Quotes from the UH-Washington State game

HA = Honolulu Advertiser
HSB = Honolulu Star-Bulletin
UH = University of Hawaii official site
ST = Seattle Times
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HSB Note: “Losing by 14 was something new for the Cougars (2-11). Their 10 other losses were by 25 points or more.”

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—————– Quotes from the UH coaches —————-

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About facing Washington State’s offense, UH head coach Greg McMackin (Mac) said:
“I really didn’t know how tonight would play out. They ran a different offense almost every week. Two weeks ago, against Arizona State, they spread it out and passed the whole game. Last week, they tightened up and ran it against Washington. I thought we would see something in between. And that’s exactly what they did.” (UH)

About earning a spot in the Hawaii Bowl and having a winning season, Mac said:
“I honestly feel a responsibility to our players, coaches and family, as well as for the state of Hawai`i, our fans and the university to have a winning season. I know we had some tough times and our ups and downs this year, but there was no way that we weren’t going to make it to a bowl game this season. We played a tough schedule, with probably four or five teams that will be playing in bowl games. And we had some adversity. But we stayed together. I think the leadership on this team has held us together, and I couldn’t be any prouder of our team. I feel humble, happy and fortunate to have a winning season. Winning is hard. Having a winning season is a really tough thing to accomplish. I have so many people to thank for getting us here. But our season isn’t over yet. So I’ll save the thank you’s until after the season’s done.” (UH)

“I’m proud of our players and coaches. We had our ups and downs, but when adversity hit, we came through. … It’s been a thrill. These players really deserve it. My coaches have worked hard, and they’ve done it the right way. I’m so proud of them.” (HA)

“They could’ve dispersed at any time.” (HSB)

“I feel a responsibility to the fans and the university and there’s no way we weren’t going to go to a bowl game. We had some adversity, but we stayed together.” (HSB)

“Above all I want to thank my players — they’re special and they worked their tails off. It’s an honor to play for Hawaii and we can’t wait to represent Hawaii in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.” (HSB)

About facing Cincinnati next week, Mac said:
“It’s going to be a great game next week. Cincinnati won the Big East, and they are probably going to play in the Orange Bowl or the Sugar Bowl. This gives us a chance to show what we are capable of doing against this type of team. I think we’re playing at our peak right now and it’s the best time to face this kind of opponent.” (UH)

About dancing in the locker room after the game to celebrate their qualifying for the Hawaii Bowl, Mac said:
“I think I hurt my knee.” (HA)

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About how Washington State tried to make it hard for them to read their defenses, Ron Lee said:
“Washington State did a nice job of disguising their coverages and making changes at halftime. This was a tough team because they showed a lot of different coverages, and that made it tough for us to read.” (HA)

About the 44-yard TD pass to Washington when the score was 17-10 midway through the 3rd quarter, Ron Lee said:
“That was a heck of a throw and Mike did a super job of getting to it. The execution was perfect. It was a crucial situation because they were only seven down and they had the momentum turned around. That was the turning point of the game.” (HA)

About Alexander’s scrambles (including runs of 22 and 11 yards in this game), Ron Lee said:
“Saved us. He made plays. He scrambled around and made the throws. He did all of that ad libbing. He does a lot on his own. He’s big and he can see. He’s got a strong arm. He played a heck of a game.” (HA)

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About Alexander’s improvement this season, Rolo said:
“He did everything in his power to get ready to bring this team out of turmoil and bring it to a bowl game.” (HA)

About how Alexander knows when he should scramble, Rolo said:
“He’s got a good knack for knowing where to go, knowing when to take off.” (HA)

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————- Quotes from the UH players ——————

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About Washington State, QB Greg Alexander said:
“We knew Washington State would play well coming off their big win over Washington last week. They have a great defense and we knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Overall, we got the win, and that’s all that matters. It’s always good to jump out fast, and that helped. But if you continue to let teams stick around long enough, they start to think they can win.” (UH)

About earning the Hawaii Bowl bid, Alexander said:
“It feels good, especially with the way we started. We had to face two really tough teams at the beginning of the season, and we went through some adversity. We knew that a lot of the fans jumped ship early on, but we stayed together as a team. I have to credit the seniors. They really provided great leadership and I’m happy that we got that extra game for them.” (UH)

“It feels great, really great. Especially with the way we started.” (HA)

“The season’s a marathon, not a sprint. It was tough early, but everybody stuck together and now we’ve made a bowl game. We can take a little breath till Cincinnati. They’re a BCS team so we can’t relax too much.” (HA)

“We had a lot of adversity through the year and had a lot of people jump off-board and write us off. We have a great group of leaders. Our seniors got us together and said we’ve just got to stick together and good things will happen.” (HSB)

About dodging pass rushers to buy time in the pocket and to scramble to gain yardage, Alexander said:
“I try to get out of sacks, do whatever you can. Sometimes it doesn’t work out where you have some negative yards. I just try to focus on not having any negative plays.” (HA)

About his 44-yard TD pass to Washington, Alexander said:
“Mike just set it up real good, and hit the post. He was wide open.” (HA)

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About facing Washington State, Greg Salas said:
“We knew it would be tough. Even though they only had two wins coming in, we knew they had Pac 10 athletes and that they would want to come in here and show that they could be a WAC team. We wanted to get a fast start, but we kind of let it fizzle away later in the game. It’s a good win and we are going to a bowl. That’s all that matters.” (UH)

“We knew they were going to be tough, they still have their Pac-10 athletes and we knew we had to get out fast.” (HSB)

Praising Alexander, Salas said:
“He’s the reason our offense is in check right now.” (HA)

About running over the Washington State CB at the 1-yard-line to get into the end zone to finish his 19-yard TD reception, Salas said:
“I caught it, and I knew I had a little bit of running room. I tried to get good speed and find my way into the end zone. It worked.” (HA)

About how they wanted to get an early lead to prevent Washington State from getting any momentum, Salas said:
“We wanted to come out fast, because we knew they were riding high off the Washington win (last week). We knew they’re not gonna lay over for us. We definitely wanted to come out fast and make a statement. We did that, (the offensive movement) kind of fizzled away (late) but we got the win.” (HSB)

About Washington’s 44-yard TD reception, Salas said:
“That play was run to perfection and it worked out great.” (HSB)

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About their performance in the game, Michael Washington said:
“In conditions like this, you have to focus because you’re fighting the wind and the rain. We also knew from watching tape that they were going to be good despite their record. We knew they had a strong front four and we were going to get pressure, so we had to make sure that we set ourselves up as quick as possible to help Greg out.” (HA)

About his 44-yard TD reception when the score was 17-10 midway through the 3rd quarter, Washington said:
“When I got that pre-snap read, my eyes lit up. I came out as a decoy, posted on the safety and when I looked back, Greg put the ball up. If he’s going to put it up in there, I’m going to go and get it.” (HA)

“Pre-snap read I’m thinking touchdown, but I didn’t want to get too excited and alert the defense. I just ran my route, read the defense and me and Greg were on the same page.” (HSB)

“It’s called the divide play. It’s a pre-snap read. I had the safety on my outside. When that happens, I run a post (route). Hopefully, me and Greg (Alexander) are on the same page.” (HA)

“We knew we needed a big play. We call that play, ‘Somethin’ Big.’ I saw the defense with the pre-snap read — I was thinking touchdown from the way the defense was playing me. So I just ran my route and executed, (beat the) second safety, by the time I looked around Greg threw that thing out there and I just had to make a play.” (HSB)

About the pink Gatorade he had on his uniform after the game, Washington said:
“I hope this stuff comes out.” (HSB)

About getting soaked by Gatorade when tackled on the sideline after a 26-yard catch, Washington said:
“Oh yeah, it was refreshing. I got it in my face, my gloves, down on my legs, my body, my feet. I’m just humble and blessed that I didn’t get hurt, ’cause it was kind of crazy.” (HSB)

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About their game plan, Aaron Bain said:
“They were bringing the pressure, so we just tried to get open as much as we could. Our game plan is always to hit them in the mouth right off the bat and utilize as many people as we can.” (HA)

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About the difference between last season and this season, John Estes said:
“Last year, we had experienced guys everywhere. This year, we had to work harder to make the bowl game. We cut it close to the end, but we won the game we were supposed to win.” (HA)

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About making the Hawaii Bowl, Lafu Tuioti-Mariner said:
“This is good, especially with the season we’ve had. It’s been kind of bumpy. But we stuck together, and we played as a team.” (HA)

About recovering the errant pitch by the Washington State returner who was running after they blocked a FG, Lafu said:
“I just did what I had to do, get the ball back.” (HSB)

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About their D, Adam Leonard said:
“We have been fundamentally sound overall as a defense. Our defensive line has been doing great and that makes things easier for us linebackers to go out and make plays. We took it upon ourselves to not have our defensive backs make get too many tackles and to get stops before it gets to them.” (UH)

“Our D-line is doing a great job of just causing havoc. When they do that, it makes playing linebacker a lot easier.” (HSB)

About how they had to win to make the Hawaii Bowl, Adam said:
“We knew (Washington State) wanted to come in and take one from us. This was the must-win. We definitely didn’t want to be in a situation where we had all the cards dealt for Cincinnati. To be bowl-eligible now, it relieves some of the pressure and we can just have fun.” (HSB)

Happy to have the Hawaii Bowl extend his Warrior career, Adam said:
“I’m cherishing every moment down here and to know that I’ve got another month’s work down here is definitely exciting for me.” (HSB)

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About how they were determined to win this game, Sol said:
“We were playing with emotion tonight.” (HA)

About how it feels to make it to the Hawaii Bowl, Sol said:
“It feels great. One of our goals was to go to the Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl. It keeps us going. It keeps us hungry.” (HA)

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About their early season struggles, David Veikune said:
“What were we, 1-3? It was scary starting out that way. But leaders stepped up and helped turn around the team.” (HSB)

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About how they were focused on making the Hawaii Bowl, Keala Watson said:
“Before the game, we’re usually all loud in (the locker room). This time, we were all quiet. We knew what we had to do. We didn’t think about anything else but each person doing his job.” (HA)

About their celebration after the game, Watson said:
“this is the dessert after Thanksgiving.” (HA)

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About Mac dancing in the locker room after the game to celebrate their qualifying for the Hawaii Bowl, Jameel Dowling said:
“Great technique.” (HA)

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About Mac’s dancing, John Fonoti said:
“Coach can dance — for an old man.” (HA)

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About Mac’s dancing, Calvin Roberts said:
“Man, I’d give him an ‘8.’ It could use some improvement, but it was pretty good.” (HA)

About how they limited Washington State WR Brandon Gibson to just 1 catch for 18 yards, Roberts said:
“He’s a good receiver. He has good moves off the line. We took turns going against him. The defensive line really put pressure on the quarterback. That helped us a lot.” (HA)

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About his fumble recovery when Washington State’s QB fumbled the snap, Josh Leonard said:
“All of a sudden I saw a ball right between my legs, so I sat back and just grabbed it.” (HSB)

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——————– Quotes from the Washington State coaches —————–

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About the game, Washington State head coach Paul Wulff said:
“We gave up some big plays at times, particularly in the second half. In the first half we couldn’t control the quarterback. I thought defensively we did some pretty good things. It’s unfortunate we gave up some big plays and we just don’t have enough fire power on our offense right now.” (UH)

About Alexander’s scrambles in the first half, Wulff said:
“In the first half we (just) couldn’t control the quarterback.” (HA)

“We gave up some big plays at times, especially in the first half. We couldn’t control the quarterback when he scrambled and that’s how they get [touchdowns on] their two drives.” (ST)

“We couldn’t control their quarterback. He scrambled out of trouble. We did some good things defensively. It’s unfortunate we gave up some big plays and didn’t have enough firepower on offense to counteract that.” (HSB)

About their difficult year (his first season at Washington State), Wulff said:
“It’s been a long year – a year of everything imaginable from injuries to inexperience. That part has been tough. Regardless of the wins and losses, all the other things that have been accomplished and have gone well, those things are the things that people don’t see. A lot of good things like players’ attitudes, they’ve been working hard, and they’ve been pretty steady in their work ethic. I really think
the team over the last five games played really good football. We didn’t win them all but we played better football as a football team.” (UH)

“It’s been a long year, a year of everything imaginable, from injuries to inexperience, to finding ways to lose games. That part has been tough.” (HSB)

About how they played better in the second half of their season, Wulff said:
“From injures to inexperience to finding ways to lose games, that part has been tough. I really thought the team for the last five games has played better football. We didn’t win them all, but we played better football as a football team.” (ST)

About traveling to Hawaii after the Apple Cup, Wulff said:
“It’s pretty challenging to do that but many times our kids can come out flat after a game like that. Emotionally, I thought our kids came out and played hard. I was happy with their performance. We weren’t flat. So I though Hawaii did a nice job. They made some critical plays that they had to make on offense and that was very key to the ball game. So that was really the difference in the ball game.
I think we played better as a football team. The kids kind of clued in and got our message as the season went along. So there were a lot of things we accomplished and we need to build off that.” (UH)

About their struggling offense, Wulff said:
“We just don’t have enough firepower on offense right now to be able to counteract a good defensive effort.” (ST)

About their turnover on a return of a blocked FG, Wulff said jokingly:
“We teach that, you know. No. That was a microcosm of our whole deal this year.” (HSB)

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About the 44-yard TD pass to Washington when the score was 17-10 midway through the 3rd quarter, co-defensive coordinator Chris Ball said:
“We played a cover-2 on that and our Mike ‘backer and our safety didn’t get deep enough.” (HSB)

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—————— Quotes from the Washington State players ———————

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About UH’s quick 14-0 lead, NT Tony Turpin said:
“Hawai’i started off fast in the first quarter, and we couldn’t recover from it. It was hard. We had costly turnovers, and we didn’t take advantage of opportunities.” (HA)

About their 7 sacks in the game (they only had 13 sacks in their previous 12 games), DE Kevin Kooyman (who had a sack in the game) said:
“We kept the pressure on and kept him out of the pocket and those seven sacks are a great accomplishment.” (HSB)

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About how they made too many mistakes, LB Cory Evans said:
“We felt like we left some plays out there on the field and you can’t do that on the road.” (ST)

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About the loss, DE Andy Mattingly said:
“It’s horrible that we didn’t win the last game for our seniors.” (HSB)

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About how Vili sought him out for a hug after the game, senior left tackle Vaughn Lesuma (born in Fiji and raised in Laie) said:
“We grew up watching these guys and it was great to be on this field for the first time. It wasn’t the result that we wanted but I’m excited to be here. These guys got it, so hats off to them. I wish them good luck in the future.” (HA)

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—————— Quotes from others ——————-

Not worried about how pretty UH’s win was, Hawaii Bowl executive director David Matlin said:
“A win is a win.” (HA)

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