Nov. 23, 2002
VIRGINIA COACH AL GROH
This is a very good win for our team. It was a wonderful thing for [Virginia’s seniors] to walk out of this stadium for the last time with a sense of accomplishment.
I’ve said repeatedly that if you play in a conference, your goal should be to win the conference championship every year and then everything else takes care of itself. This had the feel of that a little bit because it was one of those games where both teams were playing for the same thing. We hope that in the future that one of these games will be for first, not for second. This was a step in the right direction for where we want to go, but it isn’t the pinnacle for the program.
We’ve put together two real good defensive games against quality opponents. Obviously, this was a very good [Maryland] team. They’ve scored over 45 points several times this year. They have a lot of talent on their team. I think our defense is starting to show some promise.
[The offense] was pretty efficient tonight. How about [Billy] McMullen? He threw one, caught one and ran one in [for touchdowns] all in the same season.
I thought we would have a good team this year. I thought our team played well tonight. … If you’re a team that has aspirations to be in the hunt, [peaking at the end of the season] should be your M.O. If you don’t get any better through the course of the year, then you’ll get left behind. These players have done a nice job of doing that.
One of our significant concerns was [special teams]. I thought our kick coverage was tremendous in making sure that nothing negative happened. We got a [field goal] block and for Connor [Hughes] to step up and hit those field goals for us was a real shot in the arm. That was very positive and he should be able to take away a lot of confidence from that.
MARYLAND COACH RALPH FRIEDGEN
It wasn’t our night tonight. It looked like we couldn’t do anything right tonight. Virginia played very well tonight. They had a good game plan and they played hard.
(On blocked field goal) We thought about going for it on fourth down, but the last time we tried it we didn’t make it. We had a 7-0 lead and we wanted to come away with some points, but the kick was low. That changed the momentum.
(On Monroe’s dropped pass) I thought that was pretty important. It would have changed the momentum back. And Virginia was bringing their corners up for run support, and completing that pass would have slowed that down some.
We had a bad game, and they had a very, very good game. I’m not trying to insinuate that we lost because our biorhythms were off. Virginia played pretty darn good.
Sure, I’m disappointed. Winning a conference championship and maybe going to a BCS bowl doesn’t come along every day. We had that chance tonight and we didn’t take it.