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Opening Statement:

“We made a lot of progress today. I’m really proud of the fight the players showed and the unity they showed in sticking together and continuing to grind away. We’re going down a different track now than we were previously. We made a lot of progress in a lot of ways. In the long run, we didn’t do quite enough. The other team did a little bit more than we did. I’m very encouraged and very positive of all the efforts of the players today.”

On the kickoff return to open the second half:

“That was certainly a significant play. One of the things we talked about at half time was to not let Southern Miss get back into the game fast. Then they get a fluke play like that and it has the same result. We had a chance to make a lot of plays in a lot of different areas and it would be easy to look at one unit or player or circumstance, but we believe that when we scored some of those touchdowns, there were a lot of guys who weren’t on the field who celebrated and felt really good about it. So when those scores got on us, it was all of us that got scored on.”

On decision to go for it on fourth down in Southern Miss territory:

“We’re not going to punt the ball from the 32 then everyone would ask ‘Why did you punt the ball from the 32?’ It was a little bit beyond the effective range of our field goal kicker so that was one of the easier decisions.”

On quarterback Jameel Sewell:

“Obviously the quarterback had a real good game and he’s finding his stride. I’m very pleased with what Jameel did, both in his performance and the competiveness that he showed. He showed his teammates that they can jump on his back and he’s going to try to carry them. He made some good throws and the receivers made some good catches. There was a lot of activity though.”

On the kickoff return for a touchdown:

“Clearly that was a big momentum changer. I saw it coming. We didn’t fit on the blocks properly at a number of spots. Special teams, every play it’s a jamboree. You can make a tackle on the 15-yard line and get creased on the next one. We fit on them very well early on. On that one, we had a number of players who did not fit properly on that one.”

On the physicality of the game:

“That was a very physical game. Through the weather, the duration of the game, the back-and-forth of it, and the big plays, I think we have two pretty worn out teams. I don’t think either team would want to play.”

On the performance of the offensive line:

“It seemed as the game went on, maybe we weren’t as air tight as we were earlier. We did a good job with the pressures but the quarterback was forced to hold the ball longer. It was a cohesive effort.”

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