Jim Mora talked about winning in dramatic fashion over BYU Saturday night:
We had to overcome a lot to win that game tonight. There was a lot of adversity. It starts with a very good BYU team. They were physical and tough and gave us all that we could handle. We had to overcome one of our players getting ejected from the game, three interceptions and one allowed onside kick. We just stuck to what we feel like we do well, which is run the football and get after the passer. I’m proud of our young men for never blinking, for showing resilience and trusting each other, for playing hard until the end and coming up with a really hard-fought, significant win for this program. We have had some times when we’ve gotten into games like that with teams similar in structure to a BYU and have not come out with a win. Tonight, while we were down seven at half, we never had any doubt that we would grind it out and get a win. It’s a big win for us. I’m excited about it. I’m happy for our players.
On Myles Jack’s interception:
I just wanted him to get down. The game was over. I was excited. We had gone four quarters without a takeaway. When you are negative three in the turnover ratio, it’s tough to win a football game. Even if he had batted it down, we would have won, too. I just wanted him to get down.
On Paul Perkins:
Paul has had some pretty darn good games. I was impressed with his toughness that he ran with. He moved the pile forward. He carried the ball a lot. He played a lot. We stuck more with Paul and Nate. I’m not surprised by him playing that way. That’s a really good football player. He’s tough, hard-nosed, determined, all of those things.
On Kenny Young:
They did not explain it to me. I will not ask for an explanation. We will just move on.
On Rosen’s mistakes:
Try to keep him calm. You can’t rile him up. Josh performs best when he is calm and under control. You just try and take him back to the basics – footwork, mechanics, progressions, trust. You know, we’ll look back and this will be a great game for him to learn from. Throwing three interceptions in the first half and then the slant and going to Jordan [Payton] to put it right on the money. He didn’t play well, numbers-wise. But when it mattered, he showed exactly who he is. And that is exciting. It’s exciting to know that we have that type of young man at the helm.
On the last scoring drive and what he told Rosen:
I talked to him at halftime. I just cracked some jokes with him. I mean, nothing specific to Josh. I think that you can overdo the talking sometimes. He knows what he has to do. That is a smart young man. It was an ugly game for him, but he is going to look back. And that’ll be a turning point for him. You learn through adversity what you are and how to handle it. It’s easy when it’s easy. These clichés, I can just throw them out. When it’s easy, it’s easy. When it’s going south, you have to dig down. You have to find a way to dig yourself out of that. We talked at halftime as a team. There were 119 guys that had his back. Through adversity you grow. He had a lot of adversity tonight in a very high-profile situation.
On Isaac Savaiinaea playing linebacker:
He did a nice job, and he did a good job on special teams. We had depth here. Isaako going in for Kenny [Young], unexpectedly, that is what we except them to do. We lost Fabian Moreau and put Denzel [Fisher] out there, they were going after him, and we tried to give him a break and put Randall Goforth out there and he did well. It is an all hands on deck type of mentality, and they just have a lot of confidence in each other and in themselves and in Coach (Tom) Bradley. It’s fun to see them secure the win with that interception. We needed to come up with a play.
On Nate Starks being used on the last series:
Paul was tired. That was really it. We were getting ready to put Paul in for that final play, and we were going fast and we had them a little bit. You want to keep the tempo up. Rather than make a substitution where the officials would hold our ability to make another play and let them sub, it was just because Perkins was gassed.
On Josh Rosen’s struggles:
I don’t know how it looked like to you guys. He was trying to throw over things, and he couldn’t see as well. They are a big football team on defense. They play with a lot of poise and discipline and they were covering us tight. I think it’s just being a freshman. It’s fighting through some difficult times and adjusting to the speed of the game and the size of the players. He thinks that he can get away with some things that you cannot get away with at this level. While I don’t like that, I also think it’s an amazing sign of his confidence.”