Cincinnati - Pittsburgh Postgame Quotes

Nov. 6, 2011

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UC at Pittsburgh Nov. 5, 2011


CINCINNATI (7-1, 3-0 BIG EAST) 26, PITTSBURGH (4-5, 2-2 BIG EAST) 23

Pittsburgh, Pa. Heinz Field 49,362

Cincinnati Head Coach Butch Jones
Opening Statement:
"First thing, this was a great college football game. Pitt is an extremely well-coached football team with a lot of playmakers and they challenge you in all aspects scheme-wise, offense, defense and special teams. I give them a lot of credit as they are a good football team. I am very proud of our young men. I thought they showed perseverance to be able to overcome a 10-point deficit. Tony Miliano, a redshirt freshman kicker, was 4-for-4 with some difficult and challenging kicks. He really kept us in the game and I can't say enough about him. The second half we were able to generate some turnovers and we were able to keep the ball. The first half we created some adversity for ourselves with the turnover. I can't say enough about our perseverance and reliance by everyone in the football program. We made enough plays at the end of it to win it. WE just found a way. Isaiah Pead, 100 yards rushing against a very good front. I thought our offensive line did a great job and I thought Zach Collaros made some big plays, some with his legs obviously with the touchdowns. The big key was turnovers and being able to generate them and get the momentum to switch going into the second half."

On watching the field goal attempt by Pitt in the game's closing seconds:
"That ball seemed to stay in the air forever. Again, it was a great college football game. It's unfortunate that someone has to lose and I believe he had made a 50-plus yard field goal earlier in the game. It was two teams really just laying it on the line today and I think you saw that."

On improvement of defense as the game progressed:
"We started tackling and spacing. A couple times in first half and even to start the second half we did not do a good job of passing off crossing routes. They have some very talented skilled players and I thought (Pitt quarterback) Tino (Sunseri) did a great job of extending plays with legs and getting outside the pocket. They made plays and we didn't tackle exceptionally well. I thought after that first drive (of the second half) that we tackled better and we swarmed to the football. The other key was we were able to generate more pass rush on Tino which I think helped us, as well. And of course, the turnovers were huge."

On play of his special teams:
"I thought we did a good job of flipping field position. We knew they were going to bring a lot of pressure at our punt team and I thought our punt team responded extremely well. I thought the kick at end of game that Pat (O'Donnell) had was critical because again, the flip field position (and) getting it down to the 11-yard line. As I said before the kicks that Tony made were big for us."

On trailing in three games this year and clawing back:
"We talk to our players about championship character and about focus and use a term called snap and clear. You play one snap and you clear it from your mind and you move on. It's that mental conditioning and you don't ever look up at the scoreboard until the end. You just keep playing. Our team has a tremendous amount of confidence in each other and a belief that they are going to win. I thought our kids did a great job in just playing the next step. When you play hard, good things are going to happen and the ball will bounce your way."

On any talk in locker room about a Big East championship:
"Absolutely not. Since August we have talked about focusing on the task at hand. It is one game at a time and every game is a new season and there are still four games to go. As we have seen throughout this entire football season, success can be very short-lived. That's why we will enjoy this right back to Cincinnati and then all of our focus is playing an extremely talented West Virginia football team next week. Every game is a new season and that's the way we approach it."

Cincinnati Quarterback Zach Collaros
On Cincinnati's offensive strategy:
"We didn't get many first downs in the first quarter, which would have really sealed it for us and that's unfortunate. I can't say enough about how well our defense played and they really won the game for us. We had trouble getting our footing at first, because we are used to playing on turf and any time you play on grass it is a little bit different. I was frustrated at first and talking to myself in my head a little bit after the first pick but coach always says snap and clear. You really have to do that as a player and then move on to the next play plus the defense did a really great job."

Cincinnati Running Back Isaiah Pead
On the overall thoughts of the first half:
"We felt confident in the beginning and were ready to go. We came out and kicked two fields but we felt like at least one of them should have been a touchdown. We made our adjustments and were able to come out with a victory. We had trouble getting our footing at first and that is not an excuse or anything but the condition was different. We did what we could with it, but there were not a little big runs or big plays down the field. In the end we got the victory and that's all that matters right now."

On Zach Collaros fourth quarter interception:
"I did not think that was the end of it because I have all the confidence in the world in our defense. They have a saying and that is, `give me a place to stand, just some where we can play ball.' Zach through a pick later in the fourth quarter but that's what big games are for and that's what big time players are for. I feel like every person on our defense is a big time player and they rise to the occasion and haven't let us down yet."

On his kicker Tony Miliano:
"The kicker is a part of the team. We mess with him at practice whenever he misses a field goal and we celebrate it whenever he does make one. Miliano is definitely a part of this team and we don't shun him at all."

Cincinnati Placekicker Tony Miliano
On the Cincinnati's kicking game versus Pitt's:
"We had little wind tonight and it wasn't that cold so the conditions were pretty much optimal for a kicker. Kevin Harper is a really great kicker so I knew he wouldn't miss many at all. Overall it was fun being out there and it was exciting to have the game come down to field goals."

Pitt Head Coach Todd Graham
Opening Statement:
"I'd like to give Cincinnati a lot of credit. Coach and his staff do a great job. They are one of the very best coached teams we'll play this year with great discipline and great character. They are a really good football team."

On Pitt's effort:
"I'm really proud of our guys. I challenged them to play hard on every play, to play to the end of the whistle on every single play."

On the offensive line's performance:
"Lucas Nix wasn't able to play up front. But, I was really proud of the offensive line and how they played."

On playing against Cincinnati:
"Isaiah Pead is a special running back. He did a great job. Zach Collaros, their quarterback is special and did a great job. You also have to give them credit defensively, they were very good against the run."

On reacting to the loss:
"My heart goes out to those guys in the locker room because they laid it on the line. I hated for it to come down to a field goal and it shouldn't have."

On Pitt's performance in the second half:
"We made way too many mental errors. The second half, we went out and turned over the football twice and had a penalty that really hurt us."

On the decision to not kick a field goal on the second to last possession:
"It was a little far out for a field goal. We had a good play and we thought we could make it. On that one, we didn't execute the play."

On getting ready for next week:
"I'm really proud of our team and how they played. I'm proud of our seniors. It's a crazy league and it isn't over yet. We have three games left and we play a team at the top of the league this week in Louisville. We've got to regroup and our guys will do that."

Pitt Defensive End Brandon Lindsey
On the defensive performance:
"We played well at times, but all that matters is the outcome of the game, and we didn't get it done."

"We felt like we had to go win it on defense because that's just how we are. We don't depend on anyone else to get it done but ourselves. That was the mindset from the get-go."

Pitt Placekicker Kevin Harper
On whether or not there was a bad snap/hold on the final field goal attempt:
"I'll have to check the tape, but if they get it down it's my responsibility to make it."

Pitt Quarterback Tino Sunseri
On losing the momentum:
"Turnovers. I have to know where the sticks are. I was trying to make too much out of a 2-yard gain. I was just trying to do too much on that play. Fifty-four made a good play to strip that ball. That's when the momentum and the tide really started to turn on us. You can't have turnovers at your own 30, especially against an offense like Cincinnati's where they're high-powered and they can score a lot of points. I have to make sure that I play turnover free and keep the ball high and tight. We just have to keep on moving forward and learn from our mistakes."

On fourth-and-six incompletion intended for Street:
"That's a play we've been practicing a lot, a back shoulder fade. We thought we had it. I just threw it a little bit flat, a little bit short."

"We were going out there and we were trying to execute. You have to give credit to Cincinnati. They made some adjustments on us and they were able to do some things defensively. We just have to keep on sticking to the gameplan and executing the gameplan."

Pitt Safety Andrew Taglianetti
On giving up the lead:
"I think going into the second half we had them on the ropes. I just don't think we finished all the way through. It's frustrating to lose a game like that. We have the ability to make plays out there."

On the performance of the defense:
"From week to week I'm always proud of the guys on defense. Those guys on the d-line are warriors. They make it so much easier for me on the back end to play. They're getting pressure and they're getting sacks. The backers, Max, I thought he played terrific. K'Waun Williams, Jarred Holley, Antwuan Reed, they all played well, too. I'm proud of the way we go out and play every week. I just think maybe we can do a little more to get these Ws."