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September 16, 2016

Frank Wilson

San Antonio, Texas

Arizona State - 32, UTSA - 28

Q. Coach, can you just talk about the mood in the locker room after a heartbreaking loss like that?
FRANK WILSON: Heartbreaking, disappointed. Pointed out to the guys that we're not quite there yet. We're making leaps and bounds by the day. Great teams know how to finish. We're a work in progress. We're not a great team yet, but certainly we're heading in the right direction.

And that was certainly a quality opponent we've played today. One of the leaders in Pac-12, one of the leading scorers in NCAA and I thought we did a good job of defending them and playing competitively. But we're not into moral victories by finishing second. So we're disappointed because we had opportunities where we could have won.

Q. That fourth quarter offensively, was it something they were doing? Were you guys, a combination of the two? What happened there? Seemed like you guys got stagnant there in the fourth quarter?
FRANK WILSON: Yeah, they played well. They made it difficult for us to throw the ball at times, so we wanted to put ourselves in position to run the ball and have some balance. We finished the game with a 30 and 37 pass-run ratio, and we needed to do those things to allow our defense opportunities to have relief and not be on the field and play 90-plus plays a game.

So we ran the ball at times and we threw the ball underneath at times to try to pick up first downs and to keep the clock running to put ourselves in position to win the football game. So strategically, we did the things that we thought were necessary to try to win the game.

Q. Could you talk about your defense with that star running back comes into your house and you guys did a terrific job of keeping him in check?
FRANK WILSON: Yeah, we game planned and one of our keys to victory was to tackle well. He was outstanding a week ago. NCAA eight rushing touchdowns which tied the record and it was a very quality back as well as a 1200-yard back that they returned from a year ago.

So I thought our defense did some things differently from a front standpoint that made them have to try to create double teams and free up our linebackers. And we were in position. We made tackles when we were able to.

Q. I wonder if you could describe the effort that Dalton gave to you guys tonight?
FRANK WILSON: Yeah, I thought he was outstanding. He played with grit, played with heart like all of our guys. They scratch and crawled and tried to claim victory. So it was a valiant effort.

We love Dalton and the way that he played the game. His approach to it is the way you play this game of football. So at times we didn't protect him and he was able to extend plays and do things necessary to give us opportunities.

Q. Are you concerned with your offensive line?
FRANK WILSON: Am I concerned with our offensive line? I'm concerned with our team as a whole when we don't win the football game and there's things as a team standpoint that we need to rectify. As a whole, we'll get better. We'll continue to do the things necessary. We understand where we're at and where we need to fill those voids at.

So when you're in certain down and distances and there's blitz packages and twists and games and things that go on, certainly you have to have the ability to pick it up. But also you have to have the ability for the receivers to be in the right spot with the fights and adjustments, and the quarterback has to throw the hot when those guys are displaced and they're blitzing at that time.

So sometimes it looks like an offensive line deal and the receiver may not have been there or the quarterback may have held it, or at times they did not pick up blitz. So it's a combination of things.

When you look at pressures or blitz, so many times it's directly at the offensive line, but there's enough blame for all of us to go around.

Q. Coach, you said there are no moral victories. But a game like this where you guys went toe to toe and disappointing end, what can you learn from a game like this moving forward?
FRANK WILSON: That we're capable. That we're capable of competing with any opponent that's on our schedule. The interesting thing prior to the game, here's what we said to the team. I want to congratulate you because you're going to play well, and we'll have an opportunity to win this football game. You're coming into our home. You're coming to the Alamo Dome and we're going to protect it. And at the end of the day, if our best isn't good enough, we'll live with that.

I thought at times we played really well, but at times we sputtered. And I think if we would have played our very best, we would have had opportunities to win the game, and that's a quality opponent you're looking at from the Pac-12 in Arizona State. A well-coached team that will compete for their conference championship, I believe.

So certainly there are some silver linings in it that you're proud of. The effort, the determination, the belief, the preparation, all of those things we applaud our guys for doing. In reality, we had opportunities where we could have won the game today, so that's the disappointing thing.

If we had no opportunity and we were not in the game and could not, then that would have been there. But I thought we had opportunities to play against a quality opponent and we had our shots. We led throughout the duration of the game until the back end, and that's okay. Even at the back end, find a way to win the football game, and we're not quite there yet.

Q. About your defensive effort, it seemed like they had some great plays much of the game, with Ballage and all those guys. What specifically were they doing so well as they played for most of the game pretty well?
FRANK WILSON: Our defense, supporting the run. You know, gang tackling, rallying to the football. One guy holding up, the other guy over there to assist, pursuing to the football. We knew they would try to run the ball. We knew they would take shots.

When you put that many men in the box at times, you know, you put your corners at risk at times because you've made a commitment to a team that one of the leaders in the nation in rushing the football to stop them. So our corners held up for the most part. They took a couple shots, they cost them balls. That's football, man. That's going to happen.

Just allow us, when they catch it, tackle them. If they catch it, we'll come back the next time. And the percentage of them -- the percentage of the times that they'll make that throw down the field was not in their favor or generally not in anyone's favor.

So we took our chances and played aggressive to stop the run, and I think it paid dividends for us.

Q. What did you think of the fan support today? The crowd seemed like they were really into this game. Can you talk about that?
FRANK WILSON: I'm so proud of our student body. You know, they came out and they supported, 30,000 fans, I believe, reported 29-something. We needed them, and they were an inspiration to us throughout the duration of the game. If we can continue to have that support from this community, from our student body, from the San Antonio area and the Roadrunner family, we'll be all right because they certainly are the 12th Man for us.

When we try to have a third down stop, and you're playing a team that's no-huddle and they have communication problems, we attribute that to our fan base because they were loud, they were rowdy, and they played a significant role in today's game.

Q. How do you feel about your team going into conference starting next week?
FRANK WILSON: Yeah, conference starts next week. You know, this one's tough. I wish I could tell you we played a game today against a quality opponent and we should be happy. The truth is, we're not. We're happy for their effort. We're happy for their preparation, but it hurts. It hurts because I wanted it for them. I wanted them to have an opportunity on this stage to be able to get a victory. Unfortunately, we did not.

But we'll get there. We'll get there. I think we play in a very great conference in Conference USA. I think this team will be able to compete with every team in our conference. We'll lick our wounds and deal with this one tomorrow and move forward and start preparing for Old Dominion on Sunday.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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