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Post Game Quotes

Nov. 17, 2012

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Head Coach Ellis Johnson
Opening Statement...
"I was really proud of the effort. I thought the kids played hard. They came back several times after tough things and bounced back. I think it was the game we played the hardest other than UCF, trying to overcome adversity. We made some great offensive plays, had some good defensive stops. We didn't produce any turnovers, but I thought we had some good stops, especially in critical times. Overall, I thought our players played their hearts out. There was a lot of mistakes, things that could have been a little different. The call at the end, I feel like, was as big as anything. We thought about going for one, taking it into overtime. All week, we felt like we had a great two-point play on them and if we got into that situation, we felt like we'd go to that. That one is on me. We talked about it on the phones and whether to do that or not. We could have gone into overtime and still had the same outcome. At that time, we had great momentum and were playing well and it was a decision I made. Hopefully, it wasn't going to be the wrong decision, but if we'd executed a little better, we would have had a shot. With the amount of time on the clock and those types of things, we thought it was the right time to do it. I don't want to second guess, but I do hate that our kids played so hard and - in this one, they really had a shot to win. I was really proud of some of the things they did, especially in some of the things we have not done well over the previous weeks and we did pretty well (in those things) tonight. There were some positives in it, but in the end, it's another time of frustration for them and I really feel for them."

On if Arsenio Favor established the starting QB job...
"Absolutely. It's his to hold on to until somebody competes with him. Coming to this stage of the season, there's only one more game and he certainly gets the start on that one. He made some really nice throws and he's always been able to do that. He can throw the deep ball better than anyone we've got. He struggled a bit on some reads early on, made some mistakes, didn't see some receivers that were open, but thank goodness we were playing well enough that he got some more shots. I was really proud of the way he handled it. When you look back, he's probably had five weeks of practice now. He's really done some good things in a tough situation."

On the play of the seniors...
"A lot of (the seniors) played well tonight. Going through what we've been through, it's very difficult for them to step up and give that kind of effort but I thought there were several off them that had some good performances. (Jamie Collins) had some big tackles and had good pressure on the quarterback. I thought that, defensively, we were not impressive statistically but made some key stops at key times to get the ball back."

On the passing game...
"I thought (Favor) made some great throws, and we knew he could that. A lot of them were good calls and planned by our coaches, play action with a couple pre-determined strikes. But, (Favor) threw some great balls and the receivers made some better catches. A couple of those balls, they had to adjust and turn and make catches over the shoulder, caught some balls we have not caught this season. We made some throws we have not made this season. The protection was good overall. There were a lot of things that were better, a lot of things you get excited about. You just wish they would have come sooner rather than later. I really have to give (Favor) a lot of credit. With a very limited amount of work, over the previous five weeks, (Favor) came out there and gave us a chance to win a ball game."

On the decision to go for two points at the end...
"I hate to second guess, but if you go for one, you don't know you're going to make it. You get one and go into overtime; you don't know you're going to win. It wasn't that the ball game as on the line, but we felt like we had a lot of momentum and a really good play. All week long, we felt like we had a really good play down there. When we decided to do it, I just felt the momentum and the emotion was there. If you hit that thing, you go down, make a stop and close the door. I don't know that it was the right or wrong decision in the moment. That was totally on me. It was a play action pass. I think what happened, it wasn't there initially, then when (Favor) pulled back and tried to look again, I think he could have gone into the end zone but it came open again and I think he held it. Then, it just closed on him."

Head Coach Mike Price
How was the game, coach?...
"It was a team victory for offense, defense and special teams. Everybody played well and it was a very exciting game for us. We did everything we could to break their will, but they didn't break and they played hard so you have to give them credit for that. But our team played hard also when we needed to and it was a great victory for us. "

Were you surprised at Southern Miss decided to go for a two-point conversion at the end?...
"I wasnct really surprised - they took Central Florida into two overtimes. At this time of year when teams have some injuries, it's a 'take what you can get' kind of deal. But Greg Watkins hit the quarterback right in the chest and Josh Fely jumped right in and made a great play at the end for us."

What did you think of Autrey Golden's return?...
"It was wonderful - he was blocked well and he always looks like he's going to take it all the way like a 100-meter sprinter. It was a well-designed play and of course Coach Banks has done a great job all season with our special teams."

How would you sum up Blair Sullivan's performance tonight?...
"He did a pretty good job. He threw a few that landed in the state of Mississippi - they might've landed a little outside of Hattiesburg on a couple of those throws he let loose. But he has to get the ball down a little bit. On other ones he did great and did an excellent job running the football. We put a new play with him running up the middle and they had never seen it before, but of course they made the adjustment after halftime."

Coach Tommy West is a great defense coordinator and he shut that off pretty quick. We had quite a few yards though just from the quarterback keeping it going up the middle."

Thoughts on Mike Edwards in the second half...
"He was sicker than a dog before the game and he's really sick right now with the flu and an upset stomach, but he made some big plays tonight. And Autrey Golden of course made the long catch too, so it was a well-earned and well-fought victory. This is definitely something we wanted to do here and it's a tough place to play against a team that has just as good of athletes as we do. And like I said before, with just as good of coaches also. But we came out on top in the end."

Southern Miss Player Quotes
Austin Quattrochi
On the emotions of playing your last home game...
"It is kind of a bittersweet feeling for me. It is bitter for the fact that this was my last game at The Rock, and it is sweet in the fact that I went out with a good career and I played hard in every single game and I don't have any regrets. So I am going to keep-on, keeping-on and on to the next."

On what has happened this year...
"I wish I could put my finger on it. I am sure everybody wishes (they could), because I don't think it is one answer but a number of things. It is just hard to really put your thumb on it with what is going on."

On the successes of the offense tonight...
"Having success in the passing game tonight helped us running the football. In the past, the defenses have been putting eight in the box, kind of really knowing that they were going to stop the run first and that they were going to make us throw it. Having success throwing the football tonight really opened it up for us as the offensive line. I feel like the O-line played well. We were opening up holes. The three seniors (on the O-Line) that played tonight really played well and they have nothing to be ashamed of as well."

Arsenio Favor
On the success of the deep passing game...
"The played a two-high, safety look all night. The thing was, coming in, they were going to stack the box. Teams have been stacking the box and finally I felt comfortable - I know I felt comfortable - and the receivers felt comfortable with catching the passes so we just attacked."

On being able to put up the passing yards...
"I have a whole lot of belief in my arm. People tend to think I am a run-first guy, but I am getting older and it is gone straight to the passing game. I have a lot of faith in my arm and the coaches believe in my throwing ability."

On the senior class...
"All of them are some great guys to be around. I hate it for them, but at the same time...it is hard to explain, but I tried my best to get them one tonight. We struggled a lot this year and the No. 1 thing on my list was to get those guys one."

Quentin Pierce
On your last game at The Rock...
"I feel like I left it all out there tonight. I played hard for my teammates and for my fellow seniors. We tried to come away with a win but we came up short. I feel like everybody let it all out for the team; we just fell short. We have another game next week and we are going to try and get a win."

On your memories of Southern Miss...
"I have a lot of great memories from my time at Southern Miss. I love this place. I am glad I came here and chose this place. I have a lot of great memories with a lot of great people."

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