Steve Sarkisian Apple Cup Quotes

PULLMAN, Wash. - Here's what Washington Head Coach Steve Sarkisian said to the media moments after UW's 35-28 win over Washington State in the 103rd playing of the Apple Cup. He praised his team's ability to finish another very tough ball game - their third in a row - to ensure the Huskies' first post-season appearance since 2002.

General Comments: "When we had that bye week, we had a Come-To-Jesus meeting, as we like to call it, and got to the realities of where we were as a program and what it was going to take to get to this point right now. We understood the fact, as a whole, we had to get better on defense and we had to run the football better to give us a chance. And that occurred. Ultimately it was going to come down to us winning, on the road, in hostile environments, in the fourth quarter of tight games. And we've been talking about that since training camp. That couldn't have been more evident than in the last two weeks, and especially tonight."

On where the team has come since the Oregon loss: "I couldn't be more proud of this football team. Two years ago Monday was when I met them, and I remember seeing those kids. There weren't a lot of U-Dub gear on; there weren't a lot of hats, there weren't a lot of sweatshirts - there were a lot of guys wearing hoodies with their heads down. I don't know how proud they were to be Huskies, and that was the first thing we wanted to accomplish. We're proud Huskies, and we're proud to represent the University of Washington and this football program because of all the greatness that has come before us. And I think we can say tonight we're pretty proud Huskies."

On the 4th and 1 on their last drive: "I was kicking it. Luckily for us the clock was running down, so I had to take a timeout. I thought to myself, we've been aggressive. The odds have been in our favor when we've been aggressive. We went for the one on the goal-line and had a little mishap with the ball handling, and I thought to myself, we didn't make that one, so that means we're going to make this one. And we went back out and did it."

On how close he was to not calling that time out: "It was close. I was standing right next to the official and I was itching and twinging."

On why he changed his mind: "I went back to who we are. You've got to stick to your guns. You have to make calculated, smart decisions, but ultimately you've got to be who you are."

On his talk to the team at halftime: "Missed opportunities. Missed opportunities to put more points on the board, and then defensively dropped interceptions and different things. We really could have taken the game away, but this was going to be a four-quarter game. The Cougars were going to play hard and they were going to have their moments…their quarterback is a big-play guy…we understood that at halftime."

On what bowl game they want to play in: "It doesn't matter. In all honesty, our focus was on this game. Tomorrow we'll figure out where we're going and we'll do it in really classy fashion and we'll represent the University of Washington with extreme class and go have a great time and play good football."

On Chris Polk: "If you look at my call sheet - on both sides - it said 'pound that rock'. We were going to make sure we were going to run the football tonight. Chris did a great job, I thought our offensive line did an extremely good job up front. One of the keys for us in this game was the line of scrimmage. And our receivers did a nice job. Sometimes that can go unnoticed, but when you have that many long runs as Chris had, you've got to be blocking downfield. Our guys did that. He ran like a War Daddy tonight."

On that last drive: "We just had a game plan. In assessing the clock and where we were, I like to end the game with the ball in our possession or a touchdown in our hands. And that was the mindset. We took a terrible unsportsman-like conduct penalty that knocked us back. They were loading up on us and we gave Jermaine Kearse a one-on-one chance, and he made a heckuva play."

On the last TD pass from Jake Locker to Jermaine Kearse: "It was completely called. Versus bump coverage, it's an automatic fade. And a nice job by Jake of allowing Jermaine to make a play, and that's one of Jermaine's strong points - high point on the football."

On what was called if there hadn't been bump coverage on that play: "It was a slant and go."

On the key to finishing the last drive: "My big key to that last drive was get a first down. Let's get one first down and then start the momentum. The first down was key."

On the first 4th and 1 that resulted in a Locker fumble and change of possession: "It's a touchdown. It wasn't even a read. It was the exact same play that Jake has the touchdown run on that got called back. It was there again. I don't know how Jesse got that close to where the ball got jarred out, but it was a designed run for Jake the whole way."

On Semisi Tokolahi and Cody Bruns' health: "He's got a dislocated and broken ankle, and Cody has a broken clavicle."

On the long review by the officials at the end of the game: "First thing, they want to figure out if he caught the ball. Then they had to figure out if it was a first down or not - where he caught the ball. Now that it's a first down, do they wind the clock or not? So there was three steps to it. I was getting kind of annoyed at that point, but it is what it is."

On cutbacks for Polk on his runs: "There were some things there that we thought the ball would get back…we thought we could keep some things frontside too, and a couple of his long runs stayed frontside. A real credit to Danny Cozzetto and Joel Thomas of assessing what was happening with the 'backers and if they were falling back or not. We gave Chris enough carries to where he was getting a feel for what the 'backers were doing - cut it back or stay frontside."

On the turnaround: "My exact quote was, it wouldn't take us very long. I don't know if two years is very long or not, but it doesn't feel very long to me."

On what changed after Oregon: "We fought in that game, but we didn't finish great in the second half. And that had been the rallying cry for the past three weeks - Finish, Finish, Finish. It shows the true grit and resilience of these kids. It's been a hard four or five years for our seniors, and it's been a hard season this year with some real highs and some devastating lows, but to battle for three straight weeks has been pretty cool to be a part of."

On Locker returning: "The moment Jake decided to come back, I'm assuming this is what he was envisioning - this moment. This is why he came back, and here it is for him."

On first Apple Cup experience in Pullman: "It was cold. I know that much."

On what this finish says about his program: "We've got a real belief system in place that not only our players, but everyone involved in our organization has a real belief in what we're doing and why we're doing it. We're not saying words for words' sake; there's real meaning and philosophies and belief systems to what we do and why we do it. Some of those take a little longer than others to come into place, but I thought the finish aspect really kicked in these final three ball games."

On the next 24 hours: "We'll have a team meeting at 6 o'clock tomorrow night."

On bowl announcement: "I don't know. Hopefully sooner, rather than later."

On filling in for Tokolahi along the DL: "We went with Sione there for a while, and then we did some things with Mason at defensive end and we played DeShon Matthews a little more."

On going bowling: "Like I told those guys, we're going to have Christmas in a hotel room, so they got their wish." Top Stories