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    Nov. 28, 2009

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    HOUSTON HEAD COACH Kevin Sumlin
    On the team:

    “We worry about what we can control. Our team has played really well over the last couple weeks, and we needed that. You have to keep getting better, especially when you’re involved in a championship type run. We’re on the right track with how well we’re playing and how many guys we’re playing.”

    On Senior Night:
    “I felt we were ready to play. I liked our energy pre-game. It’s a very emotional game, all Senior Nights are. A lot of these seniors are role players, not starters. As a staff, I can’t say enough for how much appreciation we have for those guys. Any coaching change is hard, particularly on the older players. Those guys have to make a decision to stick around. Every good team I’ve been around has had senior leadership. Those guys who aren’t starting anymore have accepted their role on special teams and put aside their personal feelings to win. That says a lot about this senior class.”

    On the opening kick return:
    “The kickoff return was big. Like I said, we were ready to go from the beginning. That jumpstarted us.”

    On the fans:
    “I can’t thank our fans enough. Our atmosphere was terrific tonight. It’s really fun to coach in that atmosphere, and it’s definitely a home field advantage. Our players really fed off that tonight. I can’t say enough about the whole atmosphere tonight.”

    On the Bayou Bucket:

    “That’s all we talked about this week. It was something we didn’t have because we lost it last year. Everyone knew what was at stake here tonight from a big-picture standpoint. The more you can reduce things to feelings about rivalry games, the more I think it helps the guys focus a little better. Our guys came out today and showed how important this game is to them.”

    On winning the West Division:

    “This was one of our primary goals – to win the West. We haven’t been perfect but we’ve gotten better and have gone through quite a bit but our guys keep fighting. They have put our team in a position to win a championship. As a coach and program, that’s where you want to be. The only way to do that is to win games. These guys have fought to do that, and that’s where we’re at right now but the season isn’t over yet.”


    HOUSTON JUNIOR QUARTERBACK Case Keenum
    On the game:

    “We got some big breaks there. When you score a touchdown in all three phases, it says a lot about how you’re playing as a team. We played really well as a team tonight. I can’t say enough about the fans that we had come out tonight. It was incredible. I appreciate that. It was a fun atmosphere. It was fun to play a rivalry game like that. We got everybody in Houston, so it was definitely fun.”


    HOUSTON SOPHOMORE WIDE-RECEIVER Tyron Carrier

    On the game:
    “We had that bitter taste in our mouth all year, so it was really important to come out and start early. We set the tone at the beginning for the rest of the game.”

    On going to the championship game:
    “It feels great. That’s been something we’ve been wanting. It’s a place where we want to be at the end of the year.”


    HOUSTON SENIOR CORNERBACK Brandon Brinkley
    On the win:

    “It was great for me because everyone got to play, go out and have fun. We had a couple of losses, but you can’t worry about ‘what if.’ I came in when we were 6-6, and we were just hoping to go to a bowl game. Now it’s totally different. We want to win championships and big bowl games. I’m glad for that. “


    HOUSTON JUNIOR CORNERBACK Jamal Robinson
    On East Carolina beating Southern Miss:

    “We didn’t even see the score until the game. I didn’t go into the game planning to lose to Rice, so you just go in there to win.”

    On the end of the season:
    “To come out and perform the way we did the last two weeks was a really big thing for us.”


    RICE HEAD COACH DAVID BALIFF
    On what he could take away from this loss:

    “The hardest thing for me is that I feel like I let a bunch of seniors down. They have invested four or five years here at Rice, and you do everything you can as a man to let them go out there and win it.”

    On being down 21-0 early in the first quarter:
    “They were ready to go, and we weren’t. So much of football is attitude, and we got on our heels and never recovered.”

    On preparing for this game:

    “Some where in that week of preparation that I thought we had them, but didn’t.”  


    RICE SOPHOMORE SAFETY TRAVIS BRADSHAW
    On how much of a physical game it was:

    “It was a physical game. We thought we could go out there and compete with them and have a good game. It’s tough. It’s just disappointing.”

    On being down 21-0 early in the first quarter:
    “It’s tough, but the last two weeks we dug ourselves out of a hole, and we came back to win the game. We all had the attitude that we were going to come back and win the game, but it didn’t pan out the way we wanted it.”

    On the play of UH quarterback Case Keenum:

    “He is just a great player. He was hitting our defense really well. He was hitting the slots every time. I don’t really know what it was, but we couldn’t get him out of it. They were executing, and we weren’t.”

    On losing by such a wide margin:

    “It’s really hard to say. It was like a punch in the face. We will use this for motivation for next year.”

    On the UH running game:

    “Both of their running backs are really big and quick. I really didn’t expect them to be that tough, but they did pretty good out there.”


    RICE FRESHMAN RUNNING BACK CHARLES ROSS
    On the game plan coming in:

    “We just came with our game plan running the ball like we had the last couple of weeks to try to set up the pass. I was just trying to do what I’ve been doing in the past weeks.”

    On his performance:
    “Stats mean nothing without the win.”

    On being down 21-0 early in the first quarter:
    “We just never got a rhythm going in the first half, and they just stopped us from doing what we’ve been doing the last couple of weeks.”

    On losing by such a wide margin:
    “It’s a big shock. That’s hard to come back from. We have to come back as a team and fight. It is added pressure when you are down by so much. We tried to make plays and do too much, and that can hurt you sometimes.”                


     

     

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