Postgame Quotes vs. Colorado
Head Coach Kyle Whittingham
"I'm proud of this team. They hung in there and fought their way out of a tough spot. Went into halftime down, 14-10, and promptly gave up a touchdown right out of the gate in the second half. No way to start the second half, and certainly not the ideal way, but they never flinched. The offense got clicking and scored 28 points in the second half. Jake Bentley got hot in that second half. He was 10 of 19 in the first half and then 10 of 13 in the second half. He really picked up his play. A lot of plays being made up there by a lot of people. Britain Covey had some key catches to keep drives alive. Ty Jordan, another big rushing day. Defense played solid throughout them and gave up 14 points. We had the one issue on the punt return, which can't happen, we got to get that corrected. Field goal kicker was outstanding, another 3-3 outing, made all his PATs. But the most important thing is this team just hung in there, never flinched and just kept fighting and found a way to win. That's a good win on the road against a top 25 team. Proud of these guys.
On Jake Bentley's performance
"We're very impressed and proud of him. Andy had a pretty stern talk with him at halftime and let him know that he needed to bring more confidence and just be better overall. Jake responded. That was great to see. Jake's a competitor and he's a veteran. He's been there, he's started close to 40 games at the power five level. He's no stranger to situations and it was great to see him respond that way."
On defensive adjustments in the second half
"We were really physical throughout. Stopping the run was gonna be our solution and one of the keys and he was our rush defense versus their rush offense. They had a back that was leading the conference just coming off a 300 yard plus outing last week. We knew that if they got their usual yards on the ground it didn't bode well for us. So, the run defense is where it started. Then we did a little mixing up in the second half, more single high stuff instead of the split safety looks that we had more of in the first half. It was more effective for us. A little more man coverage in the second half as well. Those corners, we're trying to bring them all slowly. We don't want to be too high of a dose of man coverage. Typically, we're an 80%-man team. That has not been the case this year because we are bringing those guys along and allowing them to gain confidence. So, Coach Scalley, the defensive captain did a phenomenal job of putting them in situations. They responded and defensively we had three takeaways and that was huge. We were plus two in the turnover margin. We don't lose many games when we're plus two in the turnover margin."
On the momentum switch at the end of the first half
"It gave us good momentum going into halftime. That was the exact situation that we had a week before, but we didn't get down. We did great job of getting what you get and getting down to be able to call timeout and get the kick away. Whereas last week, we got to do a better job as coaches. We got it emphasized and got it executed today. That did give us momentum. It took the wind out of our sails a little bit when they responded. I think they were at the 40-yard line after second half kickoff and then one play later in the endzone. So that was a little bit of a wake-up call, but like I said, our guys just hung in there and continued to fight. That's what you want to see, the team's fight. Want to see guys that can handle adversity. Gotts handle adversity, gotta handle success. It's all the same. You got to keep playing at a high level and not let things snowball on you."
On defense exceeding his expectations from training camp
"Yes. I think we're second in the league in total defense. If you told me that we replaced nine starters and played with four, five, six freshmen and be second in the league after four games, I'd say that's pretty good job. Those young guys are responding. We're excited about their future. I can tell you that we've got a big upside looking ahead.'
On if this was the blueprint for a Utah win
"Absolutely. I would love to do that every week. That's awesome. That's not gonna happen every week. That's how we always play, have a good, great defense. We did just that today. It all starts with defending run. If you can defend the run, you turn a team one dimensional and that is a big advantage. Just proud of the way the guys executed the plan."
On Nephi Sewell
"First of all, he's got really good speed and quickness for linebacker. He was a safety before he got to us, and actually was a safety for part of last year before we made the move full time to linebacker. That defensive back quickness and change in direction and burst is really a huge asset, even as a linebacker. He did a great job in the offseason putting on 15 pounds. He was about to 210 last year we you should probably put on 15 pounds. He's 225 pounds, about six feet tall; a little undersized for a linebacker, but just quick, tough, instinctive, and he has a nose for the ball. It runs in the family, I guess. He's one of a bunch of really good football players."
On Ty Jordan in the second half
"We just started blocking better in the second half. We challenged the offensive line a little bit at halftime because we weren't getting much movement in the first half and the pass protection was a little rough. They responded and did a great job in the second half. Got some movement, tight ends were involved in as well and did a nice job blocking those long runs. So, concerted effort by everybody, but a great individual job by Ty Jordan."
On the unorthodox season
"It has been rough. It has been different and challenging, but our guys have responded as well as they possibly could have. It was tough to get the rug pulled out from under them on the 11th hour in those first two ballgames, that was a little bit disheartening. But it was the right decision to make. They responded and played their hearts out in the last four games even though we didn't win the first two. It's been a four-game season, it seems like a 14-game season. It's been a journey, but you got to be resilient, you got to be tough, you got to keep fighting. That's what they've been doing."
WR Britain Covey
On winning and setting the tone in the second half
"The coaches did a great job of making adjustments going down to what we were doing well at and what was open. It comes down to that we haven't played a full game yet. This team has always had either one half or one quarter missing. The first half wasn't on us, I think Colorado is just a good team and we came out after half and made some adjustments. We had to battle back from some adversity which was awesome and finally play our first 60 minute game in my opinion"
On kick and punt returns
"It's critical. I talked to Coach this week about giving me more freedom on taking kick returns along with punt returns. They're much different because the momentum is usually with the team kicking off because they scored or whatever it is. If you can then switch the momentum back off of a good kick return, that is huge for the offense. They're two different things and I'm excited to get more opportunities on kick returns and I really think I can bust one open."
On Jake Bentley
"I think it comes down to playing a full 60 minutes. When Jake is confident, he is amazing and plays so tough. I mean look at those scrambles, you have no idea what that does for the rest of the team. He looks like Hercules out there breaking four tackles on a scramble and it pumps us all up. It makes us want to go to war with him. We have full confidence in Jake and I'm excited to see what we have left this year (one game). We trust Jake with this offense, I mean we voted him a Captain that's all you need to know about him."
LB Nephi Sewell
On the ball being thrown his direction
"Yeah, I see a lot of stuff on film and Coach's help. We obviously put a lot of emphasis on this week because over the last few games, they've seen us bite on the run a lot and then Coach told us to dial in our eyes and then I saw high hats so it just happens."
On CU's fumble at the end of the first half
"We definitely had momentum going into the half. Our offense had been struggling at the moment and then we went down with that firefighter mentality that Coach Kelly preaches and whenever there is fire, we're the firefighters we have to put it out and as a defense we did a good job of that. It just so happened we forced that fumble and our kicker was able to get those 3 points at the end of the half."
On the defensive performance
"It's definitely a milestone for us, but I feel like we can be so much better than we are. We've only played four games and we are just now scratching the surface. There are only limits if you put yourself into them and we can be a better defense, go from good to great."
QB Jake Bentley
On the halftime adjustments
"We made the schematic adjustments we need to make. Credit to Coach Ludwig and the other coaches. They really saw what Colorado was doing on defense and put us in the best situation to be successful. For me, it was having a so-what, now-what mentality. So-what, we scored, we stalled out, I missed a third down completion to [Britain Covey] and there's some things we have to figure out. Now-what do we have to do to be successful. It's awesome to see these guys' faces light up with excitement when we're moving the ball."
On his confidence in the offense
I'm more confident, yeah. I think when you look at the game, there is still a lot I have to clean up. That through to [Britain Covey], that throw to [Dalton Kincaid], the drive before half when I missed [Britain Covey] on a crosser. There are so many things for me to clean up and not to be negative about the game, I'm glad we won, but I know we can be even better as an offense and continue to improve. It sucks we have one game left, but I'm excited to go out and execute with those guys."
On the defensive performance
"That's what the outside people were thinking about our defense. Internally, we knew how good they could be. We have some of the best coaches in the nation and we knew our special defense could be. The team's confidence and energy they brought to the offense and then for the offense to go out and score on our first drive of the 2nd half. We were feeding off each other and that was just huge."