Nov. 30, 2012
Head Coach Charlie Strong
Opening Statement: "All season long, this football team has been a very resilient football team. They have come back from a lot of times that we have been down. You look at the first half of this game; we were down 14-3. We talked about this, even before the game started, I said, `we are going to make plays and they are going to make plays, but it is one play at a time.' Even if we do give up big plays, let's make sure that we keep our head into the game and we stay focused. Let's make sure we concentrate. That's what this team was able to do this evening. We started this game with Will Stein and any time we needed to get under center, Will Stein came in the game and any time we needed to throw it, Teddy (Bridgewater) would get in. You look at Teddy, with what he had to fight through with his wrist injury and his ankle, (you saw) how much this team depends on him and his leadership ability. We didn't know at the beginning if he would even play or not. He came up to me midway through the first quarter. I said to warm him up. I gave our medical staff a game ball because they were able to get Teddy (to play). Around the clock from Sunday to today, even today, they were giving him medical treatment and making sure we got him to the game. We knew that if we got him to the game, we would have a chance to win this football game. It speaks a lot. You look at Rutgers and how outstanding a football team (they are). Coach (Kyle) Flood has done a tremendous job. For it to come down to the last game of the season, just speaks volumes for this conference. You look at our football team. We were picked to win it early. I didn't know if we were good enough to win it. I thought, when they picked us, I thought `wow, what are they thinking about? We have a young football team.' We watched this team be picked and then finish the way that they did. We dropped two the last couple of weeks. But for us to go on the road and win the championship, it's so special. It's special for this program. It's special for the University. It's special for our fans and for the city of Louisville. It's just special. I'm just so happy for us to get to a 10-win season, go win us a conference title and get us to a BCS bowl."
On uncertain quarterback situation: "We didn't know how much Teddy was going to play. But we figured at the start of the game that Stein was there and he was functional, which he was. Two years ago, he was the quarterback and he was able to come in after (Justin) Burke got knocked out of the game. We were going to play Stein the whole game if we had to.
On halftime speech: "I didn't beat us up. I said, `we have one game. We have 30 minutes of football left. We have not played well. We've given up two big plays on defense. Offensively, we're not blocking and we can't run the ball. We're not protecting the quarterback. Just protect Teddy and give us a chance to throw the ball.' We had 30 minutes of football left. We've been in this situation before. Last week, we were down 10-0. We were only down 11 points (today). We've been down 14 points. (I told them) to keep fighting, keep battling and someone is going to make a play sooner or later."
On defense responding late: "(James) Burgess missed it, but you still have the final line of defense and you want your safeties to get the ball on the ground. You look at the first play, it went for 85 yards. We had a guy pinned on the boundary and he ends up getting away from us for a long touchdown. Then the same thing happens, we get another guy pinned. We don't defend the boundary; he goes down the boundary for a big touchdown. Defensively, we were able to make plays at the right time. You look at the key interception that we were able to get. Then, we scored and within 15-20 seconds we were able to get another score because we kicked off and they fumbled it. There was a defensive player that made the hit and then Teddy throws to DeVante (Parker). I was just pleased with the way the defense was able to play."