Quotes Following Tulane's 36-33 Triple-Overtime Win Over East Carolina



Oct. 12, 2013

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Tulane 36, East Carolina 33 (3 OT)
Tulane Game 7
Mercedes-Benz Superdome
New Orleans, La.


Head Coach Curtis Johnson

Opening statement
"You know what, I told them I would give them the week off, and I really want to practice. But I told them that if they won the game they would get the week off, and all of a sudden, we won. I have to stick to my word, I'm a man of my word; I told them that anything goes, if they miss one class I'm just going to call them all in and roll them. It's a great victory, I just have to take my hats off to these coaches, whatever we are paying them we aren't paying them enough. They just keep these guys together; we lost our quarterback (Nick Montana), we lost our running back (Orleans Darkwa), we lost Chris Taylor, it was just one after another; we ended up having a mash unit by the end of this game. We got the momentum, we lost the momentum, and these coaches just kept these guys together; all of a sudden we are in a battle in overtime and we just kept plugging away. Our kicker is sensational; we have the best kicker in the country."

On lining up for the field goal on the first play of third overtime
"Absolutely. Without a doubt I set up for the field goal on the first play, because when you have the best kicker in the nation, that's what you do. I don't want to run a play, I don't want to do anything but make the kick and come in here and visit with you guys."

On Devin Powell coming alive in overtime
"We wanted to play a complimentary football game, all week long we talked about complimentary, we didn't want to start getting into a throw fest to put the pressure on this kid, we wanted to keep things at 3rd and short, and he made some and he missed some, but we just wanted to continue to play it close all game long. All of a sudden, the assistant coaches knew this, Devin Powell began to understand what we wanted to do, he began to do it, and he just played lights out in overtime."

On Ryan Grant's two touchdowns in the overtime periods
"He's playing well, he's really our leader; I was getting called a bad coach because he didn't get a touch, but all of sudden, Powell found him. We continued to throw and he continued to make plays, I just thought those guys played fabulous."

On the performance of the defense
"Our defense was amazing all night long. This defense has been playing well all season; we didn't play that well in a half against South Alabama and at all against Syracuse, but every quarter this defense has been playing lights out. We have great players over there, they are keeping us in the games, and they are taking games over like they did today."

On continuing to get opportunities to win games like this
"You just want to accelerate this learning curve, this team is a young team, most of these guys will be back for another two years, and you just want to accelerate it and accelerate it, but sometimes you have to take it slower and go through some growing pains, and today we did go through some of those, but we still came out on top. Ruffin McNeill does a great job with that team (ECU), that team put 55 points up on North Carolina. They didn't score a touchdown for most of the game against our defense, so this team (Tulane) is very good, our defense is very good, but that team (ECU) can score with the best of them. We controlled the clock, time of possession, we didn't just run up and down the field on them; we just played a great game and the coaches did a sensational job."

On this game being a benchmark
"I don't think it's that, I think it's just another game that we showed that we can come out and play well. When you say what's the benchmark, I think you have to look back at the season as we get going. When this season is over, with whatever it is we do, we'll look back and say that that was the turning point, but right now, we have a week off, we have to breathe a little bit, and we have to get some guys healthy."

On when he knew Nick Montana would not play
"I didn't think Nick was going to play after Syracuse, because he was just taking so many poundings, and I knew it would come to this point that we would have to sit him sooner or later. Part of the reason we haven't been throwing so much is because this kid has been getting killed, so this was it, enough was enough, I didn't want the police to come and arrest me for child abuse, so I had to sit him."

On Montana's injury
"It's his shoulder, his shoulder and everything else. If you see him walking, you'd think he was older than me. He needs a week of rest. We think that he will be ready for Tulsa."

On using Devin Powell in such a huge game
"Our motto is `Next Man Up'. It doesn't matter who it is, one of the things with this program is next man up. Those guys practice like they are ready to play every week."

On the play of Derrick Strozier
"He played fantastic. I don't know if this was his best game, since he did this two weeks in a row, because now I'm starting to expect it. He's playing well. I thought that his interception was the turning point in this game. However, to ECU's credit, Ruffin does a great job of fighting; they just kept coming back at us. They had three chances to quit and they never did."

On East Carolina's Warren Harvey missing the potential game-winner at the end of regulation
"My only thought on that was should I use my timeout, because I did the previous times and it didn't work out so well. Look, it's just a blessing to have Cairo, because I put him in bad positions sometimes, I expect him to make every 50 yard field goal, and no kicker is going to do that, and when you have 42 yard field goals like he did today, those are a walk in the park. I trust him a lot."

Senior PK Cairo Santos

On the emotion related to kicking the game winning field goal again
"As a kicker, you always like the games that you kick a lot and it was actually a lot of fun going out there. If it came down to me, I just want to win for my team and I did it for them. They did a hell of a job throughout the whole game, offense, and defense. Devin Powell really stepped up and won the game. I really liked that I had the opportunity to help my team out."

On hitting game-winning field goals in consecutive weeks
"Like I said, it's something that you dream of as a kid, but not this way. Not back to back. Five field goals and three overtimes... It's really living the dream."

Redshirt-Freshman QB Devin Powell

On how the game unfolded and your first start since last year
"I stayed calm in the pocket and listened to my coaches, Coach CJ, everybody. I just kept calm and played the game."

On his touchdown passes in overtime
"It was great. The coaches were calling it from the sideline. The coaches said to make your read and I listened to what they said and I put the ball up how I could do it."

On getting more comfortable as the game went on
"Yeah, I really did. I started feeling everybody and getting a great flow of the game. I did what I had to do."

On if he felt added pressure when the game went into overtime
"No, I didn't have any pressures. I just kept calm. I listened to my quarter back coach over the phone, kept calm. They told me I might have to go OT, that I need to keep calm, keep my level down, my composure. I just listened to the coach."

Senior DB Derrick Strozier

On his 99-yard interception return
"I was just looking to do whatever I could to try and get this team a win. In defense we tried to make some crucial plays, to help get the offense and the team going. And that was one of them."

On the defense being on the field for 90 plays
"We've been preparing for that type of tempo offense all week and all that preparation has paid off."

On the pressure of playing in overtime
"In OT, we were just looking to get the job done, whatever we could. I didn't care what happened, as long as we got the job done, as long as we got the win, we didn't have anything else to worry about."

Senior WR Ryan Grant

On his two touchdowns in overtime
"I knew I had to go down there and make those big plays for the team for us to come out with a victory. Powell threw some good balls tonight and I made the plays. Collectively, as a team, we played really well out there tonight."

On the performance of Devin Powell
"He played outstanding tonight. My hat goes off for Powell. He hasn't played in many games and he played really well tonight. I'm really proud of him."

On being 3-0 in Conference USA
"It feels amazing. I haven't felt like this since high school. It's awesome. I love being around these guys and I love the program, the coaches. Everything about Tulane right now is awesome."


Head Coach Ruffin McNeill

On forcing overtime
"That was a tough loss. The kids are taking it pretty hard. There were a lot of opportunities before overtime. I was proud how we fell down by ten points and fought back. I thought we made some good decisions to give us a chance to win in the end. You have to make plays and we came up short. But, I like the way the kids kept fighting."

On settling for field goals
"That is just part of the strategy. We would like to get touchdowns. But, you at least want to finish the drive with a kick, whether it is an extra point, a field goal, or a punt. We want to finish a drive with anything other than a turnover."

On what he said to his players
"No one person, no one group ever wins or loses a ballgame. The 24 hour rule is in effect. Our goal is still in front of us. We have to prepare for Southern Miss at home and the next three conference games. We will start getting ready for tomorrow night. We will evaluate film, make corrections, and move on."

On the play of Shane Carden
"On Mondays, when I give my press conference, I give a detailed description of the team that we are playing. We knew coming into the game that CJ had an experienced defense coming back, and they played that way. They got experience on the back end. They are able to blend coverages and blitzes. So, we knew we were facing a tough defense. They are not top in the nation in turnovers for nothing. Shane (Carden) kept his head up and kept fighting. He did what we asked him to do. We will keep fighting. The season is not over. That was one thing that I told them in the locker room. We have a lot of games left and Pirate Nation needs to think the same way. We have a lot of time left. That's where our mindset is."

QB Shane Carden

On the issues with the offense early in the game
"They were showing us some different looks and we were worried too much about what they were showing us and not just lining up and playing football. We were making corrections on the sideline, but to a point you got to just line up and play. We were letting what they were doing affect us a little too much. We were playing a little clutter minded and not clear minded how we normally like to play. We were not playing at a fast pace like we normally like to."

On what changed as the game went on
"We just started trusting it more and started playing faster and clear minded, understanding what they were doing and going back to the normal reads as a quarterback, wide receiver, running back. I think we did a lot better. I was very glad to see our offense step up. That fourth quarter we were fighting. We fought back and had some opportunities to win the game and I'm proud of our team for that."

On the use of screens during the game
"Little screens worked here and there. Also, the offensive line giving me a little more time to check down to the running back. They played pretty well and played up on our receivers. A couple times they weren't open and the running back did I good job of working themselves open."

On talking to Warren Harvey after he had a hard game
"I will just tell him that it is absolutely not his fault that we lost the game. We had plenty of opportunities. I had one terrible read and through that cost us a 14-point swing. It is never just one man, especially in football. We had plenty of opportunities to win. I understand he is going to be down but we are going to learn from this game and be ready for Southern Miss."

WR Justin Hardy

On getting back into the game and having a chance to win it at the end
"We can do a lot more things better on all three sides of the ball and the outcome would be a whole lot different.

On the slow start hurting the team
"It hurt a lot. We are big on starting fast and getting the offense going and helping the defense out. The slow start today hurts a lot."

On if his career day will stick in his memory
"Naw, we lost."