Quote Book: Syracuse vs. NC State

Post-game quotes from Syracuse players and coaches after their loss to NC State.

Head coach Scott Shafer press conference

Opening Statement:
“First off, congratulations to Coach Doeren and the NC State staff. Good victory for them. For us we had some struggles there, especially in the first half. We were trying to juggle some kids around there inside and struggled to run the ball, which was disappointing, but I liked the way the kids were trying. We had to come back out in the second half. Our defense played well in the first half, forcing them to those three field goals and not giving up any touchdowns so I was really pleased with the way they were playing.

“I was also pleased with the way we came out in third quarter, both offense and defense fought and put us in a good position. The defense forced four three-and-outs and gave us a chance. The area that we came up short was not being able to get the ball back and that’s something NC State has done all season. Jacoby [Brissett] had only thrown three interceptions to 16 touchdown passes so I knew it was going to be tough with those. We had a chance at one there and couldn’t get that ball out.

“All in all, disappointed with the loss and on to Duke.”

On the NC State interception returned for a touchdown:
“It was a nice play by them, they dropped an end, similar to what we did against Wake Forest and Robbie [Welsh] made it. It’s tough, especially for a young quarterback when you drop an end in coverage. Nice call by NC State. AJ didn’t see the guy there and he made a nice play to turn it into a touchdown.”

On the onside kick and if there was a disagreement with the ruling on the field:
“I’m not allowed to comment on any criticisms that I have with the officials. Doug Rhoads and the officials in the ACC do a good job. Nice job by our kids getting the ball and it was kicked really well by Ryan [Norton]. Dyshawn [Davis] got it and you can’t advance the ball so it’s my understanding that you get the ball there and the clock stops.”

On the struggles of the run game:
“I don’t like to make excuses. We have a lot of guys inside and out hurt. We’re just not the same up front right now. And also, nice job by NC State as well. They did a nice job and we’re just a little thinner than we’d like to be. But no excuses, own it, move on and find a way. Find the next guy up who can help us move the ball a little bit better running it. They did a nice job stopping us and, like I said, congratulations to Dave Doeren and his staff.”

On defensive tackle John Raymon’s injury:
“It hurts. It hurts really bad anytime you see a kid like that going down. We’re hopeful that it’s nothing like the last one, it’s on his other leg so we’re hopeful that it’s not something major.”

On the 96-yard touchdown drive before halftime sparking the offense:
“I think the kids started getting a rhythm and Coach Lester did a good job making adjustments knowing that we were really struggling inside and I do think there was a spark there. The field position game was really tough in the first half and they did a good job pinning us inside the 10, I think it was three times, two looked like they were probably inside the five if I remember correctly, so you have to give them a lot of credit. That punter looked like a guy with a great wedge shot. They made it tough on us but I think that drive in the second quarter and then coming back in the third quarter, there was some progress there. We ended up minus-two in the turnovers and you just don’t win many games when you’re minus-two in the turnovers, so tough deal on that.”

On the momentum swing of the NC State pick-six:
“Momentum is a big deal in sports and football and trying to bounce back from it. It’s one of those things you can’t answer. You keep trying to fight and get that next spark going. Difficult situation, but we had a little bit of momentum there at the end and tried to do something special. We came up a little bit short, but I liked the way we kept fighting. These kids will never quit. It’s like that Monty Python show. Remember that show where the guy loses his arm and then his other arm and his legs and he’s still fighting? That’s our kids, but we’re just running out of arms and legs. God love them, I love these kids and dog gone it we came up short.”

On the final three games left of the season:
“I think we can learn great lessons by the way we fight in this situation. It’s a difficult one, but it’s the reality of the one we’re living in. NC State went through this last year, very similar. I was talking to a few of my good friends on that staff and all you do is you keep fighting. You keep trying to find a way. You try and be creative and live in the creativity world on offense, but there’s also only so many things you can do. So you just keep fighting. You try anything and everything you can think of, you try to play the best defense possible and really work on getting the ball back to the offense. You try to do a great job in the kicking game as well and that’s really the only recipe that I know. We’re going to keep working our tails off to try and get that done.”

Have you ever seen injuries on the offensive line like this in your career before?
“No. Not at the same time like this before. I was talking to [Athletic Director] Dr. Gross about that earlier this week. I’ve been in situations before where we’ve had a lot of injuries, but they were all over the place and never up in there with those guys in the middle like this.

“(smiling) But, no one else that’s playing us cares so we’ve got to find a way to go to war and that’s what we’re going to do. We’ll just keep fighting and get this Duke team in here, a well-coached football team that will be a hell of a challenge for us but it’s what we live for.”

On still having an opportunity to make a bowl game:
“We’ve got to win out and pull off a miracle, but let’s do it.”

On going into the final three games needing wins to become bowl eligible:
“It’ll be a very difficult challenge that will be fun to try and prepare for and do. It’s the great thing about sports. You have yourself in this position where everything is doom and gloom but you’ve got an opportunity to prove a lot of people wrong and prove to your kids that anything is possible. It’s not a miracle, it’s us playing really well or catching them down or something like that. It’s us making really great plays down the field. I thought (wide receiver) Ben Lewis made a couple plays down the field and did a really good job with Ashton [Broyld] and Brisly [Estime] out. He’s got a couple injuries that I couldn’t play through, to be honest with you. So my point is, we just go out there and find the next guy and see if we can do something great. Let’s just focus on the positives that we can and not worry about the things we can’t control.

“We always talk about controlling the things we can control in life and then working at all the other things and then praying when you can’t figure it out. That’s what our kids are doing. We had Jerome Smith and Marquis Spruill in visiting this weekend and they talked to the kids and that’s what Jerome talked about, controlling the things you can and trying to prove people wrong. That’s the approach we’ll take. We always have and I know our kids will go really hard at it.”

Syracuse Student-Athlete Quotes

Adonis Ameen-Moore, Senior, Running Back

On today’s game:
“The biggest thing with us is that we never quit regardless of what the situation is. We have the confidence and faith in everyone who is on this team. My teammates are my brothers and I am going to have their back regardless of what happens.”

On his personal reaction to the loss:
” We want to win every game. This game definitely hurt a little bit more.”

On the rest of the season:
“We just have to go hard. The biggest thing we can do is go to work on Tuesday watch film and count on each other and just get it done.”

Sean Hickey, Senior, Offensive Tackle

On the team’s injuries:
“The players on the offensive line who had to rotate or start are tough kids and in some situations, I really have to tip my hat out to them. Nick Robinson really tried his hardest. It is tough because some of the guys haven’t had a whole bunch of experience and you just have to keep them calm during the game. They (NC State) did a good job in the game plan by giving us some things that we have seen in the past.”

On the loss:
“Every game is tough especially because of the circumstances. The seniors are just fighting to just win the game and to not get the results after working really hard all through the off season and preseason camp is very frustrating.”

On the team’s running game performance today:
“There were some guys were just unable to get the job done. When you’re in the game you are supposed to execute, and it’s not an excuse to blame our loss to the injuries. If you are in the game you are supposed to execute if you can’t execute then we have to get the next guy in there.”

On his mindset on next week’s game against Duke:
“To attack each game. We have a bye week after the Duke game and we really need to put every effort in the next game to save our season.”

Robert Welsh, Senior, Defensive End

On defensive play for the day
“Today I don’t think we did enough, we didn’t create any turn overs. The past couple weeks we’ve been really good at getting the ball back to the offense. It’s tough on the offense when the defense can’t get you the ball back. We weren’t the best defense out there in today’s game. NC State’s defense was better than us so we didn’t get the job done on the defensive side of the ball.”

On quarterback A.J. Long’s performance:
“I think A.J is doing a really good job for being a true freshman. It’s difficult to come in with experience playing college football and do what he’s done. He’s won us some games, he has his struggles, but who doesn’t have their struggles. We’ve had our struggles on defense, so I just have to go up to him and try t. encourage him to keep his chin up.”

On the defensive line and overall performance:
“I don’t think we had that great of a game at defensive line. It just didn’t feel like we were getting to the quarterback like we normally do.”

On the importance of the next three games:
“We have to win, there’s no question about it. We have to do whatever it takes to win. If we have to get the ball back, we have to score more defensively. We have to do whatever it takes to win in the end”.

Steve Ishmael, Freshman, Wide Receiver

On his touchdown:
“It was a simple deep pass, I work on that almost every day with AJ. I give the glory to God for helping me score.”

On the chemistry with quarterback AJ Long:
“The chemistry is just getting better, we are growing as a unit. (Receiver) Jarrod West is out there making big plays also. I feel like we are growing as a team, not just me and AJ, but with the other receivers as well.”

On the importance of the next three games:
“We’re staying confident, nothing changes. We win some, we lose some. We just have to move and have a forget mindset. Looking forward to Duke and hopefully we get the win there.”

On feeling disappointed:
“There is definitely some disappointment. Nobody wants to be 3 and 6. But everything happens for a reason, that’s how I look at it. I just leave everything in the Lord’s hands. We are learning from this experience and hopefully we will get better.”

Zaire Franklin, Freshman, Linebacker

On today’s game:
“Honestly, it’s just been trying to build trust with my teammates. Coach Lea always tells me, you’re only one player away from being a starter as a back-up so I was just coming in and I trying to prepare myself as if I am going to start every game. I push myself in practice and try to get better like guys like Cam (Lynch) and Dyshawn (Davis). They’re definitely out there a lot so it felt good to get out there and make big plays.”

Cameron Lynch, Senior, Linebacker

On today’s game:
“It’s frustrating on our behalf because we gave up that touchdown. It’s the battle for the defenses really, so they got a big turnover for a touchdown and we want to shut them out so we couldn’t do that so we will take that part of the game. We have to execute on defense at all phases. Shutting them out was a big thing we were looking for, we didn’t do it so we are going to go back to the drawing board and make sure we correct those mistakes.”

On looking forward to the rest of the season:
“Really just win out. We need to make sure our freshman, and our sophomores, and juniors play as if it was their last year as well because we want this bad. We have three games left and we want to make it four.”

Jarrod West, Senior, Wide Receiver

On today’s game:
“Definitely not satisfied with that. I felt like there were a couple of times where the team was depending on me to break one of those and I didn’t do that today.”

On looking forward to the rest of the season:
“I hate losing so I’m going to do whatever I can in my power to try to roll the team and the seniors are definitely going to have my back about that and we are going to do whatever we can to be the best team that we can to try and get these three wins. It’s only going to take one at a time.”

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