Head Coach Charlie StrongOpening Statement:
"You look at the win today and it was a total team effort, offense, defense and in the kicking game. We had two of our best players down, Adam Froman and Bilal Powell and I said to the guys earlier in the week, you are going to have to start believing in yourselves and you guys are going to have to realize even though two guys are down everyone is going to have to play 10 percent better than what they have been playing. We have yet to put together a complete game. I said before the game, in order for us to win on the road everyone is going to have to play. We went out today and we played very well."
On this win compared to others this year:
"What is so different about this one is coming on the road. You look at the last three years and we have not won a road conference game. But we go on the road and beat a good football team."
On the offensive line in the second half:
"What we were trying to tell them at halftime, we were down three, and I said we are going to take the opening drive and we are going to march it down the field. Either we are going to tie the score or we are going to score a touchdown. So we go down and score a touchdown.
"Our offensive line is a senior group and we know we can run the ball because we are a physical team. Back there you have Jeremy Wright, Victor Anderson, and Blayne Donnell. I told the offensive line to just run the football. When we get to throwing it we get behind the chains and we just don't want to gamble. They (Syracuse) bring a lot of pressure. We didn't want to get our quarterback sacked. You saw one right before half. We didn't need that to happen. We needed to run the football and just play physical. On the road you have to play physical and take the crowd out of the game. We took the crowd out of the game."
On quarterback Justin Burke:
"Just a tremendous game he had. Just managing and making some throws when he needed to make some throws. Burke is a senior and he's played a lot for us. It was key for him to go and play today. I think more than anything just his confidence and the team's confidence, knowing that [Adam] Froman is down and we don't know when he will be back, but you still have a quarterback in [Justin] Burke."
On the defense in the second half:
"Defensively, we know we are not very big. We know we are fast and we are quick and we can bring pressure. We know this. We cannot allow people to score because we do not want to get behind. We were down 17-14 and it was key. We took the ball and we drove it. Then defensively they started playing and realized we can't let these guys score. We have to go play.
On the fourth-down completion to Andrell Smith:
"The one with Andrell we just got the ball down there and we knew we needed to score. On fourth down we just threw it to him and it was big. It kept the drive going."
On going for it on fourth down late in the game:
"I think the ball at the time was on the 32-yard line so I said if we punt it it's going to go out the back of their endzone and they get it at the 20. You only gain 12 yards. The quarterback sneak was a fourth and an inch, now if we can't gain an inch the way we've been running the ball, then there would be an issue there. I did not think about punting at all. I told them we needed to get the first down. I told them we're going for it."
Justin Burke, QuarterbackOn the game and playing against Syracuse:
"They're on the rise just like we are, that was a battle out there."
On whether he was surprised that Coach Strong decided to go for it on 4th and 1 at the end of the game:
"No, I think Coach Strong believed in what we could do today. We came in and decided to run the ball in the second half and it gashed them. And we would throw it every once in awhile."
On first two series with the offensive line:
"We came out and said we were going to be stubborn running the football. We had 4-5 yards a carry. We hit some for 10-12 yards. We never really hit a big one but we kept it consistent, we stayed on track. First down, we made yardage, second down we made yardage, third down we would made a first down."
On (his) overall performance:
"As you could imagine, it was a little rusty. I haven't played since Cincinnati awhile ago. But when I get a running game like that I get in a rhythm and the offense gets in a rhythm. It's really important for all of us. And we were able to come in the second half and stick to our plan and the coaches put us in a great position and it allowed us to play well."
Josh Byrom, Offensive LinemanOn the change in pace in the game:
"We knew we needed to make a statement after halftime. We knew we were going with the ball; we told the coaching staff that we wanted to run it and they agreed. We were really feeling it after that first play in the second half when we were driving it down the field."
On injured players/seniors playing:
"That's what Coach Strong told us this week, he said, ‘Our quarterback's out, our running back's out, so what? We have the same offensive line, we have the same receivers we have the same defense; with those guys out we have to pick up our game a little bit'. We understand that. As an offensive line, we pride ourselves on the ball and being able to run the clock."
On confidence level of team and how Coach Strong instills that in the team:
"Absolutely. He told us ‘Why not? Why not us?' We believe in that and we have that confidence that we can win a game. He really boosted our confidence. He almost just talks to you. He doesn't tell you as a coach; he talks to you and almost questions you saying ‘Why not us? Why can't we run the ball?' He challenges you as a person and he'll challenge you as a unit. As an offensive line you have to run the ball, as a defensive line you have to get penetration and watch for the tackles. He'll challenge you and it makes you come together as one."