Central Michigan head coach Dan Enos addressed the media after the Chippewas' 38-17 loss to Toledo on Saturday. Enos talked about CMU's rushing offense, freshman quarterback Cooper Rush's play and the Chippewa defense.
"In the first half, we turned the ball over in our own end and gave them a touchdown. They really only had one touchdown drive in the first half. It was 24-17 going into the fourth quarter. I thought we ran the ball well, had good play-action to keep them off balance, but at the end of the day, it was four turnovers to one. That was the story of the ballgame. We had a freshman quarterback make mistakes and they had a senior quarterback who didn't make any. [Owens] made plays. I loved the way our guys played. In the pass game, we had a couple of drops. We punted twice the whole game, before that last drive. On one punt, we were on about the 35-yard-line and wanted to pin them down in their own end, and we did that. We moved the ball on that drive as well. We had 23 first downs; stats are for 'losers.' It's comforting looking at the stats, but they don't do any good if you lost."
On if he was surprised that Terrance Owens played
"No I wasn't. I thought they were looking for a spark and Terrence Owens is a good player. He's been in this league 3-4 years. I watched him run around a little bit before the game and he looked like he could play."
On Cooper Rush's interceptions to Toledo linebackers:
"On the first one, it was five-man protection against a six-man rush, he should've thrown it away. On the second one, it was also a five-man protection against a six-man rush, and he should've thrown it away. He's got to get rid of it, he's holding onto the ball too long."
On Cooper Rush mistakes:
"I always want to give credit to the other team. They had guys who were in the right spot at the right time. On one of them, he did not see the defender at all. When you play that position, that stuff happens. I remember playing in the fifth grade and there were a few times where you throw a pass and you say 'oh man.' Things get lost in there. On the first one, he should've read the other side. On the second one, we had a crossing route that would've gotten 8-9 yards and made it 3rd-and 1; he forced the ball and turned it over. You can't beat great teams turning the ball over. That's the bottom line."
On Cooper Rush still hanging his head after UNLV loss:
"No I didn't see that. I just think he's a freshman, he made mistakes. It was his second start, we need a quarterback to play well in this offense. We need a guy who can make some plays. He's got to get better and play well for us."
On having balance on offense:
"We threw for 214 yards and ran the ball for 160. I thought we were very balanced. The way the game was going, we were pretty efficient. We got the ball to Titus [Davis] and some of the other guys. The way the game was going, we felt good about our run game. We did some things we liked; our offensive line, tight ends and wide receivers did a good job blocking. I thought we ran the ball very, very effectively. Our passing game was respectable, but we threw two picks."
On comparing both teams running games:
"We lost about 20 yards due to sacks. Our tailbacks had 37 carries for 189 yards, so that's a good day. What they did in the first half, we bottled up. In the second half, they had big runs. They grinded it out. I said this at the start of the week: I thought their offensive line is the best in the league, and I'll probably stick with that until we play Northern Illinois. They were very physical."
On how to keep the mood "fresh" in the locker room with a 1-3 record:
"The players can tell you, I only know one way: keep fighting. Gets your hands up, get your chin down, and keep swinging. You can't feel sorry for yourself, because nobody else feels sorry for you. I've been through all of it. I've been through it as a player, coach, assistant coach, now a head coach. There's one way to go about things and that's straight ahead. You know what, we talk to these guys everyday about adversity. About being a man and taking things head on. And believe me, I'm never giving up. And we're never going to give up around here. Our guys are going to work and come to practice tomorrow and bust their fannies. But to keep it fresh, it's hard. Last week we were up 21-0 and today it was 24-17 and I told the guys, we have to find a way to win. We have to make plays and find ways to win."
On being 1-3 with the upcoming three-game road trip:
"Thanks for reminding me, but you're telling the truth. We have to take them one at a time. If you start looking at them as a whole, it gets difficult. We have a tough North Carolina State team this week. I told the players that nobody will feel sorry for them. Hands up, chin down, keep swinging."
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