The following are quotes from some Rebel players after the 28-17 loss to Arkansas, which dropped them to 3-6 overall and 1-5 in the SEC.
TB Mico McSwain: (On his game-ending injury) On my last play, I cut and an Arkansas player landed on my foot. I have a high ankle sprain. (On Larry Kendrick at TB) I thought he did a fantastic job. Arkansas was set up to stop the run, so we knew the yardage would be tough and we would have to throw more than we ran, but Larry made some nice runs and some tough yards. (On the loss) This was a bad loss because we had the game in hand, but we will keep coming back until we get it right. (On his shoulder injury) It's hurting too, but I was going to play through that until my ankle sprain put me out.
FB/TE/QB Robert Lane: (On his 4-catch, 116 yard day) It was nice to get out there and make some catches and some blocks, but we didn't get it done as a team and that's all that matters. I tried to make some plays for the team, but we didn't make enough to win. (On the momentum shift) In the first half, we came out fired up and made some plays. We got up on them and felt good at halftime and through some of the third quarter, but we didn't finish what we started. Arkansas had a little success and you could feel them getting pumped up. We didn't match their surge, and I don't know why. But I do know in this league you have to play four quarters. (On Ethan Flatt's performance) I think he did as good as he could do. He took that shot in the stomach early and was throwing up most of the game. He was nauseated the whole game, but hung tough and I respect that. Arkansas was in his face most of the time with their blitz package, but he still threw for over 300 yards. He did well.
PK Matt Hinkle: (On the game) We came out strong, but it was like we were running uphill in the fourth quarter. You could sense the momentum shift. We just couldn't get the ball from them and when we did our offense didn't execute like they did in the first three quarters. It was a strange game - we had all the momentum in the first half and then they took it away from us. (On his late missed field goal) I fell off the ball at the last instant and didn't keep my shoulders and head over the ball. That caused me to pull it about a foot wide left. That was very disappointing because it killed any chance we had to win and because I have really thought we were getting back on a roll in our placekicking operation. We've been really hot in practice. We've felt natural kicking in practice lately.
QB Ethan Flatt: (On the game) We did some good things early, but we didn't convert, obviously, in the second half when we needed to. We needed to make one or two big plays in the second half to stop their momentum and we never could pull it off. (On his play) Except for two throws that were intercepted, I did OK, but those two throws hurt us - one was returned for a TD. I tried to force that one under pressure and shouldn't have. On the second one, I should have looked the safety off longer because Mario (Hill) had the corner beat, but I didn't and it led to the interception. (On the lack of the running game) I give their defense credit. They played an aggressive run defense that incorporated the blitz for when we did pass and it was tough out there to get anything going. We felt we could back them off with some big plays, but we couldn't in the second half. They also got into some coverages we hadn't seen much of, but we adjusted to those OK. (On the future) We will keep a great attitude in practice and keep working. This has never been a deal where success was just going to magically appear. We knew it would be a process. We were working to make it a shorter process than it has been, but it hasn't worked out that way. That is no reason to stop trying. (On getting hurt early) The defensive lineman hit me right under the shoulder pads. I was throwing up all over the field, but I was cramping the whole game. (On throwing for over 300 yards) Like I said, if I could have back those two picks, I would be OK with the way I played. Against that defense, they are going to make you look bad some and you are going to make them look bad. They gamble and sometimes it pays off and sometimes it doesn't. We didn't make them pay enough today. In the second half, I may have gotten too conservative and taken a couple of sacks I shouldn't have, but we had the lead and I didn't want to lose the lead doing something stupid. (On the momentum change) I think we felt we were in control coming out of halftime and I think we played to preserve the lead instead of tacking on to it. I know I played that way a little.
TB Larry Kendrick: (On playing TB) The last time I played TB, I was on the scout team at Florida, so it was different. I was excited because I knew I would be in there with a chance to make plays. That's what every player wants. I knew Wednesday that I would play a lot because Mico's shoulder was still hurting him. Then he got hurt in the first half of this game and it was all on me. (On the game) We capitalized on our opportunities in the first half and didn't in the second half. It's pretty simple. The same plays were there to be made and in one half we made them and in the second half we didn't. It's no great mystery what happened. (On the final two games of 2005) You get to this level because you are a competitor. All the work we put in is because we are competitive and love to play the game. That will not change just because we can't go to a bowl.
OT Tre' Stallings: (On the flow of the game) We felt very good in the first half about the way we were moving the ball and scoring some points, but we didn't produce in the second half. Arkansas raised their level of play and we didn't match that intensity. I have no reasons why, but we didn't. We could feel the momentum changing, but we couldn't make the plays we needed to make to shift it back our way. (On the final two games) Man, all you have to say is LSU and MSU. We'll be ready and will play as good as we can play.
LB Kelvin Robinson: (On the momentum swing) I'm not blaming anyone because we all had a hand in it, but McKinley's (Boykin) personal foul penalty was hard for us to overcome. We couldn't get off the field on third down after that. We should have been able to get off the field and found a way to win the game. We also had some coverage problems. We expended a lot of energy stopping their running game, which we did, but they got hot throwing the ball and kept converting third downs. It snowballed on us. Also,in the first half we were able to get to their QB blitzing, but we were coming up short in the second half.
FS Charles Clark: (On the game) We thought we had the game under control, but then they started making plays and we looked like a totally different defense. The out patterns and corner routes killed us, especially to their back, number 22 (Peyton Hillis). This was a really strange game because we played so well in the first half. In the second half, we let their passing game click some and it was like a domino effect. Our coverage broke down a little and our pressure was not as good as it was in the first half. This one hurts because we didn't execute on defense well enough to keep a 10-point lead. We kept giving them new life when we had chances to bury them and that is disappointing to us because we take pride in this defense and today we didn't get it done when the offense put us in position to win.
LEO Corvelli Haynes: (On the game) It was frustrating. For the first time this year, we had a team down, really down, and couldn't finish the job. If you had told me we'd have a 10-point lead in the third quarter and would lose by 11, I would have told you that you were nuts. This one hurts really bad. I don't know what to say.
CB Nate Banks: (On playing in place of Travis Johnson) I'm the third corner and when Travis couldn't go, it was up to me. I was confident, but I don't think any of us played well enough to win in the second half. We had pretty good position to make some plays, but we didn't make them.
WR Mike Espy: (On the game) This hurts really bad because I know in my heart we had the capability this year to win several more games. Maybe not all of them, but there is no way we should have had a losing season and that's now a guarantee. To have the lead halfway through the third quarter and blow it is a crusher. (On the last two games) As a senior, we have two college football games left. That's it. It's over after that. We have to give it everything we have. We need to prove that this wasn't us, that we can do it. I don't think there will be a problem to get ready for the next two games. We will play with passion and we will try to get two wins.
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