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September 23, 2017

Philip Montmogery

Tulsa, Oklahoma

New Mexico - 16, Tulsa - 13

COACH MONTGOMERY: Well, I was proud of the guys and the way they played. I thought we fought; did a nice job there. Continued to battle. I thought our defense played well all game long. Gave us opportunities to go win the game, and offensively, we didn't capitalize on those things.

Give credit to New Mexico. You know, I thought their kids played extremely hard, as well. Kind of a battle all the way through it. Defensive struggle.

You know, we've got to do a better job offensively. Obviously in a game like this you've got to connect on those throws downfield, and you know, had opportunities and didn't capitalize for one reason or another.

The biggest part is two weeks in a row, game-winning field goals to end it, those are tough losses. But we've got to stay positive. We've got to stay confident about what we're doing.

I thought our defense made some good strides this week and played extremely well. We've just got to capitalize on what we're doing, and you know, when we get a turnover, when we get stops like that, we've got to go get points.

So go back to work. That's kind of where we're at.

Q. You mentioned the defense playing a lot better obviously. You had a number of different players out there for a lot of the game. Was that based on trying to get something different from the defense or more about what New México was going to do offensively?
COACH MONTGOMERY: No, we're battling some injuries. We've lost, you know, Jordan Mitchell back there. We've lost Sam Gottsch back there. We had some guys, you know, Jesse had to sit out the first half and so some young guys had to step in and play.

You know, Akayleb Evans got his first PT this week. Had to take the shirt off of him. I thought he played well. I have to go back and look at the tape, but I thought he played well.

After really the first drive, I thought our defense really settled in, and running to the football, and they are on the field for a long time. I mean, I'm looking at the time of possession right here and it's 42 minutes to 17 minutes. When you're playing teams like this, and we've got two more, here they come, with Navy and Tulane, every possession matters.

You know, probably one of the reasons, why, you know, early in the game, I go for it on fourth down, that's a little bit longer, because I know possessions are going to be critical and we need to make the most of each one of those we get.

I thought those young guys stepped in and played really well. We had a bunch of young guys play them on special teams, and those guys stepped up and made some plays there, too. So it wasn't anything more than just out of necessity, a lot of those guys had to step in and play.

Q. You mentioned not having Sam. Is that for the year? What's the deal?
COACH MONTGOMERY: Well, we'll see. It just depends on the decisions with him and the doctor.

Q. You just mentioned the time of possession. Did that kind of play a part in the offense maybe not finding a rhythm, what they are usually used to, with the quickness and pace?
COACH MONTGOMERY: Yeah, I think obviously that's part of it. We didn't find our rhythm all day because we were -- we would hit a play here or there but we didn't -- we didn't capitalize on some of those plays. You know, the play by Hobbs, the big catch, which was an unbelievable catch there, but we didn't capitalize on those type of drives. We had the big run there with D'Angelo down the sideline and needed to go ahead and finish that drive off and we've got to do a better job of finishing those.

I mean, we had a penalty in there that we hurt ourselves on. We're second and probably medium, I think, it ends up backing us back up, and you can't make mistakes like that against this type of defense we're playing today.

Q. And just saw Chad's statistics. How would you assess his performance? Obviously the interception at the end of the fourth quarter was disappointing. Considering the progress he made, do you think he took a step back?
COACH MONTGOMERY: No, I don't think he took a step back. He made some throws today that were big-time throws that we've got to make and he missed a few but that's part of being a young quarterback and that's going to happen.

You know, the pick right there late, he's trying to make a play and probably trying to do a little bit too much right there and could have checked it down. So those things are going to happen with young quarterbacks. He's done a good job of protecting the football.

You know, we'll just keep working. But did he take a step back? Absolutely not. I think he's still trending forward and we've still got to go back to work and keep grinding to keep getting better at those things.

Q. Petera Wilson played most of the game and was credited with 17 tackles. Just comment on that.
COACH MONTGOMERY: Yeah, I thought Petera had an unbelievable game; a guy that stepped in and played extremely well. I think this offense really plays to his strengths, and he gets to play downhill and go attack, and he made some big tackles for us. I thought really sparked the defense when he came in.

Again, we were rotating a bunch of guys in and out, and so there was some extended drivers in there. I haven't got to look at the drive chart yet but I thought our defense in critical times really stepped up and made big plays.

Q. You go right into conference play next week. You have a really long time before your open date. How difficult is that when you have two losses like this in a row to try to get back on the field when the schedule is built this way?
COACH MONTGOMERY: I don't really worry about the loss part of it from that standpoint. You know, whether you have a bye or don't after a loss, it's still tough.

The thing that makes it difficult is just when you're fighting the injury bug right now like we are, you're not getting those guys back. There's no time to get them back. So you're just locked in at having to play each week, so new guys are having to step up and make adjustments.

We had to change several people out on our punt team, and when you don't have that time to really make sure that these young guys that are having to step in haven't got their quality of reps and I thought they did a great job today in protection. Any time those things happen, that's what you worry about more as a coach than anything.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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