Dec. 2, 2006
2006 C-USA FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Presented by Aeropostale
Houston Head Coach Art Briles
"It was a gratifying experience tonight. Our fans and our student body were unbelievable. They had a tremendous impact on the game. Our players played with such heart, effort, belief and toughness. I never had any doubt or lost faith. I felt that it was just a matter of time until we prevailed. It was a great championship game. Southern Miss played extremely good football team. They are a good team and have been a good program for many years."
On the Turning Point in the Game
"We felt bad about moving the ball down the field and not getting a score at the end of the first half. The turning point of the game was our defense holding them on that first series down deep and forcing Southern Miss to punt. That allowed us to flip the field position. The momentum turned when we came down and scored on that next possession. Our defense played their tail off. When we had to make big plays on defense, our kids made them."
On Capturing the Moment
"In the world of sports, you don't have a lot of chances to be a champion. These guys captured the moment tonight. It's something that you want to have every year. The grass doesn't grow that way all the time. Our guys deserved it. It's gratifying to me to see how our people have rallied behind this football team. They filled us up with energy and we fed off of it."
Southern Miss Head Coach Jeff Bower
On the Game:
"Congratulations to Art Briles and Houston. They did a great job. They played well and deserved to win. I know they will represent the conference well in the Liberty Bowl and we wish them the best of luck. They played well in the ball game. We moved the ball as well in the first half as we did in the second half. I think field position hurt us especially in the second half. We missed some plays, on the option there was some missed assignments and then we let a guy get a deep ball and get on top of us. They have a lot of speed and they are going to make plays on people, more plays then what we did in the ball game. Our guys played hard and I am proud of our football team for getting to this game. We certainly would have liked to have won it (the game) but I am proud of them (the Southern Miss football team) for what they have done this year. We've battled back all year long and we will look forward to playing one more game in the GMAC bowl."
"We wanted the stay on the field and I thought we did. I thought we moved the ball well in the first half and we made some big plays in the first half but we didn't in the second half. We wanted to stay on the field and win the time of possession. We did that the first half."
On the option play:
"The biggest play was the option on short yardage when we don't take the quarterback. That was the biggest play. Other than that, they made some big plays tonight but we were in the position late in the ball game when we had to make some plays and get them off the field. We were in man coverage and we just didn't cover them very well."
On field position:
"I think on their last scores they barely went over 50 yards for a touchdown. We gave them a short field and we just didn't get them off the field. I thought we played pretty well in third down defense; fourth down defense we didn't. They made some fourth down conversions on us and we didn't get them off the field."
On Houston's play in the second half:
"I just think they executed and the missed the missed assignment really hurt us on the short yardage play."
On the play of Houston wide receiver Vincent Marshall:
"A lot of those guys deserved it (MVP). They have a lot of speed and ability. He's caught a lot of ball for them. I am sure what we did probably dictates them trying to get the ball to him a little bit more."
On the play of Houston quarterback Kevin Kolb:
"I think he was MVP of the game. (Vincent) Marshall deserves if to but you should at least give them co-MVP. The guy just doesn't make many mistakes. He can get the ball to the right people. I think you can see his experience; it really showed up (tonight)."
HOUSTON PLAYER QUOTES
Houston Quarterback Kevin Kolb
Opening Statement - On His Emotions
"You try to plan for it (winning a championship) and when it happens, it's still an unbelievable feeling. Words can't describe it. It was a really pretty tough to pick up the win, but that is how it's been all season long for us. Like coach said, a lot of people doubted us and said it couldn't be done. It was done tonight and hopefully for the program it will be continued to be done on a regular basis."
On the Atmosphere
"It's been good this year, but tonight the atmosphere was overwhelming. There was no doubt about it. The thing I like most about is whenever the fans show up in big numbers we produce and play our best. It's a win-win situation. It was indescribable feeling
On the 46-Yard TD Run
"That 6.4 40-speed really paid off. Jackie (Battle) had a pretty good opening and squeezed on the ball good, which held their linebackers. The safety also bit on it, which allowed me to score. The waters parted and allowed me to take it to the house."
Houston Wide Receiver Vincent Marshall
On Hard Work
"I've been here for five years and there's a lot of hard work that we've put into it. There's a lot of us who have waited five years for this. We deserve it."
On Second-Half Performance
"When we came out in the second half, we wanted to finish it. We were just feeling things out in the first half. It's the second half that's when we take control of the game and bury our opponents."
Houston Defensive Back Ernest Miller
On the Difference on the Defense Between the Two Halves
"We made more big plays on defense especially on third down to get off the field and get the ball back for our offense. On the big plays that they made in the first half it was because we were out of position on our assignments. We also tackled better and finished tackles better."
Houston Defensive Back Will Gulley
On Winning a Championship
"It feels good to be up on this podium after five years with a championship. It's a dream come true. It feels good to live in the moment. We still have some work to do here in about three more weeks."
SOUTHERN MISS PLAYER QUOTES
Quarterback Jeremy Young
On Houston's play in the second half
"Coming out with bad field position they did some great things on defense. They have a lot of speed on defense. They come at us on defense. They had some pretty good coverage on our receivers."
On the team's feelings going into the game
"We had the same mentality that we have had all year, to come in here and win this conference championship. We were very excited to be in this position. Obviously this isn't the way we wanted to come out but we are excited to be in the position that we are in. We are going to get ready and prepare to play in the GMAC Bowl."
Linebacker Gerald McRath
On the game
"They know how to use their best players and how to get the best players the ball. Number 22 (Anthony Alridge) was lined up at wide receiver and in the backfield and (Vincent) Marshall. (They were) just trying to get the best players the ball and they did a good job of that. As far as speed, we equaled that. Defensively, across the board, like Coach (Jeff) Bower said we executed."
Running Back Damion Fletcher
On the game
"It was a great atmosphere. We didn't play well enough to get the win. I have a couple more years and a couple more chances to win it so we're just going to come out and try to win it again."