The head coach of the Bulldogs talks about the comeback victory against Rice and the upcoming home game against Nevada.
Oct. 9, 2000
On the Rice game
"It was sort of like it was going to be. It was a very tough game. And I think Rice probably played their best game of the year against us...I give a lot of credit to Rice. I think they worked very, very hard in that football game."
"Our football team showed a great deal of character. It could have very easily been one of those games we've had in the past...when we don't finish the game and haven't made the plays. In this game, we did."
"We were very fortunate that we saved our last time out for third down. I couldn't believe they ran the clock down the way they did. It gave us a chance to call time out and give us some time left."
"The last four minutes of the game, we executed really well when we had to. I was really pleased with getting that win on the road. We've got two more in Texas. It just happens where our road games are the top teams in the league. All the undefeated teams are our road games. We still have a lot of work to do. Reading about what the other people are saying, UTEP, TCU and San Jose State are feeling good about themselves. And that's good for the conference."
On the WAC
"The Western Athletic Conference this year might be as good as its been since I've been here. As far as UTEP, TCU and San Jose State - they're all better. We've got three teams with good records. If you look at the losses by UTEP, it's Texas A&M and Oklahoma, two pretty good teams. TCU has a win over Northwestern. San Jose State has a win over Stanford, and their losses were to USC and Nebraska. Our losses came to the fifth and 15th teams in the nation. I think we've got four really good teams in our conference. It's going to be an interesting season. I don't think the conference is down. I think the upper half of the conference is very, very good...We've got four legitimate teams at the top."
On playing at home
"We've played one game in two months in Fresno. We started practice on August 7th, and this will be our second game at home. So it's been a long, long time since we've been at home. I'd really like to see if we can fill the stadium to come watch Fresno State play. I think that's a really important theme this week...We had our largest crowd in the history of the stadium when we played Cal, and I know a lot of people came to watch that game. Now, we'd really like to see them come support us and watch the home team play. If we're going to take this thing to another level, it's going to take this community, with the attendance and the atmosphere at Fresno State, that's going to help us do it."
"Coach Tormey is going a good job there. They are playing with a lot of young players. They remind me a lot of our first team here. They are doing it with freshmen. They are 1-5, but if you watch them on film, they play very hard...He's going to have a good program. They are going to be good. We know we are going to have a good game with them. We're looking forward to it. Playing at home makes all the difference in the world. We need a win here. We just need to take them one at a time."
On Asparuhov's game-winning field goal from 42 yards
"I told him after he missed his second one from 35 [yards]...he was coming off and his head was down. I grabbed him and told him to get his head up, because he was going to have to win the game for us. I knew we weren't going to go for an extra point [down by eight]. I knew we were going to go for two, so if we went for two, it was going to take a field goal to win it."
"I had a lot of confidence the kid could hit them. He pulled two. Both of those were on the left hash. This one was on the right hash. The two he misses were on the left hash. I think he did a good job with it. He's been pulling the ball a little. It was close, but he nailed it at 42 yards."
On what he was thinking about before the kick
"I was thinking about overtime at the time. I was thinking about what we'd have to do, because slowing them down was tough. I knew we could score against them. I was thinking in my mind, `If he doesn't make it, what are we going to do?' I'd already talked to John [Baxter, associate head coach] about what side we wanted. We wanted the wind at our back."
On how he felt after the game
"I was tired. That game was a hard football game. I was really drained. That was a very tough football game from start to finish as far as preparation and the game. I wasn't worried about the kick at the time. I knew if he made it, we win. I knew if he didn't make it, we still had a chance to win. The tough one was the 2-point play. We had to have that."
On the injury situation
"I think this will be the healthiest we've been all year going into a game. Derrick was with us last night [in practice]. Hopefully, he'll be ready to go. Josh [Levi] is a little hobbled with his ankle. Jason Stewart is, too. But we should be ready to go."