The following are player quotes after the 28-21 homecoming win over Arkansas State.
FB Lorenzo Townsend: (On his two TD receptions) We had a great week of practice and it carried over some. We seemed to play faster today on offense, which we needed. We saw on film that Arkansas State didn't do a good job of covering backs out of the backfield. On the first one, I was able to slop behind the linebacker and Ethan (Flatt) made a great pass. On the second one, I got lost behind our offensive line and was able to get out into the flat undetected. Being that wide open, you sometimes take the catch for granted, but I focused, caught it and took it in for the score. (On Flatt) He throws an easy pass to catch. We have been connecting in practice very well and it carried over to the game. (On the victory) This was a confidence win. Last week was really bad. We came together and practiced hard and well as a team, but it seemed like the longest week I've ever been through because we wanted to get to a game to try to redeem ourselves. We haven't been playing like the Ole Miss team I know and it's up to us to turn that around. Maybe this win will spark us.
WR Matt Pierce: (On two big catches in crunch time) It feels really good to get in there and have some balls thrown my win. It tells me the coaches and quarterbacks have confidence in me. On the third down that led to our final score, that was a played called for the slot receiver. I knew it was coming my way. I also knew Ethan was going to put it on the money. I caught it and tried to get as much as I could out of it. On the two-point conversion, I had a corner route that was covered up. We are taught to stick it and work back along the back of the end zone. Ethan looked back and saw it. (On the win) It's a win. We'll take it. We know we have to play better, but the object of games is to win. We did that, now we can move forward and try to get another one. One game at a time. (On scoring more TDs) We love having Jonathan Nichols as our kicker, but our goal is to not use him as much. We need more touchdowns. It is frustrating to march down the field and make plays, but get down in the Red Zone and come up empty, but we got a little better at finishing things today. Hopefully that will carry over. It definitely needs to with the teams we are about to face.
TB Alan Abrams: (On his opportunties to carry the ball) The practice is paying off, I can tell. I'm getting my rhythm back. It's been a while since I have played, so I'm still trying to get my game speed back, but I think I'm getting there. Our offensive line is blocking really well and staying on their blocks. That will give all of us more chances to gain yardage when our number is called.
TB Vashon Pearson: (On being the first back since Deuce to gain 100 yards a game three games in a row) We made our minds up this summer we were going to get the running game going this year. Our linemen get all the credit. All I do is run through the holes they give us. We have been preparing better in practice the last two or three weeks. We have been energized and focused and it's starting to pay dividends. On what I have improved personally, I think I have been more patient - waiting on the holes to develop and reading my cuts and keys. I've been waiting on my chance my whole career, playing behind seniors and really good backs. Now that it is my turn, I'm trying to take advantage of it. I have some proving to do and some big shoes to fill, but I'm working hard to accomplish that.
WS Charles Clark: (On the defense) We are playing pretty good, but we have given up too many big plays. If we can limit those, we will be fine. Our fits on some runs aren't clicking, but we're getting closer. We have been having some poor first halfs, but we usually tighten up in the second half after we make some adjustments. Our goal is to start out strong and stay strong for four quarters. That is what it will take in SEC play.
LB Rob Robertson: (On the first half play) We were out of position some in the first half. Their motion and schemes had us overloaded a couple of times on the trap and the stretch play, but we got it all worked out at halftime. We didn't change anything, we just stressed to do what we are supposed to do. (On Jayme Mitchell's interception) He's been close all year. Great players make big plays. He made one today and will continue to make more. Jayme always comes up big in big situations. (On the final TD by A-State that appeared to be covered, but resulted in a big play for the Indians) This year we've had several situations where we were in position to make big plays, but something went wrong. We have had a little bit of Murphy's Law this year, but if we keep plugging away things will turn. They always do. (On his feelings about the win) I can't speak for anyone else, but I'm just happy to get any win right now. Sure, we have to do some things better, but this win was big for us. We have to stop the big plays, but on the flip side we had more three and outs than we have had, so I have some hope and confidence now. If we will keep executing like we did in the second half, and keep putting ourselves in position to make plays, we'll start making them.
WR Mike Espy: (On limiting turnovers) We worked hard all week on taking care of the ball. We accomplished that, but we didn't score near the touchdowns we should have. (On Red Zone woes) We are executing poorly. When things are tight down there, all 11 men have to execute. The plays are there, but one person will break down and they won't work. 9 or 10 doing what they are supposed to do in the Red Zone doesn't get it done. When their 11 guys have to defend less turf, and it gets all clogged up, the only magic formula is to execute to perfection. We haven't done that at times this year and will have to correct that before we go to SEC play. (On not getting in the end zone) There was frustration all over the place at halftime. We know our ability level and we didn't play up to it in the first half or at other times this year. We hve to use our ability. (On being ready for SEC play) I don't think we are as prepared as well as we need to be. I'm glad we have another week of practice to get some things ironed out. (On L.T.'s two TD catches) We knew they would work if we executed. They were great calls and it was up to us to make them work. There was a sigh of relief when they did because we haven't done our part some this year.
DE Jayme Mitchell: (On his interception) I read the screen all the way. We have been working on that all week in practice, so I knew the keys. They played right into my hands and I was able to make a play on it. I wanted to score, but I'll take the interception. I think the play changed the momentum of the game, but if it hadn't been me it would have been someone else. The team was ready to win the game, you could feel it on the sidelines. (On the first half effort) It was frustrating because we knew what they were going to run and had the right calls on, but we had a couple of guys out of their gaps and it opened up for ASU. We got some things straight at halftime and quit busting. When we don't bust assignments we can play this game. When we do, you have seen the results this year.
WR Kerry Johnson: (On his hand injury) It's not well yet, but I'm trying to ignore it and get back in a rhythm. The coaches let me get back on special teams this week and that helped my confidence in the hand a lot. I'm not all the way back yet, but I'm getting through it and starting to have fun again. (On his backup Matt Pierce's catches) I tell him all the time that if he makes plays and I make plays it will build confidence with the coaches and quarterbacks in our position and we'll get more balls thrown out way. He's doing his part and I'm happy for him.
QB Ethan Flatt: (On limiting turnovers) That was a focal point. It was frustrating when we had to take some field goals when we thought we should have scored TDs, but I threw the ball away when I should itstead of forcing it like I did last week at Wyoming. That's smart football, something I didn't do last week. We did score three times in the Red Zone, another area of focus for us this week. I was glad we executed some in the Red Zone, but we still have work to do. (On his mindset in practice last week) I just practiced hard. I knew I was going to get a shot and I just had to do my part of taking care of the ball and running the offense. I had to learn from last week. The offensive line protected me today, Vashon ran hard and was effective. My job was made a lot easier and I learned from last week. Last week was frustrating and this week was long in terms of wanting to get back on the field and do better. Starting has been a transition for me. At times, it's been difficult, but I knew I'd have to go through some things in order to improve. I feel more comfortable now than I did three weeks ago. You can't imagine how much you learn from week to week and how much that means to a quarterback. (On being ready for SEC play) I think we will be ready. We've had a lot of little things slow our progress this year, but we are starting to smooth some of those things out. I think our focus is better. I think our practices have been better lately. I believe that any time this team plays, we have a shot to win and that's the approach we will take all year.
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