Syvelle Newton: Auburn Post Game

Syvelle Newton played what many consider to be the best performance by a South Carolina quarterback in recent memory when the Gamecocks fell 24-17 to the #2 ranked Auburn Tigers on Thursday night. Newton completed 21-35 passes for 240 yards and 2 touchdowns and rushed for several key first downs against a previously dominating Auburn defense. spoke with Newton after the game.

Question: Can you talk about tonight's game and what it's going to take to rebound from this loss?

Answer: We fell a little short. We've got to get better, and hopefully get ready for the rest of the season.

Question: How did you feel on the last play?

Answer: I was kind of thinking to myself, I kind of figured they were going to double on Sidney (Rice). He got a one on one chance. I gave him a chance to make a play, and we just fell a little short.

Question: What did you think about Kenny McKinley's play tonight?

Answer: That happens when you've got a great receiver like Sidney Rice. You kind of expect every game he's got to make plays. We've got a lot of great receivers that can make plays, we've got running backs that can make plays. We've just got to use everybody. We used everybody tonight. That kind of shows when we use everybody what we can do.

Question: Do you think you surprised some people tonight with the way you guys played and took them down to the wire?

Answer: I don't know if I'd say surprised. I feel a lot of people probably counted us out from the beginning, and said, "This is going to be a blowout, and we'd never have a chance," but we practiced hard. We had a hard week. We didn't even have a whole week of practice, but we even practiced yesterday. That let us know that we worked hard, but that (helped us) go out and perform as well as we did.

Question: Was it hard for you to sit there and basically just watch the entire third quarter?

Answer: That was tough, because actually I kind of banged my knee up, and it was getting stiff over there on the sidelines. Just to watch the whole third quarter, you never can tell with the outcome of the game. We just didn't get a chance in the third quarter to even touch the ball.

Question: What did you think about the play of your offensive line tonight?

Answer: Man, I love those guys. I mean, I told them even the first time I went back there when we were at the Wofford game, and I got a lot of pressure in my face, I said, "y'all boys, stick together. Y'all are gonna come around." They're young. You can't expect freshmen to go and compete in the SEC, but they showed that they can do it tonight.

Question: When you saw Jared Cook breaking over the middle and you released the ball, did you think it was going to be a touchdown?

Answer: Well, you know, it happens. It's part of football. It's part of life. I mean, I just looked at it if it was meant for him to catch that ball, he would have caught it.

Question: What were your thoughts on the Auburn defense?

Answer: They moved fast. I mean they're a great team. We can't take nothing away from Auburn. They're a great team. I mean it looked like they played down a little bit, but we're a good team also. We're not gonna say we're not a good team, but the defense is pretty fast, and we just went out, we just played about as well as we could.

Question: Do you think this is one of those grow up games for you guys where you proved that you can play with a good team?

Answer: Every game we go out and play is a good game. We get better and better every week. Starting from the Wofford game, I think that was our grow up game - just learning the new chemistry, you know. Like I said the offensive line is our biggest thing. I mean those guys blocked tonight. I had to go find them all after the game and tell them how proud I was of them.

Question: Does this make you guys hungrier knowing you can compete with one of the top teams in the nation, and that you guys can be better after what happened tonight?

Answer: I felt that way from the beginning of the season. We've got the players, I mean we've got all kind of athletes here. We showed it. Once all of us start playing, and we play well, there's no telling what we're capable of doing.

Question: You seem to have gained so much confidence-wise this game. You've only been at quarterback but three games, but how confident are you after competing against one of the top defenses in the nation tonight?

Answer: Coach Spurrier is a great coach. As far as quarterback goes, I never had that coaching as a quarterback, and just to have two weeks under him, I can imagine if I would have had two years what could be going on right now. There's no telling what type of offense we would be. In those two weeks, he's changed my whole fundamentals up. That's in two weeks, just imagine in two years what I could have been doing.

Question: Even after Jared's drop, it seemed like you guys still had all the confidence in the world. Can you talk about that final drive?

Answer: Big plays, you've got a chance to make big plays. You've got a chance to do big things, but we didn't make a big play. I mean, we knew that wasn't our last play. One of our game plans was to find another play that we hadn't run all game. We finally ran it, and I hit Sidney on a nice little catch. We had a chance to tie the game up or go for two, but I doubt we would have done that since we were at home. We had a chance to go into overtime, but we just fell short.

Question: Did Coach Spurrier design the last play, or did you have any say in it?

Answer: I was saying to them the whole time, "they're gonna double Sidney, they're gonna double Sidney." Coach (Spurrier) just said, "Well, if they look they're going to do a big zone or try to double him, go on there and try a little quarterback sneak, and see what you can get out of it." I don‘t know if y‘all noticed, but I was looking to the sidelines. I kept looking before I snapped the ball, because I really wanted the ball then, but it was one on one and Sidney had a good chance to make a play. Once again, we just fell a little short.

Question: If you could do it over, would you go with a quarterback draw?

Answer: No, Sidney's our moneyman, and everybody knows that. I mean, one on one, one up, that's who we go to. That's basically who we go to. I feel like we went to the right person to win the game. I mean Sidney's our moneyman. Everybody on the team knows that Sidney's our moneyman, and that's where the ball went to.

Question: Is Kenny McKinley emerging as the #2 receiving option now?

Answer: Kenny McKinley has come a long way since he's been here. I remember when he first came here, and I was like, "Kenny, you ain't gonna never play." But, he's got a great coach. Just look at him now. Kenny runs the best routes on our team. Like I said, we've got a lot of players, and we're finally using all of our players.

Question: Did you run more than you thought you would tonight?

Answer: It wasn't that I ran a whole lot, it was just that if you see first down, why not get the first down instead of putting the ball in danger. That's been my biggest mistake, and that's what Coach Spurrier has taught me. Don't put the ball in danger when you can use your feet, and have some common sense. That's what it is, common sense, basically. If you've got the chance to run and get the first down, then run and get to first down.

Question: How do you guys recover from this loss and bring your "A" game next weekend when you play at Kentucky? You guys have seemed to play either up or down to your competition in recent weeks, so where do you go from here?

Answer: I still feel we could have played better. That wasn't my "A" game. I'm scared to see what our "A" game could possibly be. We're looking forward to the rest of the season. We play Kentucky, and Kentucky's gonna be a great team. We've got to go to Kentucky, and when we leave there, we've got to go to Vanderbilt. Whatever we do, we've just got to play as a team and play hard. We're a good team. You never know, we've got a chance maybe we could see those guys again, you never know.

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