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Virginia Head Coach Al Groh
Opening statement:

“We’re very respectful of what Wake Forest has done over the last two years and very respectful of them as the (conference) champion. They played like a champion today, and hopefully we showed a few traits of a similar nature. It really was one of those heavyweight-type of games. One of our directives coming into the game was that you’ve got to be ready to play a 60-minute game, not 59:30 and, in this particular case, not 59:58 because these two teams over the last two years have had more last-minute finishes than any two other teams in the conference. We showed a great deal of resiliency and mental toughness throughout the course of the game.”

On his thoughts prior to Sam Swank’s FG attempt on the last play of the game:
“Not much I could do about it, just watch it and see. When the ball is near the post, sometimes it’s very difficult for people on the sideline with that angle to be able to tell whether it’s in, out, or over the top. That ball looked like it was fairly tight to the post. All we could do is wait for the good eyesight of the officials.”

On kicking away from Kevin Marion on kickoffs:
“He’s been a big factor in Wake Forest being able to win the last two games. His 46-yard return two weeks ago at Navy lowered his average. So, we decided that we’d probably play the law of averages to our advantage. I think the short kickoffs did serve their purpose. Kevin had one return for 26 yards. Sometimes we have some deficiencies in intelligence, but we can watch the tape. Last week, he returned them from 98 and 83 (yards). Now that was pretty bad field position when it was over. So, whatever the field position was today, it was better than the field position that North Carolina was under last week. We knew what the tradeoff was, and the leading kickoff return man in the country had one return for 26 yards.”

On Jameel Sewell’s play at quarterback:
“This was a very significant game in his development as the quarterback of our team. He and I both agree that this probably wouldn’t have happened last year. He’s an emotional player and he’s a prideful player. One of the things that were challenging for him to deal with in the past was when things didn’t go well, his emotions would get in the way. Everybody has toughened up around here mentally, and I think he’s done the same. That enabled him to overcome some plays that weren’t too pretty and to be there for his team when it really mattered.”

On Sewell’s accuracy:
“If Jameel was a baseball pitcher, you’d say he has a rising fastball. Some of those balls today weren’t attributable to the ball rising. They were just overthrown. Particularly on those intermediate-level balls, sometimes he really cranks it and it does have a tendency to rise. Sometimes it surprises the receivers a little bit. When he has a devil-may-care attitude and he’s loose and relaxed and not concerned about errors, it’s really when he plays his very best. Coming down the homestretch, he kicked into that mode and operated in a fashion that we have seen him in previous games when he was at his best.”

On winning three games by one point:
“I’m happy to win and proud for the team for being able to do that.”

Virginia Player Quotes

Defensive End Chris Long
On energy he felt after his sack:

“Really that was one of the least energetic sacks I’ve had all year. First of all, I was tired from running him down and secondly, we knew it was a hurry-up situation and you just have to get back to the ball.”

On his thoughts during the final Wake Forest field goal attempt:
“I didn’t see it. I was just going to listen. I whipped my head around so fast and by the time the kick was coming down I saw it went wide right. And that was just best feeling in the entire world. That was unbelievable.”

On gaining back momentum after win streak was snapped last week:
“We felt really challenged by this game. They were the champs last year and they are still the champs until somebody proves otherwise. So we felt challenged by it and have a lot of respect for them. We just came out and played one of our best games.”

Cornerback Ras-I Dowling
On his interception:

“I just tried to bait him. I saw where he was looking and he was throwing an out. We were in covertwo so I dropped back but then came back in to make the play.”

On motivation after last week’s career performance:
“It didn’t really affect my play. I just try to come out and play every play like it’s my last.”

On his high level of contribution as a true freshman:
“I just try to help the team as much as I can. I just come out here and play hard every day.”

Wide Receiver Maurice Covington
On what went well during his touchdown:

“It’s execution. I ran my route to the right and Jameel (Sewell) threw a perfect ball. I had great blocking from John Phillips and I just did what I had to do to get into the end zone.”

On the fourth-and-two conversion catch:
“I definitely knew it was coming to me. The play was designed to come to me so I just got to my area, secured the ball, made sure I had it and then got down.”

On Sewell’s third consecutive 200+ yard performance:
“Jameel has stepped up tremendously. If we have a bad series he just comes back the next time and has a great series. He has been very consistent with that and he has been playing really well and delivering the ball really well.”

Kicker Chris Gould
On team’s resiliency:

“When we get down, no one ever puts his head down. We all look at each other and know if we stick with it, we will pull it out in the end. We just have to keep fighting.”

On special teams adjustments:
“We were just trying to keep the ball away from Kevin Marion who is a heck of a returner. We did a couple different things to try and keep them off balance rather than having us adjust to their schemes.”

Running Back Mikell Simpson
On his game-winning touchdown run:

“It was a power run from one yard out, Ian (Yates Cunningham) came around and got a great pulling block. I just waited for the hole to open up and cut back. From there I knew all I had to do was follow him into the end zone.”

On contributing, by rushing and receiving, to the offense
“This is what I did in high school so I’m used to it. I just want to do what ever I can to help my team win. As long as we keep winning, I am happy and could care less about my stats.”

On the team’s resiliency:
“Everyone around our organization preaches the importance of not cracking. We know if we keep working hard and playing until the final gun, we have a good chance of things working out for us.”

Cornerback Vic Hall
On missed WFU field goal as time expired:

“When the kick went up, I knew it was no good. I felt nothing but excitement once we got the win.”

On the team’s resiliency:
“The coach talks about it all the time. You can play 59 minutes of a game, but all it takes is that little bit to decide a game.”

On Ras-I Dowling:
“Ras-I has done nothing but make plays for this team. He had the big interception last week and then had another one today. He is a young talent that we all love, and we are very proud of him.”

Quarterback Jameel Sewell
On his touchdown pass to Maurice Covington:

“He made a play and was wide open. All I had to do was get the ball out to him and he did the rest. He had the big fourth down conversion there at the end, and he is someone who we will be trying to get more involved because he is a playmaker.”

On the play of the defense:
“The defense doesn’t care who they are playing. Even if they were facing the New England Patriots, they would be ready. They never crack. They were on the field for a long time because we went three-and-out a few times, but they are a group that never gives up and is the heart of this team.”

On last offensive series:
“We knew the game wasn’t over. Even though we had a tough day before that, we know that we have to keep playing until the clock says 0:00.”

On the last kick:
“When the kicked missed, I was probably the happiest person in the world. After all we had been through during that game, there is no feeling like coming out with a big win.”

Wake Forest Head Coach Jim Grobe

On distance of last field goal attempt:

“When we completed that pass to De’Angelo (Bryant), we felt like we were in Sam’s (Swank) range. We would have certainly liked to get more from those two runs we had, but from our perspective that was easy length for Sam. The thing we didn’t want to do was to take a sack or throw a pick to do anything that wouldn’t give Sam a chance to win the game.”

On Virginia’s touchdown late in the first half:
“We ended up with a couple of kids outside the receiver, and he (Maurice Covington) made a nice move underneath. From the sideline it looked like we had a couple of defenders that may have overrun the play and got into a chase position inside.”

On Wake’s passing game in the first half:
“We really had hoped to establish a little bit of a running game in the first half. We wanted to mix things up, and they did a really good job early of dropping eight and forcing us to run but also getting off blocks and making plays. We went into the second half feeling like we had to throw the football to move it, and that made us a little better running the ball, too. We should have thrown the ball more in the first half. We kept hoping that we would find a run that would be good to us, but we didn’t have much success.”

On losing a close game:
“Missing the last field goal was a very small part of the game. We had opportunities in the first half and the second half that we didn’t take advantage of both offensively and defensively. It’s really a team loss. When you get down to the last play of the game to win or lose, you’d like to win your share, but honestly, it isn’t always going to go your way.”

On his thoughts at halftime:

“I thought we’d let too many opportunities slip away. But our kids are great kids. You’re on the road, you’re down, you’re in a hostile environment, and we did everything but win.”

Wake Forest Player Quotes

Quarterback Riley Skinner
On the missed kick by Wake Forest place kicker Sam Swank:

“We had all the confidence in the world in Sam. We didn’t think twice about the range or anything. It just didn’t go our way. We knew after that last catch that we had gotten in the range for Sam and we were just trying to run down the clock and maybe get a couple extra yards; get even closer. Everyone knew that we were going to do that.

“I think circumstances are a little different when it comes down to the last second of the game and the last kick, it a lot of pressure, but Sam doesn’t really get rattled. I don’t think it was Sam getting rattled that made him miss the kick; he just pushed a little to the right. A kick can’t always be perfect; you can’t blame him.”

On the ramifications of the loss:
“We have to just keep taking it week by week and try to win games. Things will work out well for us if we keep doing that. If it’s not going to Jacksonville; it’s just having a great season and going to some bowl. Right now, we aren’t guaranteed a bowl, and we know that. We’ve got three tough games and another top 25 team that we’re going into. We have NC State at home who beat these guys, so we have some big games left. There is no way we can look ahead and try to plan what is going to happen with our season; we’ve just got to take it a week at a time.”

On Virginia:
“They are a good team, they are a very good team. They’ve got a great defense, their offense moves the ball well, and they’re well coached. We played a tough game today; it was a really good game. We had some opportunities that we didn’t capitalize on, and I think that they had some opportunities they didn’t capitalize on. It was a great game; they are a great team. You’ve got to give them credit; they played hard today.”

Center Steve Justice
On Virginia’s defense:

“I think we did well against the defense. A lot of hype goes into Chris Long, but I think a lot of that overshadows the rest of the defense. They’ve got some great players, but we did better than we expected.”

On Virginia’s offense:
“I think every time we get into a tough situation, we just have to produce more and move the ball a little better than what we did. I think as a line, we just didn’t produce well enough.”

Tackle Louis Frazier
On Chris Long:

“He’s a great player. It’s a challenge to go against him. It’s personally a challenge for me to go against him because we have two different futures. He has a future in the NFL, and I have a future in medicine. He was everything that I heard, and the thing that I really like about him is that he didn’t trash talk about getting the job done.”

On ramifications of the loss:
“We’ve got to recover. We still have to win because we want a really good bowl game to go to. We can’t just go out 6-6. We have to fight.”

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