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Oct. 17, 2015

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Virginia vs. Syracuse
Oct. 17, 2015

Head Coach Mike London Quotes

Opening statement:
“It was a great effort by our football team. I’m proud of those guys. They showed some fight, resiliency and grit. You could use all of those types of words. We found a way to win a football game in the end where players made big plays. It’s just good to see a positive thing happen for these guys. There are still things to correct, but at the same time this is something we haven’t done in a long while. To see that type of effort culminate into a win like this is good for those kids and this program.”

On coaching in a late-game comeback:
“All you can do is keep coaching and keep teaching and trying to keep a positive mindset. You have to keep emphasizing the things that can allow you to win. The total effort of everyone on this team led to a victory in the end. I don’t think I’ve ever been involved in a triple overtime game like this. I’m very proud of the effort of those guys.”

On Syracuse’s facemask penalty that extended Virginia’s game-tying drive late in the fourth quarter:
“I remember looking up and saying, `Thank you big guy. I appreciate that.’ Sometimes things like that happen for you to sustain drives and sometimes you’re on the other end. It was a play that kind of provided an impetus for the guys to say, `Let’s go. We have an opportunity here.’ The last few possessions were fun to watch, but at the same time you want to do things that allow you to end the game in regulation. But, I’m not going to take anything away from the effort those guys played with. They did a great job.”

On Virginia’s running game and specifically the offensive line:
“We’re a bit of a running back by committee. We have a lot of guys that do a lot of different things for us. My hat goes off to Jack English in his first college start. I know he played about every snap out there. We tried to open up the defense with some jet sweeps and running the ball inside and that led to some big gains. Whether it was Daniel Hamm, Albert Reid or Smoke Mizzell, we did a good job later on establishing the run.”

On how important a close win is for the Virginia players:
“We always say that you live by the psychology of results and things like that. Having a chance to win a game like that is something that can catapult you to the next level of believing, doing and achieving. The mindset has always been good, but now it’s about winning games on the football field. Syracuse is a good football team and that quarterback is a very talented young man. We found a way to win and that’s the most important thing we’ll take from this.”

On Jordan Ellis scoring the game-winning touchdown:
“Jordan is a big back. He had a big run earlier in the season where he broke some tackles. With Albert Reid banged up a bit, the next man up was Jordan. It seems like all the running backs add something to our offense. Jordan is kind of that short-yardage, goal-line package type of guy. We’ve found roles for our guys and they’ve embraced it. Nobody has an ego about who’s getting the carries or the reps. We have guys that don’t care who gets the credit. They just want to win.”

Virginia Player Quotes

Sophomore Tailback Daniel Hamm

On the back rotation:
“We know that anyone who goes is going to get the job done. Jordan (Ellis) is just like the rest of us. Any one of us can go in the game and run the ball, pass protect, and run the routes successfully. Coach has faith in all of us, and it’s not about who plays it’s just about getting the job done.”

On moving forward:
“It’s a step in the right direction. There is a lot of the season left and a lot of football left to be played. We have to continue to get better and just look ahead to our next opponent.”

On the fourth quarter:
“I expected us to play harder than in the first three quarters. We are a really close team, on and off the field, and during tough times we come together. That is exactly what we did tonight and I expect nothing less.”

Senior Defensive End Mike Moore

On the game:
“Just getting a big win, especially on Homecomings, is one of the best feelings.”

On the facemask penalty:
“Sometimes when you’re out there you think that the refs are always against you, but we really appreciated that call.”

On his strip sack:
“Turnovers in general just really bring life to the offense and the defense. Getting a turnover really helps with our momentum.”

On moving forward:
“It really brings us a lot of momentum moving forward, knowing that we can go and win the rest of our games. Right now we are just getting ready to beat North Carolina.”

On the game plan:
“One of the biggest things we knew we had to do coming into this game was stop the quarterback from running the option successfully. We knew that we had to get to him any time that he had the ball. We made some mistakes covering him at the beginning of the game, but we just have to go back into the film room and fix them.”

On the team’s confidence:
“The confidence was high for our whole defense. We knew that we were going to win this game and we were going to make sure that we were going to do everything possible to achieve that.”

Junior Tailback Taquan Mizzell

On his fumble:
I just want to thank my coaches for believing in me after that fumble. I told them afterwards that I was ready to roll and that I was back into the game mentally. I knew I had to make it up for the team and make plays when I had the chance.”

On his game:
“I do think that I ran the hardest I’ve ever run today. There were moments today that our offense dreamed of and we just have to build off of that and continue to get better.”

On moving forward:
“This game is over now. We are back into the film room and the weight room tomorrow morning.”

Junior Quarterback Matt Johns

On playing overtime:
“It’s been a while since we practiced it, but we play it like a game-time situation. That first drive we started on the 40 or whatever it was. We didn’t care and knew we had to score.”

On the Syracuse facemask to keep the drive alive:
“We knew we had to make it count. They dropped eight and I really didn’t want to force anything so I dumped it down to Albert [Reid]. Sometimes things like that happen. That’s why you do things like that. If I throw it up incomplete then we are looking at 4th and 15 and everyone is still booing. It’s part of football and we got the call to go our way.”

On the last overtime drive:
“We had the mentality to punch it in instead of playing tentative. Sometimes in the past, our mentality has been a little tentative. I got in the huddle and I looked at Jackson [Matteo], Ross [Burbank], Eric [Smith] and Jack [English] and I said screw the field goal. Let’s punch this in.”

On the interception he threw:
“They gave me a look and then they changed the look. To be honest I was just trying to dump it down, just get it to Smoke (Mizzell) and maybe let him make a play. Then the ball gets tipped and flies in the air and gets intercepted and I was not happy at all. It wasn’t like my decision was bad. It was one of those plays where I throw the ball on a swing route and a guy puts his arm in the air and the ball goes flying up. Smoke was open, but it was just one of those things. It’s football.”

Senior Tight End Charlie Hopkins

On the win:
“That was huge. Defense came out and played really well in the first quarter. The offense was struggling at first. They set the tone for the game and we finally started playing well at the end.”

On the offense gaining momentum throughout the game:
“We were just clicking. It was great to see our offense finally run the ball when we wanted to. Matt (Johns) could sit back. He had time to pick apart their defense and it was just a great game.”

On the game being memorable:
“Absolutely. Obviously I got my first touchdown today, which is something I’m always going to remember. A three overtime game, it’s the first one I’ve been a part of. So I will definitely remember this game.”

On how to build off of the win:
“We just have to work hard in practice. This is our third very close game. We were finally able to dig this one out. It was a real gritty win for us. It was great on the offensive and defensive side of the ball for us.”

Senior Wide Receiver Canaan Severin

On the win:
“Feels good. We have to get back to work tomorrow. This was a hard fought game. It shows that our team is battle tested and we compete to the end. That’s what we showed today. The word for today’s game was `win’. We were saying all week. I was asking Coach [Dave] Borbely, a guy that’s been in this game for a long time, what do we have to do? He said `you have to catch better, Matt has to throw better, O-Line has to block better and the defense has to make tackles.’ That’s what we did today.”

On his touchdown catch in overtime:
“That’s just football. With Matt Johns at quarterback, you’ve got to know that he’s ready. He says stuff before the play happens or before the game, `always be ready’. I actually wasn’t [the first read]. He just looks for me and makes me look good.”

On Taquan Mizzell:
“How about that dude. He’s a heck of a football player. He worked one of the hardest on the team this past summer. We’re all seeing it come to light right now. I’m proud of that dude. He’s making plays for us.”

Syracuse Head Coach Scott Shafer Quotes

On the secondary:
“Early on, I thought the kids did a good job in the secondary. They took some shots and we were on top of it. Finished some good plays here and I was proud of them. So I thought our kids did a better job in the secondary for the most part, but all it takes is one play when there is no on behind you in the secondary.”

On Virginia’s final drive to tie the game, if there was a sense of confidence about the game being secure:
“No, not for me. It’s never (over) until it’s over for me. Been in a lot of those types of situations over the years, and it’s not over until that last tick. You’re hoping for a big hit, a fumble. But no, not really. Just trying to fight every play, trying to finish strong, get that ball back, try to get a turnover if we could or another stop.”

On quarterback Eric Dungey’s hurdle and play in overtime:
“I think he’s a hell of a competitor. I told him when I recruited him that I didn’t want him jumping over people anymore, but he didn’t listen to me on that one. That was a hell of an athletic play. He’s a very competitive young man. We’re going to learn every game, there’s still things that he needs to clean up and fix.”

On team as a whole:
“We’ve got a lot of competitive young men that I’m really proud of and I love their effort. It was a hell of a battle. You hate to lose them late like that. It’s a difficult thing for those kids and our coaches, but it was a good football game and I thought both teams continued to fight their tails off to try to get a victory and that’s what college football is all about. That’s the way it’s supposed to feel. Just would like to come up with a victory next time, so we’ll get on that airplane, get home and get to work on Pitt.”

On what to tell team to motivate them before facing upcoming opponents:
“Just to go back to work, fight as strong as we can, continue to improve upon mistakes that we had, to improve upon fundamentals that we need to continue to get better at, just believe in one another and believe in the process. The kids have been good that way. No hanging your heads, no excuses. Let’s be strong men in these situations. When times get tough, let’s lean on one another as brothers, pick each other up when someone feels bad about not playing as well as they should have, or one particular play here or one particular play there. It’s up to us as coaches and them as players to pick each other up, have faith in the process and have faith in one another that we’re one play away from winning the next one. Just try to accentuate the positives of the game and learn from the negatives. Really that’s the daily process that we try to put forth and I know our kids will go to work and our coaches will go to work hard on those things here starting tomorrow when we get back.”

Syracuse Player Quotes

Senior Cornerback Julian Whigham

On Canaan Severin’s 36-yard touchdown catch in double overtime:
“They came out with a tighter formation, so I ran to the corner. He ran across the formation. I was the backside deep safety. The quarterback scrambled out of the pocket, I saw him break his route vertically, and I tried to get over there as best I could and try to go get the ball. He just made a great play.”

On the difference between the two halves of play:
“Guys in the first half came out with a lot of energy, we were trying to take shots. In the second half, when you keep trying to take shots sometimes you miss those tackles. We just have to do a better job wrapping up. I know I had one [missed tackle] in which the guy made a great play, kept his balance and everything. We will definitely work on that in practice on Tuesday.”

On slowing down Taquan Mizzell as a pass catcher:
“We did our best to contain him. He is a great athlete, and he has good hands. We saw that on tape from the first day, so we just wanted to make sure and contain him. When they hit the screens and all the little passes get to him, just make sure we box it and cage it. For the most part, we came out and tried to box it as much as we could.”

Freshman Quarterback Eric Dungey

On the sack he took on third down in triple overtime:
“I was frustrated. I saw the pressure coming and I should have gotten rid of the ball. It’s frustrating. I hate to lose.”

On the game as a whole:
“We were moving the ball really well throughout the game. We just didn’t capitalize at points [during the game]. I’m just proud of the linemen and the running backs that were running hard and the receivers that were making great plays.”

On his 26-yard touchdown run:
“I just saw it open up, so I was trying to get to the endzone. I was just trying to make a play and compete. [The coaches] want me sliding and not taking shots, but it’s not really in my nature. I try to get every yard I can. I’m a competitor, but I do have to be smarter about that and protect my body.”

Sophomore Linebacker Zaire Franklin

On Virginia’s 19-play drive at the end of regulation:
“The best way I could describe it is us not capitalizing on opportunities. Throughout the drive, we put them in second down and long, third down and long opportunities. We just didn’t capitalize. We had technique problems, stupid penalties, and we have to get off the field on third down, especially in that situation.”

On his emotions after losing the game:
“Just disappointment. I feel like we are not a 3-3 team, but that is our reality. And when he crossed the goal line it was set in stone. So just disappointed at the way things have gone thus far, but we have to get back to the drawing board on Sunday and turn it back around against Pitt.”

On defending against Taquan Mizzell:
“He is really talented. He definitely has a knack for receiving, and he is a pretty good route runner. They give him a lot of opportunities in space to do his thing. I felt like for the most part we really did a good job, but when it came down to the last couple of drives we let up on them.”

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