On the frustration of State's quick strike in the second half:
"That's all the frustration in the world, because when we came into the locker room, we were ready to play. That second quarter, we come out, we stopped them two drives in a row. We came and scored two touchdowns and got to within three points.
"Coming out into the second half, we were going to kick off and if we'd have had a three and out, that could have been the whole difference in the ballgame. But we didn't. We kept our heads up after that eighty-yard touchdown, but we never got our momentum back."
On State's ball control late in the game:
"A drive like that, it just eats you up. Because you know you can stop them. But on person in the wrong gap, that's at least seven or eight yards. And that's the problem we're dealing with. Somebody isn't staying at home, or somebody overpursuing--missed tackles. If we can cut that out, we have a killer defense with a lot of speed."
What will it take for the defense to reduce its mental mistakes?
"That's the question of the day, I believe. If anybody could answer that, I mean -- I have no idea. I wish we could, but it's just moving very, very gradually."
What accounts for the slowness of improvement on defense?
"I agree that the defense is--I don’t want to say struggling, but we're just making mistakes. When eleven people with eleven different responsibilities do their responsibility, we play great. And we could be a great defense. It's just one person, or two people, not lined up in the right position, or not feeding the correct way--it's just all the hurt in the world. We practice fundamentals every week. Coach Bunting and Coach Huxtable strive on, is bringing us back to fundamentals in playing football.
"I guess the only thing I can say is, we'll work on it. I know he'll work us on it, but sometimes it just happens. I ask myself why, because I'm guilty as well. I made two mistakes in the first quarter that --one of them that we would have been off the field, I missed a tackle on the tight end. I ask myself that every night. Like I said, I'm guilty, and we can't find out why some of us are still making the same mistakes.
"If we could, we could possibly be 3-1 right now. It's nothing to do with preparation. We knew everything that they were going to do. We'd seen it before, with the screens, outs, and zone plays. That's all they do. And they eat you up little by little. And it's just pretty much the players going out there and doing what they're supposed to do, what they've been taught to do."
Did State outmatch Carolina athletically
"Not at all. I wouldn't say that they were more athletic at all. We matched up -- I thought we matched up great with them. It was just key mistakes."
On whether the offense is tired of putting up big numbers and losing:
"No, it's not getting old. We've just to go out there and execute. We've just to make plays that we should make. It's not frustrating at all. We just want to go out there and do our job. The defense is going to pick it up and do their job later on in the season, and we're going to win some games."
On his personal success against an in-state rival:
"It felt okay, but we didn't come away with a win, so it's not too good anyway."
On his on-field connection with Darian Durant:
"I get open a lot. I squeeze through little holes that bigger receivers can't get to, and he happens to find me."
Do defenses forget about you because you're smaller?
"I think so."
On battling back from the early deficit:
"That's just the attitude that this team has. As you could see in the fourth quarter, with seconds left, people thought it was over. But we never quit. This team as a lot of fight, and that's going to help us win some games."
On what it will take to turn the corner:
"I don't know. I mean, I guess we've just got to score more points than the other team. That's the bottom line."
On not playing the last two drives:
"I don't know. Maybe coach thought that it was kind of out of reach, and wanted to get somebody else in, and get him a couple of reps. It maybe had to do a little bit with [an injury]. Coach didn't want to risk anything. But Matt [Baker] came in and threw a touchdown, you know--he deserved to stay in there."
On the fumble at midfield that resulted in first down:
"It was just a quarterback sneak, and I was trying to actually put the ball forward because I wasn't down. I was trying to reach for the first down. But Jacque [Lewis] had great awareness on his part."
So State definitely knocked the ball out?
"No. I was coming up, and I hit my own man with the ball."
On staying focused and positive:
"You have to be like that. Even if your defense is stopping people every play. The offense's job is to put points on the board, and you have to have that attitude regardless of how your defense is playing."
Was the team encouraged by the close halftime score?
"I mean, not just that. Even at the beginning of the game we thought we had a chance to win the game, not just at halftime when we stopped them. That's just our attitude. We feel like we're in every game regardless of what the score is at halftime.
What was the difference in the second half?
"I don't know. That's a good question. We just didn't execute sometimes. A crucial turnover on my part. We just didn't execute."
Did the offense think the game was still theirs to win after State came out and scored twice to open the second half?
"Oh yeah. We stayed motivated over there. We were expecting a good team like State to put points on the board, so our job was just trying to compete with them."
On his connection with Jawarski Pollock:
"I mean, he's my best receiver. He knows the game. And in order to be successful, you have to get the ball to the man who knows how to make the plays. And that's what he does."
What makes him a special player?
"Just his knowledge of the game. His awareness. He knows where to be. He knows how to -- he's a great route runner."
On the defense's surge late in the first half:
"I guess we just put our hardhats on, and tried to get to work. Because we didn't want anybody in our end zone."
On what the Carolina coaches said to the team at halftime:
"They just made a few minor adjustments. We were just getting fired up, ready to come out and play."
On the defense's state of mind after State's quick strike to open the second half:
"Well, it was a missed assignment. That's about it. We were in it the whole time. We just came up a little short. We're just going to have to make more plays, on defense and on third downs. I think that's a big part of it--making plays on third down."
On playing more reps:
"It felt real good, playing more in a big rival game."
On the improvements he needs to make:
"I just want to make more plays. That's it. And see us come together more as a defense and as a team."