"When you play a lot of close games and you try to find a lot of ways to win ¬ Virginia Tech, South Carolina ball game then have an open week and then play poorly against Wake Forest, it would have been very easy for this football team to lose their enthusiasm -- maybe start to point fingers, start to doubt. When you go through adversity it shows an awful lot and tells an awful about the character of the team. I'm very appreciative of the effort that they put forth this week because it¹s not always easy to go out there Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and grind and be enthusiastic about it.
"Certainly the story of the day had to be defense. This is maybe the best defensive performance certainly that we've had from a standpoint of a lot of guys on defense really contributed. It certainly started with the defensive front four and all the guys that played on the defensive line. Almost every single possession somebody on the defensive line came up with a big play. Kentwan Balmer's tackle behind the line of scrimmage, an Aleric Mullins' sack, Hilee Taylor pressuring the quarterback, [and] Greg Elleby down on the goal line. That was a big, big play.
"When the other team's got the ball at your five-yard line, a four or five-yard loss is a huge play because it puts them off track and it puts them in a position where they have to settle for a field goal. I thought our secondary did a good job -- Trimane's interception [and] Deunta Williams had a chance to get an interception. We made some breaks on the ball. There were times when there were some collisions right at the throw and we had a chance to knock some balls down.
"It looked like early we had a lot of success running the ball -- I think that we had close to 70 yards rushing in the first quarter. We didn't adjust as well as they did. They started blitzing, they started slanting the line [and] they changed their defensive alignment almost every other play. We didn't do as good of a job as we needed to do picking that stuff up."
On not attempting a 53-yard field goal in the second half:
"When we kicked in pregame, Connor felt like there was probably a five to eight yard going to the open end. We felt like going in that direction it was probably a 51, 52, possibly 53-yarder if you had to have it. Going to the closed end of the stadium, it looked like it was probably 46 [or] 47 yards. We didn't get the punt we would have liked -- we were truly trying to coffin-corner, try and down it inside the 10-yard line and give them 90 yards to go."
On Maryland's last play:
"We really kind of turned those guys [defensive line] loose and allowed them the freedom to just go ahead and rush. It had more to do with the coverage aspect, we took away a lot of the short, intermediate [passes] because it was 4th-and-2 and we made them hold the ball. He looked to the sidelines, I think he thought maybe he had the receiver right on the boundary but with the pressure he put a little air under the ball and fortunately for us it went over the receiver's head."
On bouncing back from the Wake Forest loss:
That was a big win for our team, to bounce back after that hard loss last week. I think our team just came back and responded well to that loss, and just hung in there the whole game and never getting down – just keeping our heads up, finishing strong and winning the game."
On when he found out he would be starting against Maryland:
"It was just basically on how we practiced this week. On Thursday – all week I had practiced pretty good – so I found out I got the nod then."
On his success running the ball:
"The offensive line just blocked their tail off, getting me to the secondary. Basically, all I really did was run to the open space the whole game."
On if the defense played a complete game:
"It was a complete game, in my opinion. The defense can't take all of the credit for this game, because the offense held the ball for a long time and kept us off the field. Then we went out there and did what we had to do. Special teams gave us great field position, and we came out and it was just a great team effort."
On earning this victory:
"It felt very good. It felt good walking off the field. It was just a great feeling to finally to get that W that we've worked so hard for, and it's alluded us for so long. It just feels good to get it off our back and to play well and to see my team so [well]."
On what's caused this defensive turnaround:
"A lot of people are buying into what we're doing now. I feel like early on, maybe some guys wanted to do their own thing – myself included – we were making mistakes and not trusting each other… This is just a team that's going out there and putting it on the line for each other."
On rebounding from the Wake Forest loss:
"We just wanted to come out and play like we had prepared all week. We had three good days of practice this week, and we just had to come out there and put it all together."
On T.J. Yates:
"Thus far this season, he's been very good. [He's] very talented [and] he does a good job working the pocket. He's still a freshman. He's still got three years after this, still has all spring. We've developed a good rapport, and he's really stepping up as the season goes along."
On becoming a dominant wide receiver:
"I just go out there and do whatever I have to do to contribute to the team the best way possible. If they throw the ball my way – bad pass or anything like that – [I try] to come up with it. Just come up and make a big play. Big-time players make big-time plays."