GILDAN NEW MEXICO BOWL: NEVADA v ARIZONA
December 16, 2012Richmond High School
ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO
NEVADA – 48
ARIZONA - 49
Q. Where does this stack up in all your career wins?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: It's the latest and the greatest so far. I mean, it's improbable. Certainly I've had some games come down to that end. But to have everything, the defense making the stop, to the field goal, Matt leading the quick drive down there, getting the on?side kick, which is very rare to have, and then Matt leading down again. It just doesn't happen very often.
But the guys never quit. They played every play. You've got to give them credit. That's a good football team, but we hung in there just enough to win it.
Q. Can you describe that finish? Have you ever been part of anything as hectic as that was?
STUDENT?ATHLETE: Not when I was playing. It was really exciting for me. It came down to crunch time, and we executed. Congratulations to Nevada, they played a great game. We just fought and battled.
Q. Rich, do you practice that situation every day in practice?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: These guys will tell you we practice it every week, but we're built for that because of our tempo. So for us, being in a two?minute drill or less?than?a?minute drill, it's probably easier than other teams because that's all we do. That's how we're built.
Matt, obviously, and the guys did a great job of executing. But for guys up front and everything else, a two?minute drill for us is our everyday of life and our way of living.
Q. Matt, take me through the emotions that you went through in that last two minutes from Nevada having the ball inside, what? The 5?yard line. Knocking on the door to get another chance, to get that on?side kick and then making the drive. What was it like with the flip?flop of emotions there?
MATT SCOTT: It's hard. It's not easy to come back from that situation. You're not necessarily going to think the most positive thing at the time, but we went out there and took care of business. It was just a big drive. I still can't believe it.
Q. Did you expect to get that on?side kick?
MATT SCOTT: I did. I did. I mean, obviously, that was my hope. I was hoping for it. When we got it, I really couldn't believe it. It seemed like a dream. Like Coach Rich Rod said, it doesn't happen every day. But we got the onside kick, got the ball down the field and won the game.
Q. Ka'Deem, could you talk about how Matt played in your point of view?
KA'DEEM CAREY: Matt played great. I kept saying in the back field, make those big plays that you've got. He made them. And he went in there, stuck in three and took the team like he does all year and just put it in there.
Q. Same for you, Marquise? What was it like from the sideline?
MARQUIS FLOWERS: It was unbelievable. Watching him in practice, you don't think nothing of it. But when it's actually game time, to see his composure and leadership out there, everybody on the sideline was hyped. It was big play after big play.
Q. Matt, on those last two drives, why were those passes coming easier?
MATT SCOTT: The first drive, the first touchdown they were backing off to make sure the big play didn't happen so they could come back and win the game. So we were getting a lot of underneath stuff, and getting out of bounds and stopping the clock, and we were able to score pretty quick. The next drive was kind of the same thing. They gave us a seam route and rolled coverage, and I hit the seam and it just worked out great.
Q. Matt, we've talked on and off over the years about the importance of failure. To finish your career on a high note, how does that change the way you look back on your college career?
MATT SCOTT: It changes a lot. I've been through a lot here at the University, and it's been a tough time for me. My career could have gone a couple of different ways, but I decided to stay and compete and try to get better. I didn't quit. There was a lot of perseverance, it was hard at times.
Q. For Marquis, eight wins in Coach's first season, can you put that in perspective, and kind of maybe just project ahead for the next year?
MARQUIS FLOWERS: It's great. When Coach Rich Rod first came in, you didn't know what to expect, but we all bought in. We'd like to get a couple more wins, but we can't change the past. We got a good one today. I think we're going to go into the off?season with a full year, Coach Rich Rod, and our strength and conditioning staff know what we've got to do to come out and compete for a Rose Bowl next year.
Q. Coach, how do you assess this season with a game like this with an improbable finish? You had some ups, some big wins, obviously some down moments. How do you wrap this one into words?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: It's probably too early to reflect. There are a couple like Marquis said, that we'd like to have back. But at the same time, there are a lot of memories that everyone in the program and hopefully all of us that watch the program can enjoy for many years. I want the seniors to have the best experience of their life this year.
I don't know if it was that, but I think they had a good one. I hope the underclassmen have the same kind of experience, even better, in their senior year. That's why I'm so proud of our senior class. Because the way they bought in, and the way they were able to lead this year, I think sets a good example for Ka'Deem and Marquis, and our younger guys.
Q. Ka'Deem, on the last after the on?side kick, was there a look in their eyes on Nevada that you could see and they were just like stunned or shellshocked?
KA'DEEM CAREY: Yeah, I definitely made sure to look at their face. It wasn't a good one. I knew that's why we had to go out there and punch the last one in and go out there and get it.
Q. What was your route to the ball on that on?side kick?
MARQUIS FLOWERS: I was running down, actually. I'm looking up to see if somebody's coming to hear me. Because the on?side kick, the frontline guys are trying to come. They usually have a jumper back there.
But Bonano placed the ball perfect. It was a perfect kick. It hit the dude in the face and actually came right back. It actually hit him in the face. I'm running to make sure we didn't get the ball, and I was in the right spot, right time. Jumped up ball, recovered it, gave the ball back to Matt.
Q. Coach, there was an incident with a couple of your players on the sideline. Could you describe what happened and the disciplinary action taken?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: I couldn't, because I didn't see it. I'm coaching the game. But as soon as I heard what happened, we sent the guys in the locker room. They went home, I believe, with their parents. So it was embarrassing, but I didn't see it, so I can't comment on it.
Q. With what Matt's been able to go through this year highs and lows, how will you talk about Matt Scott?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Matt and all of our guys, especially our seniors, I said it earlier in our game, it might have been one of the early losses that this guy's a stud. Not just on the field, but as he mentioned what he's been through, and how he's persevered and to come out as a fifth?year senior, and I don't know how many different coaches he's had or how many systems he's had to learn. He bought in completely and executed tremendously.
Those last two drives, you had to be almost flawless with the mountain of time we had left. You had to be almost flawless to execute it. Matt Scott was flawless. Certainly that is why we won the game.
Q. For Coach, Tyler Slavin didn't appear to play early in the game. Yet he catches the game?winning touchdown. Can you talk about his day?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Fresh legs.
Q. That was it?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Yeah, we had fresh legs at the end. Got him in there, and he was running a little different speed. No, Coach Dews and I talked about it, saying we've got to get Tyler in there because our receivers were running a lot of deep routes. When he got in there, he performed. I was really proud of him.
He was the guy that was open. That helps a little bit. Matt found him. But he did. He came in there, competed. Garic made some big catches. Ka'Deem is Ka'Deem, and he's always going to run hard. But our execution was not very good for the most part at times. But it was when we really had to have it. Again, Tyler was a part of that in the end.
Q. Marquis, when you see the ball hit the guy in the face and come toward you, what is going through your head? The number of times you guys tried that, how often does that actually work?
MARQUIS FLOWERS: We practice it all the time, but when it actually hit him, it was like slow motion. I look on the ground, and the ball is rolling right down, and I was like my team needs me. So I jumped on it and secured it. I didn't want it to slip out or anybody else to knock it out. I never really saw it, but I made sure I jumped on it to give our offense a chance.
Q. What was it like being at the bottom of the pile?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: The Nevada players reaching in there, trying to act like they've got the ball. But my players did what they practiced. They jumped on me. The ref was calling blue ball before that even happened. So they already knew.
Q. Coach, John was saying that on those on?side kicks you're not allowed to pop it up anymore. So how difficult is it to make it stay on the ground and be able to keep it in play like that?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: You can still do it, but what the new rule is is if it's on the one hop, one bounce, you can fair catch it. Nowadays, you almost have to sidekick it and get the second bounce. John has been really good about it. We haven't recovered it every time in practice. It's hard. A lot of factors have to go right.
But getting the double bounce where they can no longer fair catch it is a big key. I always tease those kickers. They've got 16, 17 periods a day to work on it while everybody else is doing routes. You could tell he's worked on it. It's a tremendous kick. Again, it was a lucky bounce. But a little bit of luck and a little bit of guys hustling, that made it happen.
Q. Ka'Deem, I know you had 2,000 yards in mind. You fell a few yards short, but you are the nation's leading rusher after today. Your thoughts on your season and how this could be a spring board for the future for you?
KA'DEEM CAREY: It was an overall great season this season. I had teammates that pushed me through in the weight room. I had coach pushing me on the field. Without them I couldn't have played this far. We just have to continue on next year.
This is a big win for us, because next year we know what we want and we've got to go get it.
Q. Ka'Deem, I had spoken with you beforehand about the rushing battle there, and were you keeping a little eye out and were you aware of where each other stood there? Jefferson finished with eight more yards, but it gave you the title.
KA'DEEM CAREY: That dude's a great player. I'm happy I got to see him play and just the way he carries himself out there. He won the battle. That's how you do it. All hands to that team and him, and they came out and played 100% hard, and they came out on top though.
Q. Is there a place to feel sympathy for what Chris Ault is going through?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Certainly, you feel bad. Their staff and their players did a tremendous job. We've all lost tough games. We've been through a couple of them this year that we'd love to have back in the fourth quarter. But certainly I don't feel empathy because they should be proud of themselves.
Coach Ault is a Hall of Famer. He's got the football players, really good players that played really hard. They've got a tremendous staff, a tremendous staff. It was quite a challenge for us. We were fortunate to win in the end, but I'll take it.
Q. Coach, talk about your experience in Albuquerque and the NewMexico Bowl all week?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: I'm glad you asked. It's been a short week. Instead of being here seven or eight days, we've been here three and a half days. But speaking on behalf of the coaches and players I've talked to, it couldn't have been a better experience. They enjoyed the time that they had and the little bit of fun activity that they had.
The people here are tremendously friendly and very open, putting on a good bowl. Our fans are happy they came here. This is not an easy trip, and a lot of them are hustling back for a basketball game tonight.
But I think the Gildan NewMexico Bowl has a place in college football, and hopefully this will be a springboard for them in the future.
Q. Has it hit you yet that this is it? Looking back, what will you remember?
MATT SCOTT: I don't think it's hit me yet. It will probably hit me tomorrow morning or the next day. But I'll look back as a great part of my life, a great five years. You know, I wouldn't take it back for anything. I've been through some hard times, but it made me who I am today.
Q. Coach, when you're lining up for the on?side kick, do you say a prayer?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Well, we had so many guys hurt. I'm yelling at the coaches saying make sure we've got 11, and make sure we have 11 lined up in the right spot. I wasn't going to say anything to John, because he knows what to kick.
But there are probably four or five different guys in different positions. But making sure we had everybody in the right spot and crossing our fingers a little bit.
Q. Does that play have a name, the kick itself?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Takeaway. It's a takeaway. They've got to help you.