QUOTES: "We slugged it out"

MIKE RILEY and his players had plenty of positive things to say about the defense's performance. Victor Butler and Johnny Hekker, among others, elaborate on their play and team's victory over No. 18 Pitt.

S Al Afalava
On the game - "It came out good for us.  We knew we were going to have a good game. We had two, three weeks of practice. Everybody did their assignments and we executed. That was the difference."


Defensive coordinator Mark Banker
On Pitt's offense - "I was surprised how ineffective their quarterback was, but yeah, we knew McCoy was the guy who would make them go.  We just played better (than against Oregon). Our focus was better, our guys were more rested than they were at the end of the season, and they had a great will to win today."

On the defense - "It's easy in these situations to check out, but that's not these guys or the program Mike runs.  They showed their true colors.  These guys obviously came to play, they were focused and they knew what they needed to get don.  These guys know their abilities, and they played up to them."

On after the Civil War - "We've got a proud group of guys and we took a big hit last time around.  We knew we didn't play good in any aspect. It wasn't our best effort. It hurt and it stunk."

On Butler's play - "He played fast.  He was better than the guys he was playing against. I would venture to say he outplayed some guys he was playing across from."


DT Pernell Booth
On the game
- If they don't score, they don't win."


DE Victor Butler
On the defense
- "It was great coverage by our secondary.  We have veterans back there. They knew if they gave Slade Norris and myself some time, we'd get back there and create havoc. There was no one person who stood out. We had a scheme and we all bought into it. We wanted to go out there and prove we are a great defense. There was no one person that stood out.  Everyone went out and played great defense. We talked a lot about redemption. After what happened against Oregon, we wanted to go out there and prove we are a great defense."

On the defense after the Civil War - ""The word in the locker room was redemption.  Oregon was a fluke. We didn't come to play, a lot of guys weren't there. It's sad we went out that way.  A game like that leaves a sour taste in your mouth. With that much time between games, that taste is in your mouth a long time and we didn't like it.  We sulked a bit, but we had an opportunity to play another game at the end of the season.  We had to get our heads back in it because the other team wants to win it as much as we do."

On the game - "We had great play from our punter Johnny Hekker, and that won the game."

On what changed between this game and the Civil War - "No tricks or trickery, no extra stunts.  The same stuff we've been running all year, except for one game."

On his forced fumble and recovery - "I said I want to be the guy to make a play. I didn't know if anybody was around to scoop it and we couldn't give them the ball there."

On what was said at halftime - "Banker told the defense, we need you guys to step up and make a play. A lot of guys take it upon themselves and I did that."


RB Jeremy Francis
On his play
- "I was just prepared to play my role, but the plays kept coming. I thank the coaches for that, I really do. I appreciate everything. It was well worth it coming back.  To be honest, I couldn't sleep last night, I was dreaming about making the game-winning touchdown. That didn't happen, but a win is a win any way it comes.  I appreciate the support from the coaches, teammates and the whole program.  I wouldn't be here without them. The game means a lot to me to help win it. It shows our perseverance."

On why he came back and played - "The person that encouraged me to come back was my mom, to be honest.  She knows I love to play football. She told me there's going to be ups and downs, and she told me to fight through it, which is what I did. She wished me the best of luck, and she told me win or lose, she still loved me and she was there.  I just came out and did this for her.  Every second of the game was for my mom. I know she's back home watching, and if she can hear me I want her to know that I love her.  And we won, we won."

On him rejoining the team in the spring - "I'm looking forward to coming back for the spring, but if not, it was a great game, a great way to go out. I love all my Beaver teammates."


P Johnny Hekker
On his play
- "I wasn't worried.  They're a big punt-block team, but we're a great punt-blocking team. All day it was normal blocking, normal kicking.  It just felt good. Today was a good day. No one was really rushing me that hard. I was able to stay back there and swing through the ball. It was a fun day. Everyone blocked their butts off, and I had all day back there.  The snaps were money. Everything was going right. Everybody did his job, not just me.  I'm ecstatic it ended on this high note for me, and we got to end with a win for our seniors. What a great group of guys – they deserve this."

On special teams at OSU - "They blocked a lot of kicks, but our protection team is one of the best in the nation.  Coach Ungerer gets them well prepared. They all go hard. Some schools don't take special teams seriously but here it's something special to be a part of."

On the wind - "The wind wasn't that big of a deal.  We thought about it before the game, but then some of my best punts went into the wind. So go figure. And the elevation helped the ball hang up a lot. That helped our team a lot."

On his 57-yard punt - "Oh, man it felt great.  he ball just sailed off my foot, and I'm just lucky the ball didn't go into the end zone. God was with me on some of my rolls, and I give all glory to Him."


CB Brandon Hughes
On the defense - "We came into this game with the notion it was going to be on us, and it ended up that way.  We just did what we do — play fast, play to the whistle, everybody get to the ball. It was an outstanding team effort. It was a great win for our defense and our team. We just did what we do. We played fast and through the whistle. Everybody got to the ball. It was an outstanding team effort."

On the team choosing to wear orange tops -  "I'm glad we wore orange. It was a beautiful picture seeing all those orange jerseys.".


K Justin Kahut
On his play
- "I had a pretty bad week of practice.  I rolled my ankle two days ago in practice, had a sore back the whole time, and today, the hip was starting to bother me a little bit.  But I said to myself, ‘One more game, I have to push through it.' Thank God I was able to make that one. I just had to put those distractions out of my head and take care of business."

On his game winning field goal - "I hit it pretty well.  Kav had a little trouble putting it down, but I have so much faith in him, and he got it down perfectly. Great blocking by our guys, too. The Panthers are known for blocking kicks, but our line did a great job holding them out."


Offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf
On the offense
- "We misfired a bunch.  Not to discount what the Panthers' defense did. They played a very good game, but we missed some plays. We're happy about the defense playing great; it was one of those days for the offense.  We got a couple of drives going, but then we stalled in the red zone."


S Greg Laybourn
On the game
- "A win is a win. We'll take it any way we can get it."

On the shutout - "We knew we had a good scheme against them.  I don't think we quite expected to play a game like that. You couldn't ask for a better performance as far as the defense goes, in front of a full stadium and in our last game - special."


QB Lyle Moevao
On the game - "We didn't expect the game to go like that.  As long as we had more points on the board than they do at the end of the game, that's fine with us. We didn't do as much offensively as we wanted, but the defense played lights out."

On playing without the Rodgers brothers - "We knew it was going to be tough scoring on them no matter where we were on the field, but our defense pulled us through.  It's always tough playing without those guys. The amount of play they bring to the game is so much more."

On the team's redzone play - "It was frustrating making it to the red zone and not getting any points.  But with the way the defense was playing it didn't take much to win."


DE Slade Norris
On the defense
- "We had them handled.  We told the offense at halftime that we had won the game, they weren't going to score on us. We didn't solve the (UO) spread, but we have this down. They had McCoy. They're going to come in and try to run it down your throat.  We're a tough group and we can play smashmouth football.  We just did what we do: Play fast, play through the whistle, everybody get to the ball. It was an outstanding team effort. Coach talked about redemption. This was a good way to go out, after giving up 700 yards (694 against Oregon), to blank a team."


Coach Mike Riley
On the game
- "Some will call it ugly, but when you talk about our defense, that wasn't ugly.  That was a beautiful performance against one of the best running backs in the country.  We had the one big glitch against the Ducks, and it set us back in a lot of ways, but I'm proud of the recovery.  Just looking at the Oregon State perspective, coming down and having to play that physically, that long, what we had to do to win the game, I'm proud of them. We slugged it out, toe-to-toe in the middle of the rink. That's what happened today."

On what he is most proud of - "We really did talk about redemption, didn't we!? We wanted to send our seniors out with a win and we didn't want to finish with the taste we had in our mouths after the Oregon game. These guys got it done. How would the guys respond after being on the brink of the Rose Bowl, and then having that bubble burst, and playing a really good Pittsburgh team.  I would say that's what I'm most proud of - how we did react today. You don't win a game like that without being totally into it and playing physical football the whole game."

On the defense - "On defense, it was going to be about controlling one of the great backs around, and we did an outstanding job.  Great plan by Coach Banker and the defensive staff; great execution by the players."

On the offense - "Lyle was inconsistent, but a lot of it was, he was getting hit quite a bit.  I can say we could have done this or should have done that, but we should credit Pittsburgh's defense like we're doing ours. They were hard to handle. They stopped us better than anybody all year. They made it hard to run. We just got disrupted. It became hard to call plays, because we could never count on any one thing.   It was all hard. Pittsburgh played a tough, physical game. We knew they were going to. It was a matter of how our defense was able to finish the game.  We had some bad first-down plays that really set us back that we didn't recover from. We were three downs and out way too much.  We put a terrific burden on our defense and a lot on our punter, but that's the game we were in and they came through." It didn't have to be 3-0, but it was."

On John Reese's touchdown catch that was ruled incomplete - "They're going to call that incomplete.  As soon as I saw the ball on the ground, I knew it was not a touchdown."

On the Rodgers brothers not playing - "We don't even need to talk about that, everybody knows those are two of our best players. I was really excited to see how we'd do without them.  Once you know they're not going to play, then you say, ‘OK, let's go. Let's see what some other guys can do with the opportunity.' "

On the Pac-10 in the postseason - "And USC's going to win, to.  I love it. A lot of stuff happens in football, but the Pac-10 is getting better top to bottom. This season, this conference had eight really good defenses. Sometimes the offensive stats weren't quite what everybody thought they should be, but there's a lot of good football. That's playing out in the end."

On Hekker's performance - "I told Johnny, against their guy – who averaged 40 yards a punt with 4.0 hang time – it was going to be a big deal how he competes.  Johnny's performance was outstanding. He came through with flying colors."

On Butler's play - "Whatever I would use to describe Victor's impact on this game would be an understatement.  Vic is a special guy and a special player.  It was fun to watch him grow into the player he is. It's an understatement to say how much he impacted the game.  He and Slade were heart-and-soul guys of our team; cornerstones. Everybody questioned whether they could play every down. We ended up with one of the best defenses around, and these guys were cornerstones of that."

On the second half - "We had a great opening drive in the second half and I thought things were going to be OK, but I was wrong. You have to give credit to Pittsburgh's defense. They were hard to handle."


OG Adam Speer
On the game
- "I think it was really easy for our team to quit. And I think it's the character, you can attest that to Riley or the whole team, they just never gave up. Everyone just had redemption on their mind. Everyone had a really bad taste in their mouth and everyone wanted to get it out."

COACH MIKE RILEY and his players had plenty of positive things to say about the defense's performance in the Sun Bowl. Victor Butler, Lyle Moevao, Johnny Hekker and others talk elaborate their win over Pittsburgh.

WR Sammie Stroughter
On the season
-  "We wanted a Pac-10 championship and the Rose Bowl.  That's always going to have a bad taste in our mouth - if it doesn't, you're not a competitor. You have to have that drive. But this was fun - a good way for our seniors to go out."

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