The following are Coach David Cutcliffe's postgame comments after the Ole Miss Rebels beat the Arkansas State Indians 28-21 on homecoming in Oxford last Saturday afternoon.
Cutcliffe: I certainly will say we were better the second half than the first half and that's encouraging. It's something to build on. It's always great to get a win. Arkansas State's got a good football team. I want to commend them. They played hard. They played well the last couple of weeks. They are a dangerous football team to play. I was proud of our team for making plays in the second half and cashing in on those plays offensively that the defense had made, and come out with a victory.
Q: How big was this win emotionally?
Cutcliffe: Emotionally it was pretty big. We're playing this thing one game at a time and trying to win that game. We don't need to think about streaks or losing or winning or anything else other than playing that game and being the best we can be that particular game.
Q: What were your thoughts down at halftime?
Cutcliffe: There was a lot of frustration at halftime to be honest with you. Sometimes something good can come out of frustration. I told them frustration alone will not change what we're getting. We had to do something other than just being frustrated. We had to be more physical, more consistent. I thought we responded in the second half.
Q: Looking at the last half of the season now, how important was a win today?
Cutcliffe: As I said, we're going to take it one game at a time. It's always better to prepare off a win than it is off a loss. Certainly practice on Monday will be better because we won. The bottom line is we have to play as well as we can and play one game at a time.
Q: Assess Ethan Flatt's performance.
Cutcliffe: I thought he was good. I don't think he was anything spectacular. He missed a few open people but he made a few plays. I know he would like to have the overthrow back that he threw on the interception. Other than that, there weren't a lot of obvious mistakes.
Q: Did you expect their quarterback to run as much as he did?
Cutcliffe: I knew he was a good runner. I knew they would try to run the option. He's a good player and a good athlete. I didn't have any idea he would be as successful as he was.
Q: Talk about your defense rising to the occasion.
Cutcliffe: I thought we were much better the second half. We were much more physical. The tackling was better. The line of scrimmage was better. We were better across the board. We obviously made some good adjustments at halftime and came back and played better. That's what you want to see – your team getting better as the game goes along and hopefully as the season goes along.
Q: Talk about your team's running game.
Cutlciffe: I think our backs have been running well. Vashon Pearson has been really consistent and he's getting a lot out of a run, it looks like to me. Alan Abrams is running the ball well. Brandon Jacobs does some things well, particularly in the short yardage. Razzano and Lorenzo Townsend all have talent. I still think we can be a good running team. We have to continue to get better there, but I think we can be a good running football team.
Q: How prepared do you feel your team is for the rest of the SEC season?
Cutcliffe: What we have to do now is to be prepared to play South Carolina. As I said, we have to take this one game at a time. Have we played as well as we would have liked? No. We're focused on trying to be the best we can be at South Carolina.
Cutcliffe: "It's something to build on"
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