Q: What was working so well for the defense at the goal line? "It came from watching a lot of film, we knew what they like to do in the red zone. And we knew they liked to get Tebow the ball on short plays so we teed-up on Tebow, sent the ends inside and had the linebackers coming outside and just went after them."
Q: Did you sense any frustration on their part with not getting in the end zone? "I think they had a lot of frustration. Because they're the type of team that likes to get points on the board. By us stopping them inside the red zone they couldn't do it, that made them frustrated and they had to bring out some more stuff. That's the first time I saw them run the I-formation, and that's how they got in on us right there."
Q: How bad did the team want to give Coach Mullen the win? (long pause) "It was about the whole team, all of us wanted to win. This was a real emotional game, you could see the emotion on the field; everybody fighting to the end, pushing and shoving. I told the guys we can't get our minds into that type of thing, we have to go play football. We really wanted to get Coach Mullen the win because he was from Florida, and because people could see we were the underdogs. We seem like underdogs, but we don't play like underdogs. But we're going to come out on top."
CORNERBACK MARCUS WASHINGTON: Q: What as the basic defensive plan for Florida? "It was pretty simple. As everyone knows we play against it (the spread) every day, we've been seeing it since spring. Not the exact same plays but the same concepts. We just tried to come out and execute as well as we could."
Q: How difficult was it to stop their lead-dive? "It's a play where everyone has to have his assignment, read the keys, and if the ball goes this way everybody has to fit their gap."
Q: What changed once inside the red zone? "That's something that we take a lot of pride in. Just because they get down there doesn't mean they have to get a touchdown, we held them to field goals. We take a lot of pride in that."
Q: What can you take from another tough game with a top-ten team? "It's tough, no one wants to accept a moral victory. But unless you know where you are, unless you know what you can do, we're not far away."
RUNNING BACK ANTHONY DIXON: "I'm happy with the decisions the coaches made, my teammates made. We win together, we lose together. I wish I could have done more but at the same time I'm happy with my coaches effort, my teammates effort."
Q: What kept you from having your normal night? "They were definitely stacking the box. The defense they had, #8 (end Carlos Dunlap) was having a good game just filling the gap and making me go outside. I couldn't really get that going. We had to adjust to them, when we did that we started moving the ball a little bit more. But their defense is pretty good, they deserve the ranking they got. They were playing hard, we were playing hard, I guess somebody had to lose. Too bad it was us again."
Q: What was the halftime mood after the touchdown return? "We were fired-up, pretty much like the pre-game mood. We knew we had a chance when we went out there and it didn't change at halftime, we figured we had a chance."
Q: Several runs you appeared to have a crease, and they closed it off at the last instant? "They were fast, their defensive players were good and they were closing in on me. I believe they were playing hard, I believe they were up for the game. I don't believe they thought it was going to be a pushover at all and they brought their A-game. I guess you could say it showed and they stepped up to the challenge and got the job done."
SAFETY JOHNATHAN BANKS: "The first interception, we were playing great defense. The corners were locked down, we had a great pass rush, Corey Broomfield tipped it. I was just in the right spot at the right time and made a play on it."
Q: Did you think you could go all the way with it? "I had a feeling I could. I had a man in front of me and I knew a lineman wasn't going to catch me. But I saw Tebow, and I had McPhee in front of me blocking. I thought yeah, I can take this back. Then I saw Demps coming and Chris White made a great block on him and I made the play."
Q: How did you feel afterwards? "I was exhausted!" But I sucked it up and went out there and did my thing."
Q: Had you ever run back two interceptions in high school? "I can only remember returning one."
Q: You did this in high school, how does it feel doing it now? "It's special to me, because it was against one of the best players ever to play the game of football. It hurt we lost but again the defense played football. We showed the world what Mississippi State is all about and in the future everybody will know."
Q: You were able to shut down the deep passing tonight? "Coach Smith, Coach Hughes, Coach Mullen and Coach Torbush all talked about it all week. Pretty much everybody knew we struggled covering deep balls and we just worked on it in practice. We got better, and we played."
Q: Did you expect to contribute this much as a freshman? "I really didn't. I didn't feel I was big enough to play in Division I football coming right off as a freshman. But like they say, size doesn't mean anything!"
LINEBACKER JAMAR CHANEY: Q: Talk about stopping their dive running play? "That's what they try to do, run the ball inside with Jeffrey Demps and Chris Rainey. Because most of their big runs, before they played us Tebow had two but the rest came from the others going right up the middle. So that was one of our goals, to make sure they didn't crease us because they're real fast."
Q: Did you do anything different or was this just the plan for Florida? "That was just the gameplan going in that Coach Torbush put in this week, and how it played out."
Q: The touchdown run by Rainey and the speed, what was it like to pop it? "It's hard. Tebow is a big strong guy, but you can miss a tackle and somebody else can run it in. With those guys if somebody misses or if you go in the wrong gap it's pretty much over with how fast they are."
Q: Was there some bad blood that developed out there? "I wouldn't say bad blood, it was just competing out there. And you ain't going to let nobody just push you around and try to punk you; we weren't going to let anybody come in our house and try to treat us bad. So you can take it how you want to take it. I mean it's all love, we shook hands after the game."
QUARTERBACK TYSON LEE: Q: Can you say what happened on the deflected interceptions? "I've just got to find a throwing lane and make the throws. It happened twice tonight. They got their hands up, the offensive line did their job; I just have to find a lane and make a throw and I didn't do that today."
Q: Both quarterbacks had trouble with deflections and interceptions? "It happens. But as a quarterback, whoever it is, however short or however tall you are, one thing is find lanes, get the ball to your receivers, and don't let the ball get tipped."
Q: Johnathan Banks gave the offense a big lift twice? "I'm so proud of Banks, he doesn't talk much but he does a great job on the field. It couldn't happen to a better person. The defense played unbelievable, not just him. The way they played tonight, I think in the red zone they only gave up six point maybe. You can't ask for anything else, a great game."
Q: What makes Florida's defense so hard to make a big play against? "I'd say their speed, the way they react to the football. Vertically, horizontally, wherever you go, their front four move well and that helps their secondary and linebacker corps out a lot."
Q: You run a similar offense to Florida, did that give their defense an advantage? "I guess they practice against it a lot, so they've seen a lot of looks. It's not totally the exact same but they have seen it and gone against and probably have an idea. Even still, we didn't execute they way we should have."
Q: You came out after halftime and got some drives, what made the difference? "Just execution, we did the things right, we got them in the defense we wanted them in and called the right plays. Ducre had a big catch and run. We talked about coming out strong, we did that, we just didn't finish strong."
Q: Do you worry about the team mood after these tough home losses? "I really don't. In the locker room we're a family, when we win together it feels good obviously; when you lose it's the exact opposite. Our family is together thick and thin and if we're a true family we'll get better and find a way next week going to Kentucky."