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October 8, 2016

Frank Wilson

San Antonio, Texas

UTSA - 55, Southern Miss - 32

Q. Coach, congratulations on a huge upset win. How did you pull it off today?
COACH WILSON: I attribute it to our staff. I felt like offensively, defensively, special teams, the game plan was on point. I thought we did a great job of inspiring our players to be prepared for the task at hand, and hat's off, man. I could not be more proud of our staff nor the players for their efforts, but more importantly the preparation that they put in for us to have a victory today.

Q. Coach, what was entering your mind, 139 yards rushing would stop (inaudible)? Which one?
COACH WILSON: Yeah, I think it's a combination. I think you've got to have all of that for a victory. Certainly we had a very game opponent today. You're talking about the leader of our conference, a team that was 4-1, and has beaten several SEC opponents over the years and especially this year.

After being down by 25, there was never a dull moment where we were content, so we wanted to make sure we finished. It was our theme throughout our last two weeks of preparation for this opponent. I thought we did a good job of finishing. I can't say one was greater than the other. I thought we needed those big plays in the rushing game, and I thought we needed those stops. Without both of them in combination, we may fall second. So we're very fortunate that both were able to happen for us today.

Q. Before this game you guys were going on three-game (inaudible). But, however, this whole week it seemed that you and almost everybody on the staff seemed very optimistic. What was the thing that was making you guys feel so confident?
COACH WILSON: Well, we didn't have a choice. You know, when you've been knocked down, you have one or two things to do. You can fold or you can scratch your way and fight your way out of it. And we were determined to fight our way out of this thing. We have a long season still before us, where we're not in the business of lying down for anybody. And early on, when I visited with you guys as early as last Monday in the roundtable, I said to you: This team is going to require our best. They'll get our best. And I thought they got the very best that we had today and our preparation and the way that the guys played today.

Q. I wonder if you can speak to the importance of that fast start, you had 77 yards -- 71 yards, I guess, on the first four plays in scrimmage?
COACH WILSON: Yeah, I was a little shocked by that (laughing). You know, you look at the cumulative at the back end of the game, we had less than 50 plays and I think they may have had 80. So we didn't have a lot of plays, but we're very fortunate that we had big plays. So we knew they were a defense that was very good, and their whole principle was to create confusion with movement and exotic-type stunts and slants and all of those things. And they got home sometimes against us, and they've been getting home against teams a lot this year. We thought that if we could catch them a time or two, we could maybe get a big play in.

So we were very fortunate in our preparation for our coordinators, our assistant coaches and the players alike, that when we saw those things, we were able to take advantage of them.

Q. Coach, you talked about this week finishing and playing a complete 60-minute game. You didn't let them at the end of the first half, and they were hard-charging at the end of the second half. How refreshing or how good does that make you feel that this team finally put together a complete game?
COACH WILSON: Yeah, you know what, I sat before you guys through other opportunities, starting with Arizona State and then the next two weeks to follow, and both at halftime in the back end of the game said to you: We're not there yet. We haven't found a way to finish. We have some growing up to do; that we're a constant work in progress, and we needed to know how to do those things better.

And I thought our theme this week was consistent in finishing, and we called it 60 minutes of hell that we're going to finish this game. So when we got in positions at halftime when they scored with three minutes, it was important for us to try to answer. So to go back down and get a field goal out of the deal at halftime was big.

Then when we were backed up in our own end zone at the back end of the game, when the charge started yet again, Jarveon breaks a 90-plus-something-yard run. Those things were gratifying because we're conscientious of those things that were dilemmas for us throughout the first portion of the season. So to rectify that was certainly good, and I couldn't be more proud of us.

Q. (Inaudible)?
COACH WILSON: Yeah, communication. When people try to disguise things, don't keep it to yourself. Recognize it, and tell the guy next to you what we're doing here. So I thought we communicated much more effectively. So the mental aspect of the game wasn't necessarily where games in the past where guys were just bullying us. Guys would come free. Defenders would come free because of our lack of communication.

We rectified that. We communicated much better. We slowed it down in practice, and we gave them examples of the things that they should expect. And I thought we did a very good job of pointing those things out, communicating so we were able to be on the right people when it was time to (inaudible).

Q. A follow-up to that, Jalen Rhodes, I mean, that's the great run, and his performance, Jalen Rhodes'. Also, if I may just follow up, every coach needs a signature victory. And I know this is early in your tenure, but I guess that would qualify as a signature victory for you, wouldn't it?
COACH WILSON: I'll take it. I mean, it's signature because it's our first conference win. It's signature because it came at a time when we were on a three-game skid that we needed something positive to happen for this program. Especially when you were in position to have victory and allow it to slip out of your hand. To be able to grasp on to it I think is something we can build on.

We're still not there yet. But I thought today was a huge step in the right direction of our program. I thought Jalen was fantastic. Both of those backs had over 120 yards and I thought he ran with determination. I thought he ran with patience. So if he can continue to do those things, and Jarveon, I think we'll be able to rush the ball well. I thought they both played with a chip on their shoulder today.

Q. I wonder if you could speak to the play of the offensive line as far as protecting Dalton. Leading the league in sacks, just the way that they played today?
COACH WILSON: Yeah, you know what? Because of all the things we talked about, the disguise stuff that they do, the exotic blitzes that they do from the middle off the edge, move around, that requires our offensive line to communicate it very well. Then we were able to use our backs to help on the edge on the perimeter to chip off as they went out.

So I thought we did a good job of protecting Dalton for the most part. Once again, you're talking about a defense that has the sack leader, has the most tackle for yards from a defensive player, and then an overall type defense in our conference. So to be able to move the ball effectively the way we did is certainly something to be proud of.

Q. You're 1-1 in conference and everything is still ahead of you as far as essentially reaching the postseason. How big is this game for building momentum for the rest of the season?
COACH WILSON: Yeah, it's huge, but it's one game (laughing). So it gives us a step in the right direction, the preparation starts immediately on Rice, our next opponent. I think that once we can -- we'll enjoy tonight. It's a big, big victory for our team.

Once again, I couldn't be more proud of these kids. We went in the locker room, and I shared with them victory vindicated. Victory vindicated because of your hard work and your perseverance and your consistency in the things that we asked of you. And they believed. They believed. You guys pointed it out, even during the week, going against an opponent that was so game and had tremendous success, and my hat's off, Jay Hopson does a great job. That was a good football team that we beat today. But they believe in themselves. They worked extremely hard.

So for them to repeat reap the benefits of their hard work is something that I think is a positive, and it will allow them to have a positive outlook as they move forward.

Q. How much do you think it benefited you guys having somebody who coached from them last season?
COACH WILSON: Yeah, they have a new offensive coordinator, so the preparation, they have a new head coach. So the things that they're doing, he could help us from a personnel standpoint knowing who the people are, but from a schematic standpoint, they were totally different from an offensive standpoint with their offensive coordinator.

But Pete's done an outstanding job all year long. I thought he put the guys in the right place, and I thought when they were in the right place they made the plays that they were supposed to. You know, you go through a game and they'll have catches, they'll have touchdowns. But to keep them in front of us, to tackle them when we need to and not allow the big plays, which they were so accustomed to doing, I thought we did a very good job with that.

I just hugged all of them. They were all the same to me. I hugged everybody, kissed them and smiled. So he was as joyous as everyone else.

Thank you guys so much. Birds up. Go Runners.

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