No repeat of last year's New Year's Six bowl for Rebels

NEW ORLEANS - Ole Miss got a bad taste in their mouth last year in the ill-fated Peach Bowl against TCU. Tonight, in the Sugar Bowl, they made sure there was no repeat of that fiasco, turning the tables on Oklahoma State with a one-sided, dominant win over the Cowboys. Here are some comments from select, celebrating Rebs.

MLB DeMarquis Gates: (On the preparation) "We had to gameplan for two quarterbacks. We worked hard all week getting the plan in and focusing. I knew if we focused during the week, we'd be focused during the game and take care of business and that's what we did. We got the job done." (On the motivation from the Peach Bowl) "We came out here today with a chip on our shoulder. That game last year was embarrassing and that was not going to happen again. We were motivated. I think last year we were just glad to be there and were kind of full of ourseslves. This year, we were all business. It wasn't good enough to just be here. We had to play well and win."

OT Fahn Cooper: (On the game) "SEC versus Big 12 - we had to carry the torch not only for our school but for our conference. We have school pride, but we also have conference pride and we let ourselves and the conference down last year. No way we were going to repeat that today. Oklahoma State is a good team, but the way we have been playing on offense, we knew if we executed that we were going to put up a lot of points. That is no disrespect to them, it's just that we have seen bigger, faster, stronger defenses and have scored a lot of points against them. No way we weren't going to score a lot tonight." (On the preparation) "All year, when we bought in and believed in our plan, we scored a lot of points. We had a couple of weak games, but mostly, we scored a lot of points. Once our OL got Laremy Tunsil back and solidified, we were hard to beat. I believe we are one of the top two or three teams in the country right now. We would not be afraid to play anyone right now. There was no way we were not going to put everything on the line tonight - win or lose." (Summing up his career) "Sugar Bowl champions, baby."

Husky Mike Hilton (On the outcome of the game) "I feel so blessed to have been a part of this program and to go out as a winner and to go out with a ten-win season. I am at a loss for words. I'm just very happy. Rebel for life, baby!" (On the defensive performance)  "We were tuned in and having fun. We were flying around hitting people and making things happen. The coaches gave us a great plan, we prepared well and were tuned in. It was our night. Right now, this minute, we are as good as anyone in the country. We had some bumps in the road this year, but the way we finished the sesason, I think we proved how good we are."

TB Jordan Wilkins (On the Rebel team) "I don't think anyone is playing better than we are right now. Once we learn to do what we did today every game, we are going to be really scary. We had a couple of lapses this year that cost us dearly, but we learned from them and finished strong, just like we learned from poor bowl preparation last year in the Peach Bowl. Oklahoma State is a good team that we made look bad. We laid some energy on them they could not cope with and it was over pretty early, really. It was a great team effort and I'm proud to have had a small part in it." (On the offense) "We were like sharks tonight. Once we got some jitters out and hit a couple of good plays, we got on a roll and never looked back. We were scoring at will. That was fun."

Safety Trae Elston: (On OSU's offfense) "We were worried about the deep ball, but they really weren't throwing it much, so they kind of played into our hands. We were able to mix up our coverages and show them a lot of different looks. I thought we had them confused most of the night and they are a very good offense. We were just tuned in and when we are tuned in, we are pretty good." (On the importance of the win) "Getting another shot at a New Year's Six bowl and another shot at 10 wins was very important to us. We were very determined to win this game and prepared way differently. All the seniors got together early this week and gave everyone nightly curfews. Everyone bought in. Everyone was serious at practice. Everyone wanted to win. We got it done. It's all about team and we were a good team this year and tonight."

OL Jordan Sims (On the game) "We had a bad taste in our mouth from last year. This year, we didn't waste preparation time. We were focused for every practice, we were ready for every workout. There would be no repeat from last year. We were much more mature in our approach this year. We have started off 2016 right and we have to keep it going. I am proud about tonight because the OSU team is very good. They can get on a roll and really put you away, but we did that to them tonight. It was all about preparation." (On next year) "We have a foundation now of a good team. We are losing some great players,  but we have great young players coming up and we will work hard and go into next year excited. Why not repeat this year or better?"

WR Cody Core (On the program) "We are leaving it way better than when we came in here, but that's it what you are supposed to do. I can't wait to watch some of these young players develop and compete on this level. They will be ready and they will keep the ball rolling. I think the seniors on this team got better and better at our craft just as some of the coaches did while we were here. This level of ball was new to us as players and new to a lot of them as coaches and we learned together. It was a blast. I hate it's over and I'm proud I was a Rebel and will be a Rebel forever. We believed, we took a stand and we were all in and now a program that was bad when we got here is very well-respected."

Center Robert Conyers (On the game) "I saw a different sense of urgency this year in preparations. Even though I am out and rehabbing, I was at every bowl pracitce and I could tell the guys were tuned in. Every practice was more serious. I could see it in their eyes. They were ready to work this year - we played around too much last year and learned a lesson. (On his rehab) "I will be back in the summer. I will not be back for spring, but when I come back, I will be better than ever."

OL Alex Givens (On his redshirt and bowl practices) "I improved a lot this season. The bowl practices showed me that I am stronger, have better footwork and understand the level of competition better than I did during August camp. I am ready to compete this spring and am looking forward to showing Coach Luke that I can help this OL."


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