Oct. 4, 2013
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SAN DIEGO -
San Diego State-Nevada Postgame Quotes
San Diego State Postgame Quotes
Q. Thoughts on that last pass?
Quinn Kaehler: Obviously we wanted to get a touchdown and that's what our main goal was because we knew their offense had been moving the ball and a field goal really wouldn't have been that secure.
Q. You had a lot of wide receivers perform well today in place of the injured Colin Lockett. Talk about that.
Quinn Kaehler: Yeah, everyone did a really good job, and especially Judge coming in and filling Colin's spot. Then we had (Tim) Vizzi and (Dylan) Denso and obviously Ezel (Ruffin) did really well and (Adam) Roberts made a ton of huge catches and moved the chains for us.
Q. Talk about your performance tonight.
Adam Roberts: It feels just as good to get the win, doesn't matter if I score or (Eric) Judge scores, it's great, I'm glad we won.
Q. (Eric Judge) is obviously a great player two touchdowns in his start, especially a game winner.
Quinn Kaehler: Yeah, he did a great job stepping up and he was ready to play today.
Q. Discuss the game.
Nat Berhe: You've got to give credit to Nevada. They are a good team. Don't kid yourself. Cody Fajardo, he's a great quarterback. He's one of the best quarterbacks in the league. So I mean, you know, it's crazy how we don't stop him at all in the fourth quarter and then we go out and we stop them in overtime.
I think it tells a lot about our defense. I'm just so proud of them and what they have done. A lot of people saying the defense isn't as good as last year and stuff like that, for us to come out and play a good Nevada team and get the win, kudos to those guys.
Q. Talk about how you guys secured the win and your performance overall.
Nat Berhe: I think the corners played well. I talked to J.J. (Whittaker) after that first touchdown on him, and I just told him, you know, stay in the game. I mean, it's 60 minutes, that's why we play it. Just stay in the game, keep working, keep working and something goes and he makes a huge play for us in overtime. Just credit to him.
Q. The two turnovers to the defense were huge
Nat Berhe: Of course.
Q. You scored on both of those.
Nat Berhe: That's just Coach Long instilling in us we got to get the ball out and we've got to make big plays. Damontae (Kazee) did a great job knocking the ball out, stripping the ball. It's everything that we've practiced, and it's just great to kind of see it all come like full circle.
Q. Going back to the first half, you guys had the last seconds in the first 64 yards in six plays, a huge momentum shifter, describe how important that was going into the half and going into the locker room, how big was that?
Dylan Denso: You know, that's something we practice every week, our two minute series, we call it our clutch series. It was kind of an up and down game at that point, and they said, we got that last point, so we just said, we have got to go score, (and) went to our two minute.
Ezell (Ruffin) had a big catch; I know Chad (Young) had one of those big runs. It's not all one big play; it's everybody's making those smaller plays and then getting us back into the red zone and then finishing it off.
Q. Was there a feeling that with Colin Lockett out, you guys all had to step up with the injury, was there a sense of that?
Dylan Denso: Yeah, definitely, since it happened kind of late, no one was aware of it but once we figured out he wasn't going to be playing....
Q. When did you find out?
Dylan Denso: I believe it was Thursday. After that, we all got together after practice and we brought ourselves on, who is going to be the next guy to step up so that was the theme for tonight's game. Everybody has to step up and make plays.
Q. The play calling the first half, was that something you guys expected?
Dylan Denso: I believe we were always planning on going aggressive. We wanted to establish the run early, which I think that we did and I think that just sets up everything else that our offense can do.
So establishing that run, I mean - (Adam) Muema and (Donnel) Pumphrey both had unbelievable games so, that helps everything else and opens up the pass.
Q. Can you tell the difference between past games and tonight?
Quinn Kaehler: Yeah, it was a lot easier because we got into third and man situations instead of third and longs and second and longs, so makes it easier and Coach Toledo did a great job calling tonight's game. He did a great job and the rest of the coaches did a really good job getting ready for this game.
Q. On the sack did you hold on to it too long?
Quinn Kaehler: Yeah, I just needed to hit the check down and he was probably there and he would have got the first down.
Q. What were your thoughts on the o line; third consecutive start, do you see an improvement?
Quinn Kaehler: Yeah, they did a great job today both in the run and in the pass. I think that was the only sack and we ran for a ton of yards. It's not just the running backs; it's the offensive line creating holes for those guys and letting those guys do what they are good at.
Q. Donnel Pumphrey, is it exciting to see he's a potential starter do you see that at all?
Dylan Denso: Not going to hype him up too early, he's still a freshman. No, he's an exciting player, he's explosive and we all love him. He's got a great attitude and he wants to be great, so the ball is in his court.
Q. Do you kind of see your season going through your eyes there at the end? Was it that type of feeling?
Dylan Denso: I mean, we had a lot of chances to win that game right there, and then as things started unfolding, you know, a lot of things happened. Flashbacks almost to Nevada last year what happened, and almost, to me, after winning this game, it feels like it's the start.
It's not really losing anything; this is the start, because how we started off the season and what we have for our goal is how we want to finish it, this is the start, so winning that first conference game is pretty big.
Q. Describe how you've grown as a starter; three touchdown passes, just describe how you've grown as a starter.
Quinn Kaehler: I think the rest of the guys are playing really well and Coach Toledo is calling great plays and we had the running game going. So play action pass, there were guys open, and of course the receivers are making plays. I wasn't really, you know, exactly on, but (Dylan) Denso made the great catch in the end zone and Ezell (Ruffin) made a one handed catch, (Adam) Roberts had a big game. It was just all the guys coming together and it was really fun.
Q. In the overtime, was it like, gosh, got to get this back or were you excited?
Quinn Kaehler: No, I think we were excited, because it's fun to play in overtime. We were excited to get out there and then try to score a touchdown.
Dylan Denso: Yeah, we believed we were going to win that game and there were a lot of chances for us to win that game. It's just us making that play. I know on the sideline, the energy was, we felt we deserved to win that game and we were ready at any moment.
Q. Talk about when Donnel Pumphrey enters the game.
Quinn Kaehler: Yeah, it brings excitement and the plays are drawn up really well. So D.J. (Pumphrey) on that play, he had a lot of room to run and then he did the rest.
So they are great plays, and you know, they have been working for us.
Q. How did you deal with the short practice week?
Quinn Kaehler: Yeah, the week went by fast, but we didn't have a lot of time. After the New Mexico State game, we knew we had to get back to work because we knew we were going to lose that day of practice.
Q. We keep asking, what is the mentality of this team, do you have your confidence; where is the team's mentality now?
Nat Berhe: Well, I think the team is happy. I mean, you know, 1 0 in conference, that's huge. But we can't get complacent, two wins underneath our belt. We've just got to keep rolling.
Q. Do you think it's good to get this first win with so many big games coming up?
Nat Berhe: Of course, it's always good when you win and it's always bad when you lose. For us to come out and win two in a row, that's huge for the confidence of this team.
Q. Which was one was more exciting, last year or this one's?
COACH Rocky Long: I think in some ways, they were both the same. How do I feel? I feel different as this one was unfolding as I did last year. Last year, we were the team behind that caught up and took it to overtime and then won in overtime. This year, they were the team behind, and played a great they played a great fourth quarter and caught up to us and put us into overtime.
The best part of the deal is that we never our players never quit and kept playing, and probably the best we played was in the overtime.
So I mean, we played I thought we played a really, really good game for three quarters. And then in the fourth quarter, we moved the ball pretty well but we didn't score any points, and we had lots of chances to score points and we missed a field goal that would have put the game away.
And then on defense, we couldn't slow them down except people forget that early in the fourth quarter, we had a gimme interception that we dropped. If we catch that interception, the game is over, too.
So us not making a couple plays, not making a field goal, not catching the interception, allowed them to storm back, and you've got to give them credit, because they did a great job coming back.
Their quarterback, I thought we had him sacked four or five times, and he out ran the contained guy and got yardage with his feet or found a guy that was open and threw it. Their quarterback did a great job of getting out of trouble and making plays, especially in the fourth quarter.
So you've got to give them credit. They caught back up and put it into overtime. I thought that, as I think they thought, all the momentum was in their favor going into overtime.
But I don't think they got a yard on offense, so our defense stepped up I mean, our offense did a nice job getting down there and finding a guy in the end zone and scoring a touchdown, and the defense really stepped up for four straight plays. I don't know where all that was in the fourth quarter, but we won, so that's just fine.
Q. Talk about the wide receivers stepping up.
COACH Rocky Long: Yeah, he had to step up on short notice, too, because we didn't know that Colin Lockett wasn't going to play until he went to the trainers on Thursday and said he was still having effects from last Saturday's game.
So I think Colin was trying to tough it out himself so nobody would know and that he would feel better before the game and he went to them Thursday, so Eric Judge didn't get near the reps that he would have gotten if we had known Colin wasn't going to play. So he did a nice job, really nice job. We had two freshmen that did well.
Q. What does it say about the guys who stepped up?
COACH Rocky Long: I think everybody has to do that during the season. Everybody has some serious injuries, and how you react to them has a lot to do with whether you are successful or not.
But every team, if you look across the country and into the NFL, every team has good players that get hurt and someone has to step up and play for them. If they can step up and play at a good level, you still got a chance to win. If they don't step up and make plays, you don't have a chance to win. But it's all about players making plays.
Q. Talk about Josh Gavert.
COACH Rocky Long: Well, I thought he did nice. Except he got caught when he picked up the fumble. I mean, he took it down there and he got caught. I don't know if Jake would have scored or not.
I mean, that was a pretty big play in our offense. That's what I'm talking about; the defense played really good for all three quarters. In fact, two fumble recoveries led to two touchdowns.
And then I think their quarterback did unbelievable in the fourth quarter. I mean, we couldn't get a stop, and we were trying really hard. And he made some plays that I didn't think he could make; especially when we blitzed from the outside and all of the sudden he sees a guy coming free and he plants a foot and runs around him. I mean, gee whiz.
Q. Talk about the play of your running backs, both had 10-plus carries, ran over a 100 yards, at least one touchdown run; you established the run early.
COACH Rocky Long: I think that's the only chance we're going to have for success. I mean, we've been saying that since the first game and we haven't been able to do it, and tonight, the two running backs ran really well, but the offensive line blocked really, really well, too.
And they complement each other. Just like last year, Adam Muema and Walter Casey complemented each other. D.J. Pumphrey and Adam Muema complement each other. They are different types of runners and that's hard for a defense to get used to one guy that pounds you and runs through your arms and knocks you over backwards and then another guy that makes you miss and out runs you.
Q. Looked like Adam Muema appeared to be healthy, did it appear that way to you? Did he seem to get his legs under him a bit better?
COACH Rocky Long: I thought he looked pretty good the whole game. I thought he looked like his old self right from the beginning.
Q. Can Muema can maintain and improve on this performance?
COACH Rocky Long: I hope so. I mean, I told you that we can't win unless he plays well. I mean, we have to establish the running game to have a chance to win.
Q. He kind of did that early what was that play call?
COACH Rocky Long: You see a guy that's a great offensive coordinator that used the formation on third and fourth and short last week, where they put four offensive linemen to one side of the ball and handed it to the fullback for a first down last week on fourth and one. Well, this one, they faked it to him and gave it to Pumphrey around the short side, the two man side.
As good coaches do, the Nevada coaches shifted their front to the four man side like they should do, but it's all execution. It's very seldom a coaching deal. They had a defensive end over there. He just wasn't good enough to tackle Pumphrey. Just like us not being good enough to tackle their quarterback when we come free on blitzes. It's execution. It's not coaches winning games; it's players winning games.
Q. Talk about the two-point conversion.
COACH Rocky Long: No, I mean, every offense, and every defense, by the way, every offense and every defense has two point defenses and they have two point plays that they work on that week, and they will have one or two of them ready for that game.
So every week, it's a different two point play, because defensive coaches are smart enough to learn how to defense the ones that worked the week before. So you've got to come up with a new one.
Q. Every week there is a different two-point conversion?
COACH Rocky Long: On a two point play, I would expect something different on a two point play. I would expect something different on a short yardage situation, too.
Q. Early in the game, was that some message you were sending right there (going for it on fourth down)?
COACH Rocky Long: I mean, I felt like going for it because I thought it was a critical time in the game and that we as a team had to prove we were there to play.
Q. Besides the fourth quarter, seems like you were able to get the quarterback talk about that a little bit.
COACH Rocky Long: Well, I'm not sure we did. I thought he did a great job of throwing under pressure. I thought we got decent pressure. We didn't hit him but about two or three times. We caused one fumble when we hit him which was a big play.
But we didn't hit him very much, but we were in his face a lot, so he wasn't as comfortable as he normally is. But he still threw for a whole bunch of yards and he threw touchdown passes and has had a real high percentage completion rate. I think he's third in the nation in completion rate anyway before this game. He'll just probably move up on the rankings a little bit.
The most disappointing thing I thought was that we had great pressure on him, and contained rushers that he out ran. I mean, so, here we go again. It's not the scheme, guys. It's players win games.
Q. Your quarterback, what did you think of his performance?
COACH Rocky Long: I thought he played really well. We had one fumble. What we didn't do was turn the ball over and that's been giving us all kinds of problems leading up to today.
But speaking from experience, a quarterback plays a whole lot better if you can establish a running game and I thought that Nevada did that. I thought they ran the ball well enough that we couldn't get into things that we wanted to to pressure the quarterback, because they ran the ball well. And I don't think that Nevada was able to get into pressure packages, either, because we were running the ball well.
Q. The difference play by J.J. Whittaker, on the third and 11, sealed the win.
COACH Rocky Long: I thought he broke up a couple three passes during the day. I thought he played really well. And I feel sorry for cornerbacks nowadays, because all you have to do is run a streak pattern and throw it up, and if the guy doesn't catch it, it's going to be interference.
I mean, they wanted to call interference; if you remember the one down our sideline and Damontae Kazee was covering the guy, he turned into the ball, put his back into the receiver, and one of those guys on our sideline reached for his flag. I mean, are you kidding me? It's like automatic, if they don't catch it, we are going to call interference.
Q. Taking the win does that change your mind?
COACH Rocky Long: I like winning. It seems like Saturday to me, though, and that's the way we practiced all week leading up like it was Saturday. And now we have to practice tomorrow, so that it feels like Saturday next Thursday, which is a really difficult thing to do.
But we are playing Air Force and Air Force has to do the same thing, so there's no advantage.
But I don't think it's good for players. I don't think it's good for players to play three games in 13 days. I think that's unsafe.
Q. There's a chance you may not play Thursday; is that correct? Or is that locked in stone?
COACH Rocky Long: Well, I know they have got to go play Navy, because they are using non government funds or something. They don't have to use any funds for us to go there, so I'm sure we're playing.
Q. Do you feel your team is starting to come together?
COACH Rocky Long: I think that when you win a couple games in a row, I think you feel better about your team. I think the team feels better about themselves. I think they feel more confident. Whether that means we are going to win a bunch of games, I don't know. I mean, last year when we won in overtime, we played much, much better after that, and we are hoping that that's the same situation now.
Q. The end of the game, calling the timeout, what was the reason for calling the time out?
COACH Rocky Long: For the what?
Q. In regulation, you called a timeout before that
COACH Rocky Long: We called timeout, I asked Coach Toledo to call time out because my gut feeling was to go for it and I needed a little more time to think about it. So we thought about it and they convinced me that it was better to punt and go to overtime.
Q. You made the final call?
COACH Rocky Long: Yeah, I mean, I made the final call after they convinced me that that was the smartest thing to do.
My competitive spirit was to go for it on fourth down. That's my competitive spirit, okay.
Q. You probably would have if Quinn Kaehler wasn't sacked on that series.
COACH Rocky Long: Yeah, if it would have been fourth and two, we probably would have gone for it, yeah.
Nevada Postgame Quotes
Head Coach Brian Polian
On the game overall:
"There are no moral victories. There are no medals for trying. Even though I'm very proud of the fact our guys really fought down 21 in the fourth quarter and forced overtime, the bottom line is we had a chance to win the game and we couldn't make the plays to do it. Far too many self-inflicted wounds tonight. The end of the first half was obviously very ugly and I thought swung momentum of the football game. The two turnovers to begin the second half; we put ourselves in a hole that was in the end too difficult to overcome. Like I said, I'm proud of the team for the way we fought, but we did too many things wrong tonight. When it came down to making a play or two to win the game tonight, we couldn't do it."
On the lack of pressure on SDSU:
"I think it was a contributing factor. They passed the ball very efficiently, far too efficiently than we should have allowed. Whether it was pressure coverage, it's hard for me to know until we look at the tape. I would have hoped we would have gotten to them a little more than we did."
On playing hard throughout the game:
"I told the team that I'm very proud of the fight that they showed. They could have very easily just bagged it down 21 in the fourth quarter and they did not. For that, they deserve credit. In the end there are no medals for trying. There are no moral victories. We put ourselves in that hole. We dug ourselves out of it and when we had a chance to win the game, we couldn't get it done."
On the unsportsmanlike penalty against Nevada:
That's me. I own that. I disagreed with the call on the underneath route. I did not voice a comment at an official directly. I did not yell at a guy. I said something out loud and the official felt the need to throw the flag. He said that I directed my comment at the back judge. I don't know how that was possible as the back judge was roughly 75 yards away from me. Did I voice my displeasure? I did. I did not direct it at any one official. I didn't call anyone by a name. I just voiced my displeasure. Now he has every right to throw the flag. I disagree with the decision to throw it. In the end, it doesn't matter what I think. He threw it on me, and I have to own it."
Quarterback Cody Fajardo
On the game overall:
"It's a tough one (to lose). I'm proud of the team for fighting. We knew that we had to score some points in the fourth quarter and we had to come together as a team to win. We put ourselves in a great opportunity to win this game, but we obviously didn't make enough plays offensively and defensively to win this game."
On taking anything positive out of the game:
"I take a lot of positive things, the willingness to fight. We kept fighting and the way we stuck together as a team. Obviously it didn't go in our favor. I hope this doesn't bring our team morale down. We fought and we were there for each other. It's on me. Turning the ball over twice and putting our defense on the 5-yard line. That's not acceptable. Giving them (SDSU) basically seven points is not acceptable."
"They are a great football team. Obviously they have a great coach. They have a good defense and they do a lot of good things. We know we are always going to be in a battle with them. It's a good program and we like to compete with them."
Defensive lineman Jordan Hansen
On the game overall:
"They (SDSU) have a good offensive line. They (SDSU) have a very good scheme. It's really just us working harder. Obviously what we did today wasn't good (enough) to win. It just us going out there to practice and working that much harder so that the stuff we do in practice works on game day."
On whether defense needs improvement:
"I think throughout the whole year, there's always going to be room for improvement. I'm happy with the way our team fought back especially our defense. We were down 21 points. We needed stops and we got those. To see the fight in everybody on the defense and really the whole team. Specifically, the defense getting those stops and then the offense punching it in. That's huge to see and that's a positive thing we can take from a heartbreaking game like this. Our defense definitely needs improvement and it's not just because we lost. It's just because there's always room for improvement."