Nov. 3, 2007

Recap |  Final Stats |  Notes



On why he didn't run the ball more
"They were in an eight-man front and single-man coverage on both wide receivers and we wanted to see if we could open up the passing game a little bit and get them off the running game. It obviously didn't work. We did throw the ball quite a bit and we made some yards throwing the ball, but had a hard time running the football."

On his thoughts of the game
"I wasn't pleased with the game itself. Physically, they beat us in all three phases: offense, defense, kicking game. Offensively, we had a hard time running the football. We didn't have the ball as much as we would've liked. Defensively, we couldn't stop the run or the pass. Kicking game-wise, they run a kickoff back for a touchdown. That was our worst football game of the year. We were just physically beat in the game tonight."

On starting the second half in a good position
"We started the second half with an onside kick and recovered it and took it down the field and scored. And you know, it put us in a pretty good position to be competitive. And we kickoff off and they run it all the way back for a touchdown. It kind of takes the wind right out of your sails."

On the three turnovers in the first half
"That's one of the things I said at halftime. We had three opportunities and we only took advantage of one of them. Plus, we went down the field and we're on the one yard line, fourth down and didn't score and that's like a turnover too. We just didn't take advantage of the few opportunities that we had.

On the few amount of carries by Forte
"Basically, it was the way they were playing their eight-man front. They did a good job of taking our running game away from us and then keeping the football. We couldn't get the football back. They did a great job of controlling the ball. I don't know what the amounts of snaps were or the time of possession, but we didn't get the ball back. We could not stop the run or pass tonight."



On if their no-huddle style had any effect on the loss
"No, we've been seeing that for the last four or five weeks. That's what is invoked in college football. No, that had nothing to do with it. What had something to do with it is we couldn't stop the run and we couldn't stop the pass. If you can't stop either you're in trouble. They were better than us tonight."

On why the energy level began to slack off towards the end
"Well part of it is we were getting a lot of pressure. We had a hard time protecting. We didn't do a very good job of protecting the quarterback and we didn't get guys open. They had some opportunities; they just didn't get it done."

On their conversion of third downs
"Third downs are a big deal. It was third and nine, they convert. Every third down it seemed like they converted. They ran a wrap-around draw one time for a third and 10 and we didn't stop the play all night. So, again, you have to give credit to them. They converted third downs and we didn't convert third downs. We didn't take advantage of the opportunities we had, when we had them with the turnovers."

On Tulsa's quarterback
"I told you going in he's the best quarterback we'll see all year. I think he proved it tonight. He's a winner. He's a great leader, a great kid. He can throw the ball. He can hurt you with his legs. He's very smart. He's the total package."


On how frustrating it was to not be able to convert third downs
"It's key. It's what you've got to do to be successful, and we didn't do it. It was all night. We've go to look at the film and see why and work on it. Get back to work at it because third down conversions are big in this game, and if you don't get them you don't stay on the field, and we didn't do a good job of that."

On if this the loss was a big let down trying to turn the season around
"Yeah, it's a letdown to lose every game. If we win this one and we go four-for-four, we're in the bowl, and we didn't. We didn't get it done. Nobody likes to lose. We work too hard to have outcomes like this. So of course it's bad when you lose. I mean, every loss is bad."


On how frustrating it was to not be able to convert third downs
"Third conversions are key. If you don't get them, it kills your drive and you can't keep the clock rolling and you can't keep possession of the ball. So, if we don't get third down conversions, it kills your whole game and your game plan. "

On what made it hard to rush against Tulsa in the game
"I guess it was their scheme. They had a lot of blitzes coming in from all over the place. We had a problem with targeting the right people to block. That makes it difficult on the line and fullbacks. I guess we just didn't do a good job of that."


On his forced fumble in the first quarter
"Honestly, our backs were against the wall so we had to play like it. I felt that defensively it was a challenge because this was a real good offense, so we had to step up to it. Luckily I saw the guy coming across the middle, so I just made a play. Over the top it was a good disguise call by coach, and the quarterback didn't read it so I made the play."

On how Tulsa's offense beat the defense
"We had a good game plan. We just didn't match their effort here. Point blank, we just didn't match their effort. We've just got to play with pride now."


On what is left to play for the rest of the season
"Just pride. Coach Toledo told us we've got three games left on the schedule and you can't just let them go away, so you've got to play the game and show everybody what you're made of. You have to show your character in these last three games so that's what we're going to go out and do."

On if the team was pleased with the ability to make long passes
"Definitely. We can take some good out of every game. We knew coming into this game that they were going to stack the box, put seven or eight guys in the box, and we would get one-on-one matchups on the outside, and we just took advantage of them. But obviously it wasn't enough."



Opening comments
"It was big. Actually all of them are big when we're in a must-win situation. I'm really proud. I thought the defense was getting better. That was a big time performance by our defense - championship performance by our defense. That guy there [Matt Forté] is as good of a running back as there is in the country, and I thought we did a great job in defensing him; keeping him corralled up. I'm just really proud of how the defense played all night.

"Offensively, same thing. We turned the ball over - we had one fumble we want to eliminate. And we had one interception because the guy ran the wrong route. We've got to be perfect next week, going into next week's game. It's for the western division championship. That's what you want. To come on the road and get a win, have a decisive win. That's very big. This is the closest we've had to a complete game so far. I really challenged Jammad [Williams] to step up at running back with Tarrion [Adams] banged up. And Jammad did an unbelievable job running the ball. He was very physical, finishing runs, running hard. I'm proud of him and how he stepped up."

On defending Tulane's running back and Heisman Trophy candidate Matt Forté
"He put a whole bunch of people down. He is just really, really a special back. We had one more down than they could block, every time. That made it one-on-one on the outside. I'm really proud of them. We gave up one long pass that I was upset about - we blew a coverage. But other than that, I was really proud of how the defense played. I was proud of Charles Davis moving into free safety and doing a great job. Kenny Sims, I'm proud of the job he did tonight, at corner. We switched them for tonight. I couldn't give a game ball on defense tonight, because they all played so good."

On Roy Roberts kickoff return for a touchdown after giving up a long TD-pass at cornerback.
"I told him you better take this one to the house. That's exactly what I told him and exactly what he did. That was big time. We needed that for our special teams. I'm proud of our special teams. Our special teams were good."

On the onside kick call by Tulane to open the second half
"It was a great call by Coach Toledo coming out of the half, calling for an onside kick. We told them to watch for it, and they did. They just executed it perfectly."


On his performance in the game
"I just had to do my part. If one person goes down, you just have to step in with nothing being lost. Make it look the same as always. I did not have any idea I'd get 31 carries, but I just have to do my job. I thought I gained a lot of confidence. The offensive line was opening the holes for me."

On the 95-yard drive to make it a 28-18 game
"That was a real confidence booster for us. We needed that. They got a little momentum going into that, getting a touchdown. So, scoring right after that gave us more confidence."


On his kickoff return for TD after allowing a Tulane TD pass on defense
"I said `Don't worry about nothing. I'm going to make it back.' I knew we had a good scheme on kickoff returns. I told my coach before the game that I was going to take one to the house. I told Terrance Thomas that I was going to take one to the house. So he was getting ready for me anyway, coming back to the sidelines giving me a good handshake."