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October 29, 2016

Michael Egwuagu

Jalen Rhodes

Josh Stewart

San Antonio, Texas

UTSA - 31, North Texas - 17

Q. I thought you were supposed to be tired after that five-overtime game last week. Talk about the resiliency you guys showed tonight.
MICHAEL EGWUAGU: Well, for defense, I think coming out in this game, we sort of wanted to capitalize on the mistakes that we sort of made last game. We wanted to try and start fast. We tried to piggy-back off what the offense did, and it just showed with a lot of those goal-line stands and a lot of those -- there was like four down plays that they had that we capitalized on, and we just tried to come out and take advantage of the mistakes, and I think we did that today.

JALEN RHODES: From an offensive standpoint, we come into every game with the same aspects, just looking to run the ball and throw the ball when necessary and just take care of business on the field.

Q. Josh, what about the energy you guys showed? You guys played a long time, four hours and 21 minutes a week ago, and today you came out with so much energy. What was all that about? Was it just the practice routine that you had last week?
JOSH STEWART: We don't change anything. Our big thing is don't flinch, so even with the turnaround, we knew we had a game today that we had to prepare for, and I feel like we went about it the same way we did in any other week and executed our game.

Q. Last week Frank said you guys were going to put your big boy pants on after losing. Is that what wearing big boy pants are?
MICHAEL EGWUAGU: I think so, definitely. I think it's just putting your head down and working. I think that's what he means by that. It's never getting too down on yourself. After that five-overtime loss with UTEP, it's like you have to have a short memory, the entire team does, and you just have to come out, put your big boy pants on and go to work. As a man, as a young man trying to grow into a man, there's going to be situations that are adverse, you just put your head down and you work.

JOSH STEWART: Yeah, just going off of what Eg says, just something that you have to understand, and like he said, put your big boy pants on, be prepared for the next day, and just keep working hard.

JALEN RHODES: Yeah, just putting the game behind us was a big thing. You know, we can't dwell on the past or all what we could have done, what different things in the game that could have happened, just focus on next week and grow from the mistakes that we made and just continue to move on and move forward.

Q. Michael, what do you see in this team that may be different from teams in the past that you do put those things behind you pretty quickly and you move on, whether it's a win or a loss? Do you see a big difference in this football team this year?
MICHAEL EGWUAGU: I do. If I could like pinpoint what it is that's different from this year and the years previous, I would definitely say it's the chemistry. I think it starts with the helm. It starts with Coach Frank Wilson coming in and just really having us embody the whole mantra, I am my brother's keeper, and we live that. These are our brothers on and off the field, so what that does is if you have a young guy looking up to an older guy and you're trying to correct him and teach him, he's not going to take it in a negative way, he's going to listen to you. It makes the transition, it makes everything more smooth, and I think that's really what we have this year that we didn't have in years previous.

Q. Jalen, how do you feel about zero turnovers for the Roadrunners tonight? These guys made a living off creating turnovers all year long, and you guys went the whole game without giving them one. How much of a point of emphasis was that this week, and how do you feel about that?
JALEN RHODES: We make a great deal about that every week. We never want to give the ball to the opponent ever, so them coming in off of a big game having turnovers and then come over here and getting nothing is just a great feeling. We respect our opponents, and every time we line up against somebody, we know what we're going up against, so to be able to do that and just not give them the ball is a great feeling.

Q. I've got to ask each one of you guys the bowl eligibility question. You're two wins away. This was obviously a big one. How do you keep the game-by-game focus?
JALEN RHODES: Just continuing what we do every week, just prepare the team, don't change nothing, and I think that's the big thing for us. There's nothing that we have to do. Everything is within our control, and we've just got to take it day by day and don't look ahead to anything, just control what we can control.

MICHAEL EGWUAGU: I think it's exactly what he said, it's staying the course and just taking it day by day. The next game is the biggest game.

JOSH STEWART: Yeah, just agreeing with my teammates. We just have to stay in the now and just not worry about what's ahead of us. Don't get too far into the future, just know what we have to do to prepare for the next game.

Q. Jalen, I know that Coach talks about the creed you talk about every Wednesday. Was today kind of an example of living the creed, I guess?
JALEN RHODES: Oh, yes, sir, it was. We go by that creed. Everybody on the team has to repeat it, so it's something that we all live by and live in our hearts, so that's what we do.

Q. (No microphone.)
JALEN RHODES: It's everybody. Everyone plays a part in protecting the ball, offensive line with the block, receiver when they catch the ball, even them blocking. Everybody plays a role in protecting the football. We do that well.

Q. Eg, that last drive of the first half where you got the fumble, a couple big plays there. You made a great hustle play to stop them on that long pass, then turned turned the guy away at the end zone. Did that kind of epitomize tonight's game for the defense, the way that you guys played there?
MICHAEL EGWUAGU: I think so. I think that play and Josiah's plays were probably the exclamation mark of the night, but it's just -- I mean goes to show you, you can never give up on a play. If we weren't able to tackle that guy down before the goal line, then we never would have got the fumble. It goes back to being resilient, and that's what we were today.

Q. Marcus was playing with really hard in the fourth quarter, had a couple of bad breaks go his way. What did you see out of him, just evaluate Marcus's plate tonight.
JALEN RHODES: Yeah, I think Marcus is a guy that you can always count on. I know he messed up on a couple plays. He even came to me and was just like, hey, you can count on me. Coach Wilson always tells you to look to the man next to you and tell him he can count on you, and Marcus is a guy that you can definitely do that. He's somebody that is coming into a leadership role on the defense as somebody you can trust, so tonight I think he really just sort of exemplified that and showed that, showed flashes for sure.

Q. Talk about Josiah. This was a big game for him against North Texas. Did you have to calm him down as the defensive leader, and what did you think about how he played?
MICHAEL EGWUAGU: I mean, with Josiah you never have to calm him down. I don't think you would want to. But no, he's always poised. He's very composed, very mature for a freshman. You really don't even believe he's a freshman. He makes plays like that in practice all the time, so to see him do it in a game, you're just really happy for him, and the sky's the limit for him, seriously. He's the future of the defensive program.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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