sorry. It's frustrating. It seems that every time we lost a game by a touchdown or less. I'm a real competitive athlete – you know it's just really tough.

 

On potentially coming back to Notre Dame…

 

"To be honest I haven't sat down with anyone. The season is over now, I'm going to sit down with Coach Weis, my family, and you know, take it from there."

 

Coach Weis' message to the players after the game…

 

"You know, we're just going to keep that in the locker room, but you know, he just told us he's really proud of us and the way every single time that we're down that we are fighting back, never giving up. I give Coach Weis and all the coaches a lot of credit for sticking with us through thick and thin. It's just tough not being able to finish those games and get those W's. Like I've told you all many times, the reason why I stepped on campus was because of Coach Weis. To be honest, I wouldn't be here right now if it wasn't for him. I've got to thank him, his family, Charlie Jr. for everything they've done for me."

 

On potentially going to a bowl game…

 

"I'm going to talk with the rest of the captains. Obviously we want to go to a bowl game; it's like a vacation. But we've got to talk it over with the captains, the rest of the team, and take it from there. We have a meeting on Monday with the captains the leadership committee, and then a team meeting, so we'll see from there."

 

On the black eye…

 

"You guys have talked about it for a week or so. You see my eye right now, but to be honest - I'm just really disappointed and sorry for those seniors. The last game of their careers and we couldn't finish it off."

 

On the black eye's impact on his performance…

 

"No, not at all. I was out there, you all saw me practicing. We just went on with our business. We had a real good week of preparation."


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