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They made a lot of critical third downs. We’ve been such a great third-down defense, but they made a lot of third downs in the game. They ran the ball effectively and protected well. We couldn’t get to the passer. They had a good game plan and executed better than we did tonight.

(On coming back from being behind 17-0)
If anything it energizes you to rally back like that. We fought our heart out to get back to 17-17. They kicked a field goal, and we drove right back down and tried a field goal and missed it. Then they drove right down and stuck it in. Then we’re two scores down and had to scramble.

The guys fought hard. I was proud of the way they fought, but the bottom line is they out-executed us.

(On giving up a touchdown after the missed field goal in the fourth quarter)
Our defense all year long has been coming through for us in that situation. This is the one time that it didn’t happen.

(On Hagans’ play)
His scramble ability is outstanding. Those linemen are so big, and he’s a little bitty guy. It’s hard to find him. When he’s right, he’s a very good quarterback.

(On Ball’s running in the second half)
It just worked out that way. We were running a little option off to the side, and he was able to pick up some yards. As the game wore on, we were seeing what they were defending us with and trying to take advantage of it.

(On Virginia’s 3-4 defense)
They’re an unusual defense with the 3-4 and different people dropping and things like that. When they throw that at you once a year, it takes some work to get that done. We weren’t exactly the way we wanted to be during the course of the night, but we kept finding ways to move the football and get the ball down the field, but a holding call here and something there – but that’s the difference between winning and losing.


The important thing is that Nate Lyles will be fine. In terms of the overall game, I’m really very admiring of the guts and the effort and the determination that these guys showed. Our numbers were down a little bit, and they went down a little bit more in a hurry. But they didn’t blink, they didn’t flinch, and as a result they have something that they can be very proud of.

(On the last UVa scoring drive)
Marques (Hagans) and (Jason) Snelling had a couple of plays in there that were all about heart and will. … There were a lot of guys out there who had a lot of heart and will.

(On what he told the offense before that drive)
I told them, ‘Here’s the opportunity for you now, fellas. You’ve got to be like a shark smelling blood.’ And they did. They took the ball and they finished it off.

(On Nate Lyles’ injury)
He had movement in all of his extremities on the field, but he did have a degree of numbness that was decreasing while we were out there. They told me at halftime that things were very positive. … We were able to tell the team after the game … that he’s going to be okay.

(On the injury-depleted defensive line)
I thought Allen Billyk gave us some good minutes and Alex Field came in for a few minutes and helped us out. But really those four kids – Keenan (Carter), Allen, Chris [Long] and Brennan (Schmidt) – did a lot for us tonight. They were on the nickel, they were on the goal line and they were on the regular (defense). They knew the deal coming in: there’s no rest for the weary.

(On Deyon Williams)
He played with one of those ‘I want the ball’ attitudes tonight.

(On the game on 11/19 vs. Virginia Tech)
I think we’ll be playing against one of the best teams to ever come into Scott Stadium. We’re going to have all we can do to get ready for them. They’ve had a week off to self-scout and to scout Virginia and to rest up. That’s a big advantage. I know it’s a big advantage when we’ve had a week off, and I think it’s a real big advantage for them. But we’re not going to blink, we’re not going to flinch.


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