Dec. 3, 2011
2011 CONFERENCE USA FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
Houston Head Coach Kevin Sumlin
Opening Statement: "It was a very tough locker room after the game. In general I told our guys to take a look around and congratulate and appreciate the senior class, who played their last game in Robertson Stadium. The seniors have set a bar that hasn't been reached and also passed milestones that have never been passed here at UH. The challenge to the younger guys is to appreciate this year, but use it as motivation in the off-season. We are guaranteed one more game, and look at it as a way to further develop the younger players. We are forever indebted to the seniors for this season. We didn't finish they way we wanted but there were still a lot of positives."
On how the whole complexion of the game changed: "We were a little off early but we've been like that before and have survived. For the most part we've been consistent all year but we had some missed opportunities. When we were down a touchdown at halftime, we still had an opportunity. Southern Miss was well prepared and did an excellent job."
On the pressure Southern Miss put on them: "We've seen pressure like this before. We've had a couple of teams (pressure us) but we've been able to 'weather the storm' When the score is close, it becomes a different game, but when you go down a couple of touchdowns then it becomes a factor. We didn't play very well at the beginning and our defense was keeping us in the game, but once the score separation got bigger it became a one dimensional game and that played into their hands."
On the defense not being able to stop Southern Miss: "The story is that the last five to six week, we haven't given up the big play. Some of the decisions that were made were based on how our defense played. We held up pretty well in the first half but we did give up some uncharacteristic plays."
Quarterback Case Keenum
On emotions after the game: "It was very devastating. I've been in this position twice now and it's not fun, and I told that to the younger guys. You've got to give credit to Southern Miss. They came in here to a hostile environment; that's as hostile as I've ever seen Robertson Stadium. Our fans did an incredible job. For them to come out and play in that kind of environment, you've got to hand it to them. They came to play. They're a heck of a football team, and they just beat us today."
On the Houston offense having trouble finding rhythm: "We obviously weren't as successful as we normally are. When a defense is able to stop the run on key plays like they did, that takes an offense out of their game. We had a good game plan we just didn't execute when we needed to."
On the wind as a factor on the offense: "For us offensively, I don't think it effected us a lot. It may have effected us a little bit. I grew up where that would be (considered) a light breeze so I would like to think that it didn't effect me."
On problems with the Houston offense: "They did a good job. They had a good scheme. We had a few things here and there but we've been able to correct those in the past. We just weren't able to do that today when we needed to. It all comes down to certain big plays that even though they may not seem like big plays they are game changers."
Wide Receiver Justin Johnson:
On the wind as a factor on the offense: "Like Case (Keenum) said, probably a little bit but we're not here to make excuses about the wind or anything else. Southern Miss came out and made plays today and unfortunately we didn't. All the records and everything during the season comes down to one game."
On emotions after the game: "It's a disappointment but we've got one more game to play. We don't know where that's going to be, but we're going to regroup and move forward. There is a bright future here at the University of Houston, and the young guys are ready for that."
On problems with the Houston offense: "The game of football comes down to inches. We missed a couple that could have changed the momentum, but we're not up here to make excuses. They had an excellent game plan and they executed. It was very frustrating to not be able to put plays together as an offense because that's what we do. We make plays. We definitely didn't help ourselves out there at times with some untimely drops."
Linebacker Marcus McGraw
On the Southern Miss offense in the second half: "They have some great running backs. It was a hard time when we got caught in the wrong defense on third down or a play like that. That was just a good play call on their part. For the most part we missed out on a lot of opportunities when it came to the running game."
On emotions after the game: "We had a great season. We didn't finish the way we wanted to, but when you look at all we've done we've had a great season. We set the bar high for the younger guys and for people coming into this program. It's disappointing but there's always an upside to it."