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August 31, 2019

Les Miles

Lawrence, Kansas

Kansas - 24, Indiana State - 17

LES MILES: I think the most important thing that we can take from this is victory, okay. It was a position that a team who didn't have the experience in coming back in those games, gave them the experience that they needed, which was to play very, very competitive and tight quarters. Andrew Parchment I thought just played lights out. Next time I see him I'm going to try to give him some MVP award somehow.

I thought our quarterback played hard and did the things we asked him to do. Imperfectly, but really played hard.

Defensively for three quarters they had to play and make plays for the team, with little support from the offense yet, but they did. They continued to make plays, and made plays.

It's a start. It's the start. It allows us to step to another opponent, play hard and recognize that when we get in the back end of a game, we can win. I'm excited. I can tell you that right now. I just told somebody, I said, you know, there's a lot of games that I was fortunate to be a part of where we finished first in that game. I don't know that I've enjoyed a group of men and a team and their effort any more than the one that I enjoyed right here today, tonight.

What time -- how early is this? (Laughter.) It's not tonight, I can tell you that.

Wow, what a game.

Q. How exciting was this for you personally, and what was your heart rate as you made that walk out with your team for the very first time and then ran on the field?
LES MILES: Yeah, the run out on the field, heart rate was about (pounding fist on podium), and then when we were throwing balls to AP, my heart rate was (pounding fist rapidly on podium).

It was great. One, I enjoyed the people. It was wonderful to see the stadium come to life and root for our guys. Yeah. All good.

Q. What did you think about how the offense responded once Indiana State went up in the fourth and you guys obviously had to score?
LES MILES: The turn and throw to Andrew Parchment was just exactly right, and he responded with all of the talent and ability that we thought he had. I think we could have -- I think we'll learn to win games like this without as much drama. We think we can throw the football to a number of guys and rush the football better and more efficiently than we did today, and that would make these -- might distance ourselves from the opponent.

Q. Can you discuss the decision to not only go with Carter but for the entire game?
LES MILES: Well, we felt like his play early on was good and made some significant throws, and our ability to move the ball with him at quarterback was definitely a positive.

Now, you know, was he perfect? Absolutely not. But he was good enough and significantly a leader enough to win.

Q. How important is it for a team, for an offense to have a quarterback that they kind of know they can stick with, that you're going to stick with, and also how important for the quarterback to know you're going to stick with him?
LES MILES: I think he's a team guy. I think he wants it for the team. Those thoughts, they carry you a long way. And it's not easy what we did, okay. We put him out there and give him the wristband where at least two calls were -- we had the wristband right but we didn't give him the calls properly, which will be easy to fix. But can you imagine standing in front of a stadium of people waiting for the big play and knowing that the big play was just sending to your wristband and you're trying to make that look? He did some really, really good things.

We'll go forward from here.

Q. With him?
LES MILES: You betcha.

Q. Can you explain the impact and the timeliness of the interceptions by Hasan Defense and Jeremiah McCullough?
LES MILES: Well, when you win games, those plays are made by people who cannot wait to be put in that position and have always thought that they would be the one that would make that play. Yeah, there weren't two more exciting plays in the game.

Q. You had kind of warned us a couple weeks ago that at maybe the last minute you'd have a starting quarterback in there, and then you made us wait a little bit longer, the introductions in the game. When did Carter find out, and what was his reaction?
LES MILES: Carter found out just about a little after the game started -- no. (Laughter.)

I told him on Thursday I think it was that he was going to be my starter, and he responded well. And you know, we're fortunate; we have some talented quarterbacks and some guys that can step in and play, and we're going to, in my opinion, need all of them.

Yeah, I think -- you knew I was going to call one. Have you ever seen a formation without a quarterback? I haven't.

Q. I saw you in a Yankees hat in the ESPN+ series. Can you explain the significance of playing New York -- playing "New York, New York" after victories, can you explain the significance of that?
LES MILES: Okay, here's the significance of "New York, New York": New York, New York, I went there several years ago with my family, and I would stop and get an orange juice at a deli, right? It's the best orange juice I've ever had, okay? Went over to another place, got a sandwich, best sandwich I ever had. So basically for me it told me if you're going to have success in a place like New York, you'd better raise your game and compete. Okay, and so I've kind of enjoyed that song because of kind of what's unsaid.

But I want you to know it was fun hearing it played at the end of the game, and I'm walking out and there's a young gal that's kind of watching the tunnel, and she's just singing away. I think it's a good thing.

Q. Can you just assess the play of Liam Jones at kicker today?
LES MILES: Strengths and weaknesses: He missed some, but you know, after the miss, he made. And so I would always ask and say, Liam, so tell me, how did you -- he says, "oh, I overswang." Even when we didn't get the opportunity to see, he acknowledged that he had it. It's never the last kick that you made, it's always the next kick you're going to make. I think he gets that.

How about our punter? Oh, my gosh. That one punt, the last one he hit, looked like it fell out of an airplane. Here it comes -- am I right? Certainly guys noticed it.

Q. You had mentioned before this is a group of guys who are not used to making a comeback like that in a game like this. When that play happens, when Carter loses the ball and they score the touchdown, do you gather that up and try to tell them something to get them back in it?
LES MILES: No, they have to have that, okay, and unity council and leadership and the three captains and coaches, they have to have that. It has to come from inside them, and it did, and it will again and again because they were rewarded. They were rewarded with victory.

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