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Sept. 19, 2015

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Virginia vs. William & Mary
Sept. 19, 2015

Head Coach Mike London Quotes

Opening statement:
“It was a good victory for us. We hadn’t had that in awhile. We could walk around all sullen and downtrodden, but that’s a good football team we played. There’s lots of things we have to improve upon, but we have an opportunity next week against a very good Boise State team. William & Mary is a well-coached football team and they have good players that made good things happen. I’m proud of our players for the way they performed and allowing us to be in position to win a game today. That’s what important. We got the W.”

On William & Mary’s offense:
“They did a great job of executing. They did a lot of formation shifts and sent guys in motion, similar to what Notre Dame did. In the first half, we had difficult trying to stop them. Again, we have to perform better, but that’s a good football team that executed better than we did.”

On how Virginia finished the game:
“You always want to put the finishing touches on the game and run away with the victory. The finishing part today was that we made a play on that last William & Mary drive. When you talk about finishing, that’s a big part of it. I would have liked to have played more of our players, but it’s up to us to do the things to make sure it doesn’t get that close at the end.”

On Maurice Canady’s punt return touchdown:
“Maurice is very capable of returning punts. The blocking set it up, Maurice was elusive enough to make some guys miss in the open field, and he ran away from some guys. We knew we needed to have a big play on special teams and that was one. We haven’t had a punt return touchdown in a long time and it was a game-changer today. It allows you to build momentum. We have to win in the special teams category.”

On the performance of young players like David Eldridge and Jordan Ellis:
“I see promise. I see two young players that are going to continue to get better. David Eldridge is a guy who can take the top of the defense and has good vertical speed. Jordan Ellis is a tough, rugged player. I believe he broke three or four tackles on his touchdown run. These are young players that have skill and we need to keep finding ways to ingratiate them into our offense and allow them to use their play-making abilities.”

On improving from last week’s loss:
“The biggest thing is that we won the game. That’s always the ultimate goal. I thought our offense drove the ball well at times. That first drive was one of our longest drives we’ve had in awhile. We had some explosive plays for long gains. There was improvement there. There’s some improvement still needed on defense when we face offenses that look like the teams we’ve played the past two weeks. That has to be corrected because Boise State is a team that does similar things with high-skilled players. That’s going to be critical for us.”

Virginia Player Quotes

Senior Wide Receiver Canaan Severin

On his one handed TD catch:
“The defender was right there but Matt Johns and I have done that time and time again in practice, so he trusts me and I trust him. I just know that I have to get to my spots and he will give me the opportunity to make plays. We never practice one-handed catches at all. Our wide receivers coach would be so mad if he ever even saw me or heard of us practicing them.”

On the win:
“It feels good to get the first win, and hopefully that can jump start us and get us rolling. However, every team in the country in every sport will always have work to do, so we just have to keep moving forward.”

Redshirt Freshman Jordan Ellis

On his touchdown run:
“I had some nerves, and I kind of blacked out. It was very exciting, but I just trusted in my offensive line. I just remember scoring, but it didn’t really set in until I got to the sideline and my teammates surrounded me. It was my first college carry, and Taquan Mizzell actually came up to me and said that it will be something I can tell my kids one day.”

On the game:
“I felt like we came out kind of sluggish at first. We just had to pick it up as a team. A win is a win and we just have to move on to the next one.”

Junior Tailback Taquan Mizzell

On his touchdown run:
“First of all, when Coach Fairchild put that play in on Tuesday, I just couldn’t wait until he called that play. When he called it, I just knew in my mind that it was going to work and I just had to finish it off. Our offensive line did a good job and so did our tight end Charlie (Hopkins) on making a good block. As soon as I saw the great block I just saw the end zone and nobody else.”

On the game:
Just like Coach London said, we are not going to be down on how much we won by or something like that. If Notre Dame can walk off our field happy last week, we can be happy too. I have been feeling really good individually, Coach Beatty has been doing a great job of pushing me and making sure that everything is going well.”

Sophomore Linebacker Micah Kiser

On whether the defense is exhausted from playing so many snaps:
“It was pretty tiring, but if we did what we needed to do on first and second down, it wouldn’t have been that tiring. So we will just try to get better.”

On the fumble in the fourth quarter:
“I actually thought he threw it, but then I saw the ball on the ground. We tried to get on it, but they got on it. It could have been a really big play, but it was a good recovery for them.”

On feeling good after the win:
“Yes it feels good. We obviously want to play better, but it feels good to get a win.”

On holding William & Mary to field goals:
“In the red zone, you want to hold them to field goals. So it was a good effort by our guys to hold them to that.”

Junior Quarterback Matt Johns:

On the second half:
“It was weird. We didn’t really get the ball much in the second half so we had to make the most of our opportunities. We had that screen play to Smoke (Mizzell) for 80 yards. We drove the ball down the field. We didn’t finish off the drive, missed the field goal. We won, and that’s what we’re going to take away from this and move on to Boise State.”

On frustration of not getting the ball in the second half:
“Absolutely. The most frustrating thing is when you can’t control what’s going on on the field. They were just converting third downs and playing well. They were a tough team and we knew they were going to give us a good fight.”

On Taquan Mizzell:
“It’s not a surprise to us. We see that from him every day. He’s a lot of fun to play with and I was really happy for his nice run play today.”

On necessity of the Virginia win:
“It was huge. It builds momentum. We can build off it and go from here.”

On scrambling a few times during the game:
“They gave us a couple different looks and they just played it really well to be honest. We were playing short dump routes and they just sat in zone rather than playing man-to-man. When you play man-to-man, you put it on their body. But when they’re in zone, there’s two guys covering one so they can take away another read. So it opened up the middle and I made a couple plays with my feet and kept the drive alive.”

On finishing drives:
“Finishing drives, converting third downs, it all flows together. They scored on the first drive of the game, and it was huge for us to get that first touchdown right away. Connor [Wingo-Reeves] made a great play and that was huge to our success today.”

William & Mary Head Coach Jimmye Laycock Quotes

On the game as a whole:
“I think as a quick overview I was extremely pleased with our effort. There are plenty of things we could have done better. I thought we gave great effort, we hung in there and we played our butts off. Virginia wasn’t giving us anything. We were earning it. We didn’t get that many turnovers, we forced some action, we had that blocked punt for a safety. We came to play. We weren’t holding anything back. That is why we did that onside kick to start the second half. We didn’t come up here to play it close. If I could, I was trying to take everything we could. That is why I called timeout at the end of the half. I thought maybe we could get a break on a play there. Anyway, we came up here to try to do our best to win and I thought we came pretty dang close. The days that [quarterback Steve] Cluley and [tailback Mikal] Abdul- Saboor had were pretty special.”

On the 4th down touchdown pass early in the game:
“That is a hard play to cover if people aren’t ready for it. It is a sneaky little play that probably isn’t fair. The thing was when we did it they were in man coverage, and that’s not usually when you like it, but they came after us in man and it worked. It is one of those little plays we keep in there and throw in every now and then.”

On missing key linebackers due to injury:
“That was pretty tough. We had to go to some nickel, which we didn’t want to play against some of their personnel groupings, but we had to get our best guys on the field. When you lose two starting linebackers you have to shuffle around a bit. I thought our coaches did a good job of shuffling around and I think some of that showed in the third quarter when we were kind of off kilter a little bit. Once we got settled in, we started playing much better. I think that was a big factor.”

On Maurice Canady’s 74-yard punt return touchdown:
“It is the kind of thing we said before. When you are playing an FBS team, you get great athletes in a lot of field and it is their athletes on your athletes, and sometimes it is a tough go there, and that is kind of what it was.”

On the last drive:
“They were pinning their ears back and coming. Not making any excuses, but some of our guys got tired at the end of the fourth quarter. They were playing a lot of snaps and we don’t have quite the same depth they have, and I’m sure they had some guys tired too. It was a challenge to hold up and give Steve [Cluley] some time there.”

On defensive inconsistency:
“I think what hurt us there early was our pass rush. Early we were having a hard time. I don’t know why. We were coming out of our lanes, we weren’t containing, just one thing after another. And we weren’t getting pressure. Later in the game we got some pressure on him, and got a sack or two. When the quarterback starts feeling a little pressure it’s not as easy to step up there and make those throws.”

William and Mary Player Quotes

Junior Quarterback Steve Cluley

On effort from down 35-20:
“You never want to think you’re out of the game. I thought we came out the second half a little slow, fell behind, but I thought we handled the adversity good and we rallied as an offense and put forth our best effort and we left some stuff out on the field that obviously we should get back but at this point. It’s promising that we came back at the end of the game.”

On having DeVonte Dedmon back:
“It was good to have him back. Obviously he is a threat that teams have to take into consideration. It was nice to have him back on the field. His speed is something. Obviously you can’t teach speed. It’s nice to have that. But I think everyone did a good job. As an offense, collectively, I think it’s promising that we have a lot of young guys led by Christian Reeves and if they just keep doing what they are doing, we can keep hitting the guys who are open according to the reads, we should be all right.”

On mood in the huddle with three minutes left:
“We were fired up. Obviously, we had no timeouts, we were excited to go work, not a two-minute drill, but a hurry up, get down the field, and let’s go win this game. I thought we were moving it well at first, and we just stalled out a little bit there at the end. They were bringing pressure, obviously no excuse but I wish we could get a couple things back here and there, but we’ll move forward.”

Senior Free Safety DeAndre Houston-Carson

On blocked punt and how he felt it would change momentum:
“I think we were just trying to make a play for our team. Backed up is something we practice consistently throughout the week. We got the look that we wanted and we just wanted to make the play.”

On defending Johns more successfully late in the game:
“Honestly I think that we just have to watch the film in order to evaluate that. We were running the same stuff throughout the game. We had a good game plan, stuff that we thought we wanted to do. I think most of it was our execution, just guys being in the right spot at the right time.”

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