“We came out and played a great first half, on both sides of the ball. We had a letdown in the kicking game but made up for it, we made a big play in the kicking game as well in the first half. But I thought we played a great first half.”
“We came out and stumbled around the second half a bunch. But as we’ve done all year, when we needed it we made plays. We made plays in the kicking game when we needed it with big punts. We made big plays on defense when we needed it, creating a turnover. And we made plays on offense when we needed it on that final drive to put the game away.”
“I’m really proud of our guys, I’m proud of the way they played, the effort they gave. And that was a great team effort. I’m proud of everybody in that locker room, that was a big win for all of us. I mean the scout team giving guys a great look. Just the mindset and the attitude of this team all week, I’m proud of how everybody performed.”
How big was John Banks’ turnover?
“We say all the time and you hear all the time, big-time players make big-time plays in the big games. Banks did. Right there, we needed a play there. Banks came up and made the play. And all year it hasn’t been one guy, he’s one that we depend on. But when we needed it our guys, our seniors, our leaders step up and make the big plays. That was as big a play as there was in the game.”
How important was it to put up early points and control the clock the first half?
“Yeah, that was huge. I think part of it is we never let their offense get in rhythm. They did in the second half a little bit, and the turnover broke it and we were able to drive some.”
“But in the first half we never let their offense get in rhythm. And we know what a high-powered offense they are. We kind of never let it get going first half, that was huge for us to be able to control the clock and control the tempo the way we did.”
Talk about the night Russell had?
“A heck of a game by Tyler. He made good decisions for us, made the plays when we needed to. We were telling him you’ve got to manage the game.”
“He missed a couple of throws in the third quarter, and there were a couple of reads we wanted to make. We missed those reads and had some guys open, we just missed them. But you know what, the great thing as Tyler has done, he’s a mature guy; he managed the game. Not that he is a game manager, he managed the game in that he never got flustered. Even when we were kind of slipping, when we weren’t performing on offense, he was calm, collected, and made the plays he needed to make. Especially in the fourth quarter there at the end.”
Your team finally showed it had a knockout punch?
“We did. It was great. Guys came out and performed and made the plays we needed to make. They really did. That pass to Chad Bumphis, he checked it out on his own and just saw the one-on-one coverage and decided to take a shot. Fortunately he hit it, for him! But that is what he’s done. We have so much confidence in him to put the game on his shoulders. And our offensive line responded, just everybody. When we needed those plays they made it and just a great team performance tonight.”