Quoting Utah State After Loss to Auburn

Auburn, Ala.--Comments from Utah State coaches and players are featured following their 42-38 football loss to Auburn at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Quoting head coach Gary Andersen:

"Well, it's obviously a disappointing loss. The players fought hard and played hard. In the defining moments, Auburn executed, we couldn't execute. I think if you sit down and look at it again, it's not lack of effort or lack of want-to. It is tremendous athletes.

"If you watch this game as the field spread, obviously Auburn has tremendous athletes. It became very hard for us to defend. It became very hard for us to block them when the field got spread out. I credit that to their tremendous athletes, really, at the end of the day.

"A very disheartening loss, we pulled out everything we possibly could. We gave every fake in every fourth down scenario. We executed every one of those. We failed to execute a gigantic play on the onside kick to pretty much win the game.

"We'll bounce back. This is a good team. I think we were more physical. It's a positive. For us to come in here and play that well physically is a positive. In the run game and the passing game, they were more physical than us. They were pass-rushing very well and we could not block them when they pinned their ears back and came around the edges. There is no question that it was a big factor in the game, in my opinion.

"Us being able to get a pass-rush and when they had to get a pass-rush they were able to get the pass rush. I thought the offense was basically exceptional all day long. They did exactly what they had to do to win the game. Special teams and defense at the end did not."

(On QB Chuckie Keeton)

"Chuckie is a special player. I promise you no one is hurt more, even though he has been with us for a short period of time. His fortitude, competiveness and toughness--you saw it. You saw exactly how he played as a true freshman. I think we are in very good hands at the quarterback position just as we felt as we continued through camp. I love Chuckie Keeton. I have loved Chuckie Keeton since I walked into his living room."

(On special teams play)

"You guys have to understand how athletic Auburn is. If you cannot see that out there on the football field, understand that this is the SEC and the tremendous athletes they have out there on the football field. It is not an excuse in any shape or form, it is a credit to them and their recruiting that they've done in their program.

"They are faster, physical, long, aggressive. They have tremendous people running down on kickoffs. They have tremendous people on kickoff return. I could go on and on and on. Guy makes a great play. It's a great kick on an onside kick. The guy rises above us and gets the ball. Is it right? I'm not saying it's right. Could we have done better? Yes, we could have. Auburn has some special men in their program and you have to understand that.

"That's what our strategy was, we have to take chances. We took chances on fourth down, it's the exact same reason why we came in an understood that we have to be able to power the ball. We have to be physical with them and knock them around. That's what we believed that we had to do to be able to stay in the football game.

"In the first half we played very well. We played 20-reps especially on the defensive side of the football and we hung in there, but we gave up a kickoff return that was huge."

(On controlling the line of scrimmage for the majority of the game)

"I think a couple things will go into that. There were probably a couple things that they have not seen scheme-wise as far as out front. We changed a little bit. I'm sure it was a little bit of a scenario for them. Auburn is big and physical and they are moving around, but our mindset was that we had to come in.

"That (Michael) Dyer kid is a tremendous athlete. We felt like we had to control the inside and that was a must and it was a heavy emphasis for us. They tried to get it out to the outside and did some good things at times, but we ran the ball well on the outside. The run game at the end of the day also kept us in the game, but obviously it did not win the game for us.

"Our inability to tackle in space is what lost the game for us, but I am very proud of the physical nature that our players brought on both sides of the football and I am not real happy on the way we rushed the passer and protected the passer."

(On what to take away from this game)

"The biggest thing we are going to take away from this game is we are done taking moral victories and are almost there. There is none of that. We expected to come in here and play very well. We expected to put ourselves in a good position late in the fourth quarter. We will build from it and learn from it. We will know exactly where we sit, and I expect this to be a very good football team.

"This is hard to swallow. Opportunities like this do not come around every day. We let it slip away from us, but every single week, whether we win or lose, we will learn and we will push forward. We expect to move forward and improve in the areas that we were deficient in today."

Quoting Linebacker Bobby Wagner:

(On what they will take from this game heading into the rest of the season)

"That we can compete with anybody, but for the defensive team to not step up when their name is called we are going to continue to lose like this, and I put that solely on my shoulders."

(What it is going to take from them to finish out games?)

"It will take everybody coming out and being ready to play in every aspect of the ball, offense, defense and special teams. This game came down to defense and we did not step up."

(On their physical dominance throughout most of the game)

"I felt like we were stronger than them. I felt like we were faster than them, but I felt like they made plays when they needed to, and we did not."

Quoting Quarterback Chuckie Keeton

"Coming out we had to have high intensity. We did our job. Right out of the gate we came out hard and we scored on our second possession. It doesn't matter, we didn't win. The only objective is to win. It doesn't matter how many yards we racked up or points we scored if we don't win. We definitely took strides today to get where we need to be. All we can do is go up hill from here."

(On first career start in an SEC environment)

"I really wasn't too nervous. I knew the guys around me had my back. I just came in as focused as I could be and tried to get the ball into our receivers' hands. Ultimately, we just didn't do what we needed to do."

(On what Utah State will take away from a loss to Auburn)

"The biggest thing, now, is that we need to finish. We played three and a half quarters and we just couldn't get the last half of the fourth quarter, so all we need to do is just finish. With this team we can definitely win the WAC championship."

Quoting Running Back Robert Turbin

"Obviously, we had the game won, up 10 with about four minutes to go in the game. It was an obvious onside kick situation and we didn't execute."

(On Chuckie Keeton's performance)

"He did a great job. You're talking about an 18-year-old true freshman who is coming straight out of high school and not only playing at the Division I level, but being on the road and playing against the defending BCS National Champions. To perform the way he did just shows that he has a great career ahead of him."

(On making sure this type of situation is not a recurrence)

"I have to lead better. You can't put it all on the coaches. We practice over and over with onside kick situations. I am on the hands team. We have been over it countless times and we just have to do a better job and be more prepared."

(On what to take away from a tough loss)

"Just win. For the rest of the season, the focus and mindset is going to be nothing else, but just to win. I don't think you understand how much this game hurt to be up 10 with four minutes to go with the defending BCS National Champions on the ropes. The focus right now is to win, period."


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