Nov. 24, 2013
Connecticut Head Coach T.J Weist:
"I just can't say enough how proud we are with this team. Finally playing real football in the second half, our players came out determined to win, make plays, and play smart football. They were able to make things happen. It came down to the heart and soul of this team, and it really showed because we were able to come back. We haven't done that all season. Being down 21-0 in the first half, we beat ourselves. Grinding it out and playing smart football was what we wanted to do. They came out in the second half giving it their all, and so I give this win to them. We finally came out on top."
On the halftime speech:
"It wasn't anything special. Honestly, they just had to come together and play the game they know to play. Going through this all season, I said to them let's get back to work, let's start over. We have the ball to start the second half so let us forget the past, and let's make some plays to win this game. Everyone came together and did it one step at a time, and that's what you need to do."
On game tying touchdown run by QB Casey Cochran:
"I kept telling them to run the ball. Keep running it in there, keep piling it up. We knew they would be pinching everything in. We told Casey [Cochran] to look for the pull and get into the end zone. So when they put all of their money on the inside that's what we did."
On player's reactions at halftime:
"I don't think the guys were down on themselves because we stopped them on offense going into the half. Those were probably the best series of plays to stop them in order for us to get some momentum going forward. It didn't necessarily give us hope, but some momentum to have a chance. The team really just came together and made it work."
On LB Yawin Smallwood:
"He is the team captain, he's one of our best players. He should be making big plays for us and that is exactly what we needed. The whole game was a crucial situation for us, we needed a win. It wasn't necessarily desperation, but everything needs to be performed well. [The team] finally woke up and made the decision that this was going to be the game that we win. He stepped up and made those key plays, which really brought everything together for us. We had to make it happen, and I'm just so proud of [the team]."
On the first win of the season:
"Unbelievable. I am really happy for our players because everything we fought through, everything we've been though, this team went `all in'. This team has been more forced than any other team I have been with, and I'm proud because they really do deserve this win. They can finally feel accomplished for what they did."
Quarterback Casey Cochran:
On their first touchdown of the game:
"I couldn't even believe I was in the end zone. It was an amazing play. RB Max DeLorenzo and RB Lyle McCombs basically set that play up with how hard they had been running the ball."
On what happened in the second half:
"There's something called a time to win. We all needed this win, we really did. It's been way too long since we had a win. At that point we all said enough is enough. It was time to step it. I didn't do much the first half at all, but when it came to the second half we just had to perform. Everyone made plays. LB Yawin Smallwood's pick six was amazing. That put us in the game; it gave us the game."
On WR Jeremy Davis as a wide receiver:
"He is one of our best players, hands down. He's one of the best receivers that we have. We have a lot of weapons, but Jeremy is special. He can do a lot with the ball and is a leader at the same time. He starts making plays and then other guys start making plays. All it takes is one play. He stepped it up this game; he's been stepping it up all season. He really shined in this game."
On the feelings in the locker room at halftime compared to the feelings at the end of the game:
"You can't compare them. It was different. We were down 21-0, but we all knew we were going to win this game. At half time we stepped it up. The first drive in the second half we were really ready to show what we had, and I think we did that."
On LB Yawin Smallwood's pick six:
"I was throwing the ball on the sideline to Jeremy. I remember stopping and watching him make the catch. I was holding the ball in my hand and I said `why am I holding this ball?' Everyone was running down the sideline. We were all flabbergasted. He made an amazing play. There was not a single guy on the bench that was not going nuts. That play made the game for sure."
Linebacker Yawin Smallwood:
On what the Temple was trying to do in coverage:
"Coach Jon Wholley is one of the best linebacker coaches in the country. He had us prepared for that route. I was reading the quarterback's eyes and saw the route coming back towards me. I went out there, jumped out and made the play."
On the first thing he did when he intercepted the ball:
"I had one thing on my mind, which is to get points for my team. I got the opportunity, picked it off and there was only one thing on my mind. That was to get in the end zone and celebrate with my teammates."
On the importance of the first touchdown in the second half:
"We came in (the locker room) at half time and talked about what we needed to do to come up with this win, and that was one of the things we needed to do. Defensively, our goal was to go out there and get a stop. Offensively, the goal was to go out there and get a score. We felt if we did that, we had a great chance to win the football game."
On if it was an adjustment in play made at halftime or an adjustment in attitude that contributed to the win:
"It was the attitude. We were 0-9 at that point. We had nothing to lose. [Head Coach T.J. Weist] had been preaching to us all week: effort and finish. We had one more half to go out there and prove that we could beat this team, and we did that."
On what the win means for the team moving forward:
"The coaches always preach to us, `when the going gets tough, the hustle gets going.' That's something that we had to go through this game. We came out here and we were down 21-0. I made a few mistakes in the first half and let my teammates down. I was real down on myself and it was really tough for me. When I looked at my teammates and my coaches, they kept saying `forget about it; just keep playing.' That's what I did and was able to come up with some plays at the end."
Temple Head Coach Matt Rhule:
"I'm extremely frustrated and angry at the way we played in the second half. I'm disappointed for all the fans and loyal students that came out to watch us play. I just told the team what I really think - at the end of the day you can't win football games if you're going to turn the ball over and have penalties. If you're not going to convert on third down, they're going to convert on third down. We were three for nine in the second half on third down. We had bad field position, dropped a punt and let them have the ball at the 50-yard-line. We didn't have good field position, didn't win the third down battle - [UCONN] won it in the second half - my hat's off to them. They wanted to win the football game and found a way to do just that."
On what happened in the second half:
"I'd love to be able to tell you that, honestly. I thought we were going to have energy in the second half. I certainly thought our team shouldn't think the second half would be easy. They came out and moved the football, made some plays, but we just weren't able to get things going offensively today. They just outplayed us in the second half. We had turnovers and penalties and every time we got a stop, we allowed them to convert on fourth down. I didn't think we played good football in the second half."
On how the seniors have helped the team this year:
"I think the seniors that are still here playing for us are very loyal to Temple. They're great human beings and I know how badly they wanted to go out with a win today. I feel for them that they didn't have that, but that doesn't diminish what they've done and who they are. So many of them are finishing one or two degrees and graduate school this year. They've been very loyal to this program, and we're all very thankful."
On the goal-line defense this year:
"Our goal-line defense has been outstanding this year. They only had 230 yards of offense. This is by far the best we've played on defense. We gave up one long deep ball, which shouldn't happen, but I think our kids are really committed to keeping them out of the end zone. I thought our guys made a lot of great plays down there, but we needed our corner to go fight for the ball instead of being hands-on and giving them a second set of downs. It would have been crucial if we stopped them there, but I thought we showed real resolve on the goal-line and have for several weeks now."
On why WR Ryan Alderman was targeted so often:
"A lot of it was their coverage. WR Tyler Karpinski came in and played for WR Jalen Fitzpatrick (injured hand). Most of our passing game is based on how the defense plays their coverage. Once Jalen went out they did a good job of double teaming WR Robby Anderson and trying to take him out of the game. That opened up some opportunities for some other guys."
On QB P.J. Walker's performance:
"I got after him out there. This is the time for him to learn how to play and win. Even at the end of the half where we ended up not scoring, we have to protect the ball. You're not going to win when you have that many turnovers. He needed to do a better job of holding and protecting the football, and not throwing the ball up for one-on-one shots. At some point you have to tuck the ball or check down to the next receiver. When he did that he was really effective. Knowing P.J., he'll learn from this and hopefully it'll drive him to be the best that he can be."
On what needs to change in the second half for Temple to win:
"Whether you win or lose, I'd like to feel like we're the most excited team playing out there. To me, turnovers and penalties are the result of focus. You want to win the game as opposed to outplay the guy in front of you. I don't know that we had that mentality in the second half. We went out there and did some things that are uncharacteristic of us, which is unfortunate. We just have to keep getting better. We have to teach the players what it takes to win. It doesn't take a lot to win, but you have to have great effort, physicality, and to be smart. You have to have the discipline to execute the job at hand."
On how the situation has affected the offensive strategy:
"We've made one field goal all year. Any time the ball gets passed the 40-yard-line, I say to myself that we have four downs. At some point we'd like to develop there so we have points at hand and so we can be more aggressive on third down. That's not where we are right now. This week it was a bad snap, but these things significantly impact play-calling."
On the reaction of the seniors on the field after the game:
"I think the seniors were disappointed. As I told the seniors, senior day is not about what you've done, it's about your legacy moving forward. The legacy I'd like them to leave is exactly where we are right now - how to finish and win a ballgame. We weren't able to do that tonight. The seniors were certainly trying to lead and teach that mentality. Hopefully we can do that next week at Memphis. As we go in to this offseason, all the things that have gone wrong - the penalties, turnovers - we'll get those corrected as these kids get older. We'll make them do it the right way. Right now we're relying on our seniors and they're doing the best that they can."
Temple Quarterback P.J. Walker:
On what happened to the team in the second half:
"You have to come out and want to play. It showed today that we didn't want to finish, and UConn did. We have to come out next week and overcome this loss, come out and play in the second half as well as we played in the first half."
On what UConn did differently in the second half:
"They had a few busts in the first half that we took advantage of, and in the second half they started playing odd man coverage. They started to anticipate when I was going to throw the ball as well as jumping the line."
On developing a killer instinct:
"We can't keep talking about it and not doing it. We have to show one time that we have it. That is what it really is, showing everyone that we can really do it."
On his message to the rest of the players on the team:
"Keep your heads up and do not let anything distract you. You have to keep going and to play your hardest because at one point this will turn around."
On what the team needs to work on going into the game as well as the off season:
"Coming more together, offensively and defensively. Trust one another. Trust that he is going to make that tackle, catch the ball, make that throw, or block that guy. It's more of a trust thing now that we have to come along with."
On his fumbles:
"The fumbles were all on me. Just holding the ball with one hand...I should have had two hands on the ball. I made bad decisions. It's all on me."
On his feelings towards the seniors and not being able to get the win today:
"I feel bad because I feel like we had this game. I feel like we let them down as a team for not being able to finish the game with a win."
On the interception by UConn LB Yawin Smallwood:
"The linebacker got a good jump on the ball by reading my eyes and seeing where I was going to throw it. As I said, they started jumping the line in the second half. I wasn't anticipating him to jump that route, but he did so you just have to learn from it."
On rushing 19 times:
"They had a lot of break-downs and there were a lot of gaps open. I tried to make plays with my feet instead of trying to force the ball into the players. I had to take down a bit of yardage with my feet."
Linebacker Tyler Matakevich:
On his message as a defensive leader:
"I do not care what anyone says. It is our fault. We have to step up as a defense. That is the most frustrating thing. We came out in the first half and they had less than 100 yards total offense and no points. There is no reason why we couldn't do that in the second half. Honestly, it just comes down to the defense. We just really need to step up. Especially me, I need to be out there making plays. We need to get off the field on 3rd down."
On the problems in the second half:
"People definitely got comfortable with a lead. People think they can pull back a little bit and settle down but you can't, especially in this game. You have to finish. It's hard to win a college football game and nobody is just going to give you a game. [UConn] was not going to let up and just give us a game. They were going to come right back. Some kids just don't have that mindset yet, and that's the part that we are really struggling with."
Wide Receiver Robbie Anderson:
On the second half loss:
"I don't know. I just feel like we are not finishing. People are getting relaxed and not finishing. That's it."
On playing for a full 60 minutes:
"Definitely, that's what it is. That is exactly what has been hurting us all season. We will start off good, or start off slow and then pick it up, but we have to play the whole game, the whole 60 minutes."
Tight End Chris Coyer
On the offense in the second half:
"You have to give credit to UConn, they played hard. I think we came out a little bit flat, and it was the negative plays and penalties that hurt us the entire game. Those kill drives."
On his last home game:
"It is tough to leave, knowing that this is the last time I will be walking in and walking out of here as a Temple Owl. It is almost hard to believe. I am in a little bit of shock, but we need to keep moving forward."
On Memphis next week:
"We have not really started game planning yet. First thing is first, we have to eliminate the penalties and negative plays that hurt us in this game. The first way to give yourself a chance to win is not to lose it. The penalties and the negative plays do that."
On QB PJ Walker:
"PJ plays his heart out. He is a fighter and he is coming along. He is not there yet. He is still really young and has a long time here left and a lot to learn, but he keeps making strides every week."
On his legacy at Temple:
"I want to leave behind a group of guys that have learned how to win and are set and ready to win a championship. With all of the seniors we have, it is still a very young team; a team that still has a lot left to learn."