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"I told the players in the locker room when the game was over with that I felt like this was an enormous test of perseverance, character and courage. The ability to handle the type of things that this team has gone through over the last three weeks kind of speaks volumes. We didn't play as well in some things tonight. I thought we lost our composure at times; there were some silly penalties that really put us in some precarious situations. The one thing that this team did do tonight is that they fought. They competed, and they played as hard as they could.
"Some of the things that obviously give you a chance to win: the time of possession, 38 minutes. Just phenomenal. The real story tonight is probably the defense. Just relentless pressure on the quarterback, not giving him time to throw, making him stay in the pocket, making him throw out of the well, making him throw off his back foot. I thought our secondary was as aggressive as they have been the entire season, trying to get up and challenge receivers and disrupt the timing.
"(Duke) had shown that they were one of the 10 best (passing) offenses in the country. When (Lewis) has time to throw and move around, and their receivers have time to find dead spots and open spots and rub people off on man coverage, they can pick you apart. I thought our defensive staff put together an outstanding game plan, and our players really executed it.
"We made some big plays defensively. Charlie Brown's interception was a huge emotional, psychological swing. It looked like something was going wrong and all of a sudden he put the fire out. It's unusual when you can overcome a blocked kick. I thought it was a real tribute to our defense that we got a blocked kick and the defense goes out and instantly holds them to a field goal.
"Offensively, what can you say about someone like Ryan Houston and what he did tonight, 37 carries and 164 yards? He was an absolute workhorse. He pounded them and pounded them. And, again, we had to overcome some adversity. We lost Shaun (Draughn) in the first quarter, Lowell Dyer wasn't able to play as the center [and] we lose Cam Holland as the other center. We had to move Alan Pelc over to center, who has never taken more than just some token snaps in practice. There were some guys that had to step up against a very good defensive football team. We're excited that we won the football game."
On holding Thad Lewis and the Duke passing offense in check:
"He had been so explosive and accurate. There's a combination of things. Against a team that relies so exclusively and heavily on the ability to throw the football, you always wanted it to stay a one-dimensional game. I thought our defense took the right approach, that we didn't allow any kind of running game to get generated to start the ballgame. You don't want to have to start cheating the box and devoting a whole lot of extra people to stopping the run. They do what they do and they believe in what they do and they continue to do it. They didn't alter much, they didn't change much of the protections. I thought our pass rush guys did an excellent job getting to the quarterback."
On playing Duke in the middle of the season:
"People asked, `What's it like not playing Duke at the end of the season?' I don't think it makes one bit of difference. If you played them week one, week six, week 12, if you played them in the summertime, it's going to be a hard-fought contest."
On Ryan Houston wearing down:
"The only thing I know is that the football is not very heavy."
On getting pressure on Lewis:
"I thought we would be able to get pressure on him only rushing four because someone was going to get the double team and it frees someone up. We work on the one-on-one all the time in practice. Whoever gets that one-on-one has to make the best of that opportunity and that's what we tried to do."
On the secondary's play:
"Our coverage was really good because they gave us time to get pressure on the quarterback. So with their coverage and our pressure things really clicked tonight."
On the offense:
"Watching Ryan (Houston) run the ball was exciting. It gave us an extra jolt. The offense was doing their thing and they were giving us time to catch our breath and keep their offense off the field. "
On Duke wearing down:
"In the fourth quarter I really felt like they were getting fatigued because I was getting a lot of arm tackles. I was running through all the tackles, and they weren't pressing me as much as they were in the first quarter."
On the touchdown drive:
"I got the ball like eight times in a row. I was hoping to get the ball every play. Every time I get the ball I try to make something happen and I put it all into every run. I was getting a little winded when we got to the end zone but I am glad we got it in."
On the rivalry:
"It was awesome. I can't remember any Duke-North Carolina game being like this. Everybody was energetic and the excitement… The crowd was into it. Both teams are [much] better that we were in previous years. But no matter what the records are or how the teams are playing, there's going to be a good battle between us."
On Houston's performance:
"It was absolutely amazing. Shaun went down on the first play of the game. That's tough. But that's awesome that Ryan can come in there He's not used to carrying the ball that much – I think it was 37 times that he carried it, which is a lot – but we had to ride him all of the way home."
On shutting down Duke's offense:
"Duke hooped and hollered and raved that they were so disciplined, so we just tried to outplay them and outsmart them and just be technique sound. Everybody played their 1-of-11 and you see the results."