Skip to main content

Postgame Quotes: No. 17 Utah vs. No. 10 Oregon

Dec 4, 2021
Pac-12 logo

Postgame Quotes
2021 Pac-12 Championship Game presented by 76
No. 17 Utah 38, No. 10 Oregon 10
Las Vegas, Nev. (Allegiant Stadium)
Fri., Dec. 3, 2021
Kick: 5:15 p.m. PT | End: 8:31 p.m.
Attendance: 56,511

Head Coach Kyle Whittingham
Opening Statement
"Very proud of our guys for putting the punctuation on the last Pac-12 game of the year. [It's] very difficult to beat a team twice, especially a team the caliber of Oregon. They're a heck of a group; they've got a ton of talent. For our guys to be able to do that 13 days ago and then turn around and do it again, that lets you know how tough those guys are, how determined, and the high character level these guys have. It's been a pleasure to coach them all year long. What we've been through this year – it's been the most difficult year of my coaching career in many respects. Our guys and our leadership – we couldn't have done it without those guys. The leaders and the seniors and the upperclassmen did such a great job all season long of persevering. Our mantra after the tragedy was, 'We're not going to get over it, but we'll get through it.' I believe our guys really did that and, like I said, couldn't be prouder of them. I haven't seen the final numbers, but I know our defense was suffocating up until they got a few yards in the fourth quarter. I think they only had 150 yards through three [quarters], if I read the board correctly. Cam Rising – what a story that kid has been this year. He was the second-string quarterback the first three games and just persevered, prepared like he was the starter, had a great attitude. When he got his shot, he made the most of it and the rest is history. It's a history-making football at Utah; we've never won the Pac-12, so I'm proud of them for that. In the convincing fashion that they did it, if you had told me that after three games that we'd be here right now, I would have said you were crazy. These guys buckled down and we went 9-1 the rest of the way after those first three. Couldn't be prouder. Just a year that's filled with so many ups and downs. Ty and Aaron – we love those two young men. They were with us tonight; I'm positive of that, that they were here."
On Devin Lloyd's impact on the team …
"His impact and value cannot be overstated. He is such a leader, such a pure talent. He could have come out last year and been a first or second round draft choice. I think he's probably played his way into the top 10 or 12 in the first round. That's what I'm hearing. He came back and he was a man on a mission. He came back and he wanted to win a championship and he wanted to be an All-American. He had these goals. He sat down and told me all of his goals when we had the meeting about a year ago. 'I'm coming back and here's why and here's what I want to accomplish'. He's checked every box so far."
On difference between this team and others that have advanced to the Pac-12 FCG
"They handled adversity all season long; the resiliency that they've shown all season long has been incredible. A handful of our guys were with us for those two previous championship games, '18 and '19. Devin and [Britain Covey] and maybe another 10 or 12 guys. They were not to be denied this time around. They had a big influence on the rest of the football team. The practices all season long were outstanding, especially when we started to get some momentum. This team was governed from within and I can't say enough good things about the leadership and the coaching staff. I think we have one of the best assistant coaching staffs in the country. Morgan Scalley, Andy Ludwig did a great job playing off of their games from 13 days ago and adding some little, subtle changes and some tweaks and some modifications that really complemented what we did 13 days ago. It was great to see that gameplan come to fruition. Of course, it's the players who execute it. Couldn't be prouder of our staff and that's not only the coordinators, but all the position coaches all the way through."
On being able to beat Oregon again …
"We had the same mentality and mindset and focus and look in their eye that they had two weeks ago. I think in either of those games, I don't think it would have mattered who we were playing. These guys were absolutely locked in and on a mission. They were not going to be denied. As talented and as good a football team as Oregon is – they beat Ohio State at Ohio State, they were third in the nation at one time. They're a talented crew. I don't know how you can say it, but they were very determined, very motivated."
Junior Linebacker Devin Lloyd
What are you feeling right now?
"It's really surreal right now. It's slowly coming to me. I'm just so excited and filled with joy and excitement for everyone on the team who's sacrificed these last nine months just giving everything they have. This is the outcome of that and I couldn't be any more proud of my team."
On what it means to win this for Ty Jordan and Aaron Lowe…
"It's as satisfying as it gets, just to know that we did honor them the right way. Up to this point we did everything we can, for them. It's as satisfying as it gets."
On whether what this team has been through prepared them for the adversity they faced tonight…
"I definitely believe it did. It built a lot of toughness in us and resiliency. But at the same time, I also believe that [Aaron and Ty] were there, guiding us throughout the whole season, and that they were able to help us create things that I don't think we ever would've done without them. Them being there with us throughout the season just helped us tremendously. But also, the resiliency of everyone on the team to endure something like that and still find a way to fight back and get to this point is just incredible."
On the pick-six…
"I think [Brown] was feeling a little bit of pressure and so he just tried to squeeze it in there. But I was feeling the route in front of me the whole time and I just jumped it. It was an incredible feeling just to help my team and give them a boost of momentum. I think we scored right after that, or not too long after that. Just to give my team a boost and help them, especially early on, is definitely an incredible feeling."
On not being shaken by facing an opponent twice in a season…
"I believe the majority of this team has been through an experience like that. A lot of these guys were there in 2019. We knew what the atmosphere was going to be like. Having a lot of Utah fans helped as well. Something we preached all week was that we can't let the game get bigger than what it is. Because it is still a football game. As much as everything's on the line, it's still a football game. I think everyone just did a great job of handling that and understanding that as long as we played like we've been playing all season, we'll be successful."
On the amount of Utah fans in attendance…
"I think we have the best fans in the nation. I just love the way they travel. Even at home they've been showing up all year. It was no surprise to me when they all showed up. They were loud the whole game, and there the whole game."
Sophomore Quarterback Cameron Rising
On what it means to win this for Ty Jordan and Aaron Lowe…
"Right with what Devin said. It etches their name[s] in history too. That's really what we talked about doing all year, and really wanted to get done…I'm grateful for this team."
On getting past some of the turnovers and keeping the offense flowing…
"We always talk about having a one play at a time type mentality, and really just focus on that. Things aren't always going to go your way over the course of a game. You just have to stay with it and keep believing. That's what the heart of this team is. We always believe we can do it, no matter the circumstances. That's why we're so successful.
"We just try to go out every chance we get, and make sure that we're taking advantage of whatever situation we're facing. The last play doesn't matter, whether it was a touchdown, a pick, we've just got to go onto the next."
On the amount of Utah fans in attendance…
"I was expecting that. I knew the Utes were going to travel, and they were going to do a great job getting down here and making sure they were there at the start. We were out there about two hours before, and we were already seeing a bunch of red out there in the crowd with some little speckles of green. But we definitely had a sea of red out there, and that definitely was in our favor."

Junior Defensive End Mika Tafua
On the 2019 championship setback to Oregon, then beating the Ducks twice this season…
"It's nice to be on the other side of it, you know? [And] have the confetti fall on us. It really hasn't kicked in yet. But it's fun celebrating with all the guys. Definitely well-deserved for everyone. Everyone worked hard, everyone prepared. I think this is a great storybook ending to a great season."
On whether the 2018 and 2019 championship games give this one a greater sense of satisfaction…
"For sure. In our players' meeting the night before the game, I got up and told everyone that that feeling's not something that you want to feel. But I believe that we can do it. And everyone just needs to believe. I feel that everyone bought in, everyone believed, and we saw the result of that tonight. Everyone was playing together. When the offense was slacking, the defense picked up. When the defense was slacking, the offense picked up. I feel like we played great team football."
On holding Oregon under 100 rushing yards in both meetings…
"I thought of this motto: if we stop the run, then we can have fun. We can start pass rushing, getting to the quarterback. But we're not going to be able to do that if we can't stop the run. Everybody just bought in, assignment-sound football. Nobody's perfect, but for the most part everyone was executing. That's all a good run defense is, is execution. I feel like we did that."
On what it means to win this for Ty Jordan and Aaron Lowe…
"Those are our brothers. We had a lot of motivation going into the season. But losing Aaron in the middle of the season, that was tough. Especially someone that was around us, who was really close to Ty. For something tragic like that to happen definitely motivated everyone. Like we say, 22% better every day. This was for them. This really was for Aaron Lowe and Ty Jordan so that we could etch their name[s] in history. If we didn't win tonight, it would've just been a cool story. But now, when they look at the 2021 Pac-12 Champions, they'll always remember 22, and Aaron Lowe and Ty Jordan."
On the fan turnout…
"It's almost like we were at Rice-Eccles. I feel like we would've had more if they sold more tickets to the Utah fans. You could tell the difference between our third downs and their third downs. That helps the defense a lot, the crowd noise. It was definitely an advantage for us to have lots of fans there. I'm glad we were able to give them something to remember, a good show."