UCF-USF Postgame Quotes

UCF Head Coach Scott Frost
Coach Frost Opening Statement:
"I'm proud of our team, they are [South Florida] a really good football team too. They have won a lot of games over the last two years. I was really impressed with their entire team. Quinton Flowers is a great player and he's been a great player in this league for a long time. They have got a lot of great players on the football team and they made plays. We made plays and I guess we made a few more at the end and that was the difference. But those were two fine football teams on the field tonight."

On the senior class:
"It's so rewarding for me to have those guys that had it so hard a couple of seasons ago and maybe weren't enjoying [football] as much as they should enjoy it, come up to me and tell me they love me. Those guys went through a lot and they fought to get here. I'm so happy that they got to experience this before they got out of here. It's a special group of seniors."

On the defense:
"We play great at times and other times it wasn't very good. That's what happens when you play a really good football team. They are going to make plays we are going to make plays. We had busted coverages and we have to make sure that doesn't happen. Some of the guys, they are going to break tackles and make plays too. I think both, offensively and defensively, we were as good as we've been all year at times and other times, whether it was due to the quality of their team or us making mistakes, we weren't very good. It was just enough to get it done."

On the play of McKenzie Milton:
"I have been praising Quentin [Flowers] and he deserves it. McKenzie Milton is one of the best football players in the country. He makes plays he's supposed to, he makes plays he's not supposed to make. I about wrung his neck when he pitched it over the top of somebody on that last drive, but how do you stop the kid from making those plays? He's lights out and he's not getting enough credit for what he does on the football field. In my opinion, he should be in the Heisman race. If you look at his numbers and what he's done. I'm not usually one to call attention to an individual player, because it's about the team and winning, and we have a lot of special players, but McKenzie Milton is one of the best quarterbacks in the country, bar none."

On the home crowd:
"Man the crowd was unbelievable. The crowd when we showed up to the stadium was unbelievable. The leadership at this university is unbelievable. The students have been supportive. This community is unbelievable. This place is really special, and I saw a glimpse tonight of what it can be. I go back to these players and these coaches. We started at the bottom two years ago and I knew it. I knew we could be good. I didn't think it would happen this fast, but the guys went to work and an undefeated season doesn't happen very often. So, I'm thrilled for the guys that they got to experience."

On South Florida QB Quinton Flowers:
"Quinton has a reputation for being a runner and not a thrower. He threw for 500 yards tonight, so my hat's off to the kid. We busted on some coverage, but he made some throws and the receivers made plays. If you told me, we would shut down the run game and score that many points and would struggle to win it, then I would've thought you were crazy. He made the plays he needed to and it came down to the end and like I said, our guys just found a way to get it done."

On Mike Hughes' game-winning kickoff return:
"I was on headset kind of in disbelief that we just gave up that touchdown. We had some busts in coverage today and had a huge mistake on that long touchdown at the end. I said on the headset that I hope we can get a decent return here. I was thinking if he can get it out close to midfield, then we would only need a first down or two to be in field goal range for Matt [Wright] and man he hit that thing full speed. He's been a difference maker on our football team all year, he's been a good teammate, and we're happy he's here."

On a rollercoaster type game:
"I'm going to go back and watch that tape to remember exactly what happened. There were highs and there were lows. In the first quarter when we got the ball back 21-7 about midfield and with the way we were moving the ball; I thought we were going to go put it away early. They made those adjustments on defense. We kept getting stopped and not getting first downs by a yard and by a foot, and that was frustrating. Then, they got back in the game. Then, we scored in the third quarter. Then, they scored a couple times. We threw a pick and then their ahead. I am just so proud this team kept its cool, kept its calm, and kept plugging and usually championship teams find a way to get it done and this team is a championship team."

On how the win felt:
"Yeah this one does feel a little different and I don't usually say that. They're a really good football team so that makes it different. They are from just down the road and that makes it different. We just finished off an undefeated regular season, which is damn near impossible to do. So, it does feel a little different. I didn't have a lot of words ready for the team afterwards, because I was emotional and they were emotional. You could just feel the bond in there of a group of guys that have sacrificed themselves for something bigger than individuals and those are the kind of locker rooms I want to be."

On the locker room after the win:
"I don't even remember. I know Dr. Hitt walked into the locker room and the players kind of went nuts for him. That guy has done so much for this university and for me and for this athletic department and to watch the players recognize him - that was special. On the field, it was kind of a blur. I know they dumped some cold stuff on me and everybody was coming up to me but having Dr. Hitt come in meant a lot to me."

On the rematch vs. Memphis approaching in The American Championship game:
"I will probably watch a little bit of tape tomorrow. We are kind of familiar with who they are having played them already, but I want to catch up on what's happened in the rest of season. I know they're playing well. We had a really good game with an SMU team back in Dallas and Memphis scored a lot of points on them and kind of ran them off the field. So we know that we are in for another really good football game. It's exciting to me that this group football players gets to play another game together."

On the offense:
"This offense is ranked first in the country in scoring and we gave had about three close games. All you can do is beat the teams that are on your schedule and this team has done all those things. We are not going to talk too much about where we are ranked or how dominant we are, because we have another game to play and more left to do, but I sure am amazed by what this group of guys has accomplished."

On the team's attitude:
"That's what I admire about our team. I didn't see a lot of guys tight and nervous and acting like 'oh no we might lose.' They just want to play. We sputtered on our offense. We have got to figure out a way to get a yard on third and one or fourth and one or inches, or whatever it is. I give them credit for getting those stops. In a game that tight, if you don't lose your cool, then you have a chance. Our team stayed calm and made the plays they needed to at the end."

South Florida Head Coach Charlie Strong
On Quinton Flowers
"His heart is truly broken. Quinton is just unbelievable the way he ran the ball, the way he threw the ball, he just kept getting us out of bad situations. You could tell he was going to have a good game. Just this morning when we usually do our walk. He was kind of off to himself and had a serious look on his face and he knew that tonight was going to be his night."

On the end of the game:
"It was back and forth. There at the end, it was really good just the way both teams battled. You've got to give a lot of credit to UCF, for them to pull it out. You know we had our opportunities, we had our chances, we tied it up ... and then we kick it off and they break it. Then they kick to us and we get the ball at midfield. But you know there were just so many plays and so many opportunities that were on the field for us."

On his team's performance
"Well tonight was probably the best performance we've had all season long ... we got down 21-7 and the guys never quit and kept playing.

"It's tough. I just told them that I love their effort and just how hard they battled."

UCF Freshman RB Otis Anderson
On the crowd:
"Crazy, I kind of sat back and looked at the stands and then I realized I was a freshman. This is the biggest game I played in my life. For me to make a big impact like that at the time was really amazing. I couldn't do anything but thank my teammates. That was the biggest thing for me."

About winning against South Florida:
"It is really great just being here. The way to practice is really helps get us there. Practice Monday through Friday is really the grind and what we put in is what we get out and that really showed today."

On his big play:
"It was basically a screen, the D-linemen tried to grab me and stop it. I got away from him and when I got there, there wasn't really anybody in front of me except for my receiver and the DB. I think it was Chequan [Burkett] blocking and he did a great job blocking to spring me open and get a touchdown. That's all that really mattered to me. I didn't really care who scored, but it just so happened to be me and I'm thankful for it."

On Frost possibly leaving:
"We have practice every day, so we can't really dwell on it too long. The next morning you wake up and have to be ready for whatever's coming to us. I don't really like to talk about him maybe leaving, because we're having a great season right now and I don't want any bad to come out of this, so I just keep my head forward."

On executing as the game progressed:
"A couple of team leaders like Tre'Quan [Smith] and Wyatt [Miller] stepped up and told us that we have to get it going. We really wanted this, so there really wasn't too much that had to be said. Coach Frost was calling plays and we had to go out and execute. I believe that we started to execute better as we realized what was really at hand and that we could possibly lose, so that kind of gave us an extra drive to get where we need to get."

On the helmets:
"It's crazy. I didn't really know what it was until I actually looked examined the helmet and I noticed that it was me in the end zone. And then I looked at my teammates and there was Manny [Emanuel Logan-Green] catching a pass. I kind of realized like 'Oh we've got our own decals!' They really spiced it up for this game and I think it kind of gave us an extra boost in confidence. "

On Mike Hughes' touchdown:
"When Mike caught it and he split past the first two defenders, everybody kind of caught breath. And when he cut and split past two more. There was no one left but the kicker, everybody basically knew that it was a touchdown. That's a great team. So, any moment like that, it's kind of like Christmas. Christmas came early and we were really thankful for it. "

On the vision of UCF:
"That's the reason I signed here. If I didn't believe in the vision that was told to me, then I wouldn't have came. Just knowing the coaches were genuine and they really took care of players, every player told me how it was here and that's what really made me decide to come here. So if they told me that we would've been 11-0 and we just beat USF for the East Division I think I would really believe it and I'd get ecstatic for it. "

UCF Junior Kick Returner Mike Hughes
On the kick return TD:
"We definitely needed a big play. I knew once the ball was short and I had a couple covering length, then I knew it was over. There were a lot of creases open across the field and setup the block to score. It's a really... you know...not only me, but those guys up front. They give their all or just a block from me. I give them credit by giving there all, running through the hole and that is what I did."

On winning the game:
"It is a blessing to be here. It was a long journey. The coaches got me in the right place at the right time to get on campus and get everything rolling. Ever since then, it's just been a blessing to be around this environment. These guys are very family oriented and ever since I stepped on campus they've been helping me out every step of the way."

UCF R-Senior LB Chequan Burkett
On his sack on third down:
"It was going through everybody's mind on defense that it was time for us to make a big stop or big play, because we were down. Coach [Erik] Chinander made a great call on that third down. We came out and made the stunt across the front of line. I was able to get the sack and it just pumped up everyone. The adrenaline started rushing and we knew it was out time to turn the game around."

On South Florida's performance:
"They didn't do anything we didn't expect. They have great athletes like Quenton Flowers. They have a great receiving core, running back core, and offensive line. It was just them making plays like college athletes. We were just reacting. They had a couple good plays and we had a couple good plays and it was just a great game."

On the crowd:
"It was amazing. The last time I saw a crowd like that was the South Carolina game, but tonight felt even bigger. Tt was all black and every possession I heard the crowd screaming for the defense, offense and special teams. It was a wonderful crowd and they just showed their support throughout the season. It really showed today against USF with the attendance and how loud it was - that definitely influenced us throughout the game. When you make a big play and they are screaming, that helped us out. We made more plays and the outcome of the game showed that."

On hard work:
"I knew that the hard work that we put in the previous year, and the hard work we were going to put in the following year. I knew that we can do something special with this team and with the leadership from Shaquem [Griffin] and Mckenzie [Milton], everyone bought into the program. The coaches believed in us and they trusted us and they loved us. That's a combination for success."

UCF Senior LB Shaqueem Griffin
On Mike Hughes' touchdown:
"That was wild, I mean I told him in the locker room and I couldn't even celebrate, I was stuck. When I saw him running, I don't believe that was happening. I'm looking down field. I just took my eyes off him to make sure there's no flags and it was amazing. That was a big step for us and he said he was going to get one. I was like I wonder when it was going happen, I guess it happened at the right time. "

On the game:
"I said it before we got to the game. It is going to be a game where there's going to be highs and lows and I feel that as a team and even for me, we were able to handle that well. Even when we were down, we were able to come together as a team and speak about all the mistakes that we were making and make sure that we can handle mistakes and correct them and that's what we did as a team. Defensively, I almost cried to be honest. It was emotional for me just to see with your backs against the wall we were able to fight forward. That's often when you have the offense cheering us on, you can't ask for more when you've got the whole team cheering for you no matter what. Special teams, offense or defense on the field when you've got guys cheering for you. It's more than just a team. We have guys that are really behind you every step of the way."

On playing USF:
"I mean it was a great experience. Every single play, we were talking trash to each other and making jokes. So other than having a big rivalry, we are enjoying every single play. It was a tough win for us. The guys play their butts off and when I came to the sideline I was just so tired. These guys were giving everything they got. We had to make sure we gave everything we got to and every time we went against these guys. They were talking trash to get in our heads and vice versa, but it's a fun experience. Going against these guys every single year and not know who's going to come up with the win. It's a experience that you will never forget."

On giving 110%:
"We came together to be honest. We came together on the sideline. We talked it out and said it's on us. Offense was doing everything they can. We have to make sure that we can do the same thing. We were tired. We have to make sure that we empty out the bucket. We couldn't have any regrets, because I was too tired to run and play or I wasn't feeling right and my leg was hurt. It was all or nothing. "

On giving Coach Frost a helmet:
"That was an entire team idea. When you go into a season like this and it's so many gifts you can get, but you know something like that is heartfelt. We want to make sure that we give something to Coach Frost to show our appreciation. He did a lot for us. He did a lot for me obviously, too. But you know that is like pops. So you've got to take care of pops and that's important. You can give something back to him and show our support system and know we are family here."

On the turnaround:
"I mean we learned from experience. We've been here when we were winning and we have been here when we were losing. The whole thing for us in this senior class instead of us hiding our emotion from losing. We kind of gave that to the young guys and told them our experiences and how it felt to lose and the feeling is going to stick with you when you go to class and people are talking about it. Being able to talk to the young guys about that and be able to share experiences with them and for them to buy into that is important, because they could have been like blowing us over and learn on their own. They bought it and listened. They felt the feelings from us and they tell you know what should be great for not only ourselves but the older guys, because they have been here when there were hard times and they don't want to go back and the young guys bought into it. "

UCF Sophomore QB Mckenzie Milton

On UCF's gameplan, Quinton Flowers, and Mike Hughes' kick return TD:
"You can't try and press in a game like this. You have to take what the defense gives you and stuff like that. [Quinton] is that a heck of a player. He's a God-given talent and he's been making plays like that since he's been at USF. He kept our defense on their heels all night long and thankfully Mike Hughes busted up that kickoff return at the end of the game - that was the special play. There was just a bunch of guys that stepped up big in crunch time today and I'm just very grateful."

On college football's individual awards races:
"I mean that's really not up to me in all honestly. All I can do is my job and give my team the best opportunity to win games and that's what I have been doing. I always say there's no individual success without team success. If we were 9-2 or 10-1, then that wouldn't be a possibility. I am just grateful for these guys and the way they played week in and week out. The way they come to practice and the way they attacked. I'm just grateful to be a part of this team."

On Mike Hughes Kickoff Return:
"I think my heart skipped like four beats. I thought we were going to have the chance to go down and do a two-minute rule and he just took the game out of our hands and I don't want to say I'm happy, but I'm really happy - that play was tremendous. He's been doing that all year for us, making plays on special teams and defense. He's a blessing to have on our team."

On if he would have told himself at the beginning of the season that UCF would be undefeated and ranked:
"I don't think I would have been surprised. That's the kind of stuff you dream about and you want to be that point. I'm very grateful that we are here. It is the kind of stuff you think about as a kid; playing on a top 25 team in the country, going undefeated and stuff like that. We have talked about this since the spring. We have seen the potential in our team. We have seen that we were capable of doing this, and just speaking that into existence and it coming to fruition is a beautiful thing. It's a beautiful thing what this team has done all year and I'm excited to play these last two games with these guys."

On the atmosphere at Spectrum Stadium:
"It's what you picture about college football. It's never fun when it's half empty, but that was amazing tonight. Knight Nation really came out. That was most fun I've had playing football and we're grateful to get this done for them."