QUOTEBOARD: Tigers silence 'Cuse

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer was caught on TV tossing a few expletives towards Dabo Swinney at the end of the first half.

As his team trailed 35-7, it was rather apparent that Shaffer didn't particularly care for Swinney's decision to attempt a fourth-and-goal conversion with 14 seconds left in the first half.

Reporters delivered the news to Swinney after the game.

"[Shafer] was great after the game," he said. "Upset because we went for it?"

Apparently.

To that, Swinney replied, "We supposed to take a knee?"

So, why go for it instead of settling for a field goal from Chandler Catanzaro?

"We felt like we had control of the game…we just didn't want to give them a chance for any momentum going into the half," Swinney said. "We knew if we score, then it's another touchdown on the board and we have control of the game. If we don't, it's going to end right there. That was the thought on that."

He added, "We've got a whole lot of football left, a lot of football left. Anything can happen, especially if you saw what happened in the third quarter. A little momentum there, there's nothing less important than the score at halftime. The game is never over until the last second ticks.

"I'm not taking knees in the second quarter, number one. Number two; it's exactly what we said. We felt like, we take three points, that's fine. We felt like a touchdown would have been a better deal. If we don't make it, let's go into the half, let's get to the half. If we do kickoff, chance for some kind of momentum play. We just eliminated that."

As for Shafer getting caught on camera, Swinney offered his condolences.

"Hate to hear that," he said.

Not converting the fourth-and-goal

"Very disappointing. That's one thing we take pride in, being one of the top red zone offenses in the country. For us to come up with some missed assignments, that's not acceptable. We could have put them away right there, gave all the momentum to us. But we'll build from that." - Chad Morris

"That was a little disappointing. We pride ourselves on that. Last year, we were the number one red zone offense in the country…every time we get down there, we need to score." - Tajh Boyd

"We'll hear about that, probably all week. One thing [Morris] does, he coaches us really hard. In the redzone, we want to be 100 percent in the red zone." - Sammy Watkins

The D does it again

"I think our defense has improved tremendously throughout the season, from game to game. It's definitely good for us to go out there and prove over and over, try to build that persona that we're going to make stops and our offense can rely on us." - Spencer Shuey

"If we do have a mistake…we feel like our defense can get a stop. That showed tonight. They were huge. They just kept going out there, doing their job and getting the ball back to our offense." - Swinney

"Really proud of the way they responded to adversity." - Brent Venables

"I thought our defense just responded and really played outstanding for four quarters." - Swinney

"The defense, can't speak more about these guys. Those guys are unbelievable…those guys are feisty, mean, playing together. They're a really great group." - Boyd

"Defensively, it's the first-time in 13 years that we've had four-straight games holding the opponent to 14 points or less. Just getting better. Just getting better, consistently performing." - Swinney

"Those guys are building an identity right now. Very confident with those guys, they take a lot of pressure off this offense." - Boyd

Third quarter scare

"Really kind of felt it going into halftime. Just, kind of, all the years of experience, we've got this one sealed and delivered. Sure enough, they got us on our heels that first drive coming out in the half. We didn't play very well. We didn't coach them very well on that first drive. Then, we got settled back down, made some huge plays during that third quarter to keep things under wrap." - Venables

"They did a good job of coming out with some great energy, especially in the second half. But our guys settled in. Defensively, we settled in and got it back going. Then, we hit the big play when we needed it." - Swinney

"They gained a little momentum being able to come in the third quarter, drive down field on us and put it in. Our offense was struggling there for a little bit. We kind of put on us as a defense to not give them momentum and try to stop them. We were able to make some good stops for our offense, so they could get that clicking again." - Shuey

"No panic, no panic." - Morris

More from the head coach

"We talked about getting a fast start. We knew it was going to be a tough place to play, but our guys came out focused, really executed at a high level early in the game."

"I don't know when the last time we had four interceptions. Good to see those guys being in position, not only being in position, but finishing the play on the ball."

"We made it unrealistically loud in practice. We don't want to have any excuses. I will say this: Their crowd is great, a good venue, [and] a fun place to come play football. They've got a great situation here."

"We knew, one of the things coming into this game, they'd only given up four sacks all year. Their style of play, the ball comes out quick. The sacks that we got today were a reflection of our coverage. A lot of quick game…but we made them hold the ball a little bit today because of our coverage, can't say enough about the job that our secondary did tonight."

"I wish we didn't have the two turnovers. We'd been doing a great job of taking care of the ball, but we still won that turnover margin. That is a huge statistic for us. That's something we've got to continue to do."

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