OPENING STATEMENT: Well, I just want to congratulate our football team, Spartan Nation for a great win. Very similar to last year's bowl game where we bounced back. Continue to say it all along; we have great chemistry on our football team, great leadership at the ground level, which to me is players' level. We pushed through the tough times.
I thought we came out and played much better the second half obviously. I thought Connor Cook did a nice job with a 90-yard drive, gave us a little bit of momentum. We ran the ball more effectively. Came up with a big turnover on special teams. Got it in there for the lead. Dan Conroy makes a clutch kick at the end. Just keep bouncing back. Very, very proud of our football team.
Q & A
Q. When William was talking about they said if you didn't get the sack, 20 push-ups, that's the most you've laughed all season. What's going through your mind when you hear that?
COACH DANTONIO: I didn't see us do many push-ups out there the first half. Our guys compete. Great defensive game plan by Coach Narduzzi and our defensive staff. We played very, very well on defense giving up only that amount of points in the situations we were in.
I thought Mike Sadler had an outstanding game. Really continuing to punt well. Obviously the turnover was huge.
Q. You're a guy that stability is huge with. The decision on the last call to go with Connor?
COACH DANTONIO: What's going through my mind? I'm not quite sure. I had a feeling on that situation. We had a go with a guy that had moved us a little bit. TCU has an excellent defense, they really do. We couldn't get loose. Connor completes four passes, I think, 4 of 11. Andrew completes five. It's not like we were ripping them.
Le'Veon has a duck that we shoot down on a trick play and falls in TyQuan Hammock's hands for a huge play. He scrambled once, moving the ball in his direction. Felt like that was the best thing to do at that time.
Maybe more importantly, we felt like he could scramble a little better than Andrew. We needed to get in field goal position. So that's the way we went. We came out on top.
There's a lot of different people that could deal with this. Andrew is a tremendous person. When I say 'deal with it,' there's a lot of people that had to do with winning this football game.
I don't want to slight anybody, say this guy is the new quarterback. There's a lot of colleges across the country that play two quarterbacks or play guys situationally. We just felt like we wanted to play a redshirt freshman and get him some reps in a bowl game. He had enough time to prepare and we wanted to see what he could do. He did well so we used him the second half, too.
Q. You had 13 games, 10 of them like this. With so many of them that have gone against them, when they kicked that 53 yarder, how did you feel?
COACH DANTONIO: I really felt like we could get down there in field goal situation and do something with it. We only needed a couple plays, and we got them. We got a nice short dig to Dion Sims. We hit Le'Veon with a little run. I felt like we would be able to get it down there and move the football.
The thing that was impressive to me was we stayed composed all the way through to the end. We won against Wisconsin very close. We won against Boise very close. So our guys have won. It's just that sometimes when you lose, it sort of gets magnified for all of us.
Q. In the first half they gashed you for a couple really long pass plays. That's uncharacteristic for you guys. Talk about what happened.
COACH DANTONIO: On the one deep ball, we had it covered, but we misplayed the deep ball. Isaiah I think misplayed it a little bit. I thought he should have picked it.
The other was a catch and run. We should have made the tackle.
Again, you go back to its game time and game reaction. It's something that you don't do as much game time action for a month.
Credit TCU and the plays they made. I thought Boykin does a nice job. He gets the ball out. He's a guy that can create. Up front I thought, we played very well. We stopped the run for the most part. I thought we made them one-dimensional in that aspect.