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December 19, 2015

Bob Davie

Dakota Cox

Austin Apodaco

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Arizona - 45, New Mexico - 37

THE MODERATOR: We'll start with Coach Davie.

COACH DAVIE: Where do you start? First of all, the atmosphere was outstanding. It's what college football is supposed to look like, it's what it's supposed to sound like. I think it was a game that was reflective, the way both teams played, of what college football should be played like.

The game itself, first of all, credit to Arizona. Those receivers are different and unique. Hope everybody appreciated how big, strong, talented their wide receiving corps is, No. 1, No. 4, No. 5.

I thought their quarterback played extremely well coming off an injury. I thought he was outstanding.

It was a game of their big plays. You think of the big throws, the long throws, the quarterback scrambling, staying alive, making big plays himself.

I knew the game would start out offensively, we had no idea how they would really play us. I thought as the game went on, excellent job by our coaching staff of having answers. By the end of the game, quite honestly, I didn't really think they could stop us.

I thought a key play in the game, key play, there were so many, but we had it second-and-two there, probably about the 30, 35 yard line at the end of the game. We had a run-pass option called on second-and-two. We throw the ball out there. It almost gets intercepted. Then on third down, we pitch it right into traffic. All of a sudden it's fourth and 13 or 15, whatever it was, we go for it.

Going back to that second down and two, I wish we would have just given the ball, but we didn't. We kind of had it going right there, we really did. We had momentum. They didn't have a lot of answers for us.

With that said, competitive. Our guys will fight, play with a lot of heart. I think people probably recognized that across the country today watching that. I couldn't be more proud of our team, the way they competed.

Again, I'm impressed with Arizona and their personnel, particularly on offense. A lot of different things. We faked the field goal. Kid makes a shoestring tackle. We had a good opportunity there. We converted the on-side kick. Got the ball back there. Delane Hart with another big catch, Lamar Jordan played really well once he got going, then got injured. Apodaca did some good things, but the interceptions really hurt. The interception by Lamar coming out of our end zone, we just threw it right to them right there which gave them a touchdown.

Again, big picture-wise this is just a start for us. Obviously we have to get better. But it's encouraging. It's encouraging just in the big picture part of it, the way the atmosphere was in the stadium, the no back down of our team, and the performance level of our team to be quite honest.

We lose the game, but I think the best is still ahead. We need to get better. I'm kind of rambling around here. It was a different kind of game. A lot of different things officiating-wise. We obviously had the penalties in the first half. It was really disappointing, really disappointing. Then in the second half we got it cleaned up. I think we only had the one penalty, the chop block, which I don't think was really a good call from where I was standing.

But a heck of a game. Again, I appreciate our players and I appreciate their effort and I appreciate their fight.


Q. Bob, most of their big plays came in the first half. Did you change anything in the second half?
COACH DAVIE: No, we didn't go get guys that were taller (laughter).

No, we didn't change much. It was a bizarre game. We controlled the ball for the majority of the game. They didn't have the ball much. When they had it, you see their big-play potential. It's the reason they're 15th in the country in total offense.

They're a difficult matchup for anyone. When that quarterback is playing the way he played today throwing the football, I don't care who it is, in what conference, that's a difficult matchup for teams with the size they have at wide receiver.

Absolutely we didn't do anything different.

Q. What was the injury to Lamar? Can you speak about his performance.
COACH DAVIE: Lamar has a knee injury. I don't know how significant it is, along with Reno Henderson. Cody Baker hurt his shoulder early but came back.

Lamar, once we kind of figured out what they were doing, we tweaked some things, had some answers schematically. I thought Lamar played well.

Again, the two interceptions were really disappointing. I think both those interceptions were on first down, which makes it doubly painful. The first one he under-threw where you're going to throw it. Either we have a chance to catch it or nobody has a chance to catch it. Then the one coming out on first-and-10 there in the third quarter, I know he'd like to have it back. But that just can't happen. You cannot let that happen. I thought he played well. Again, the two interceptions hurt us.

I thought Austin came in and did well. Difficult situation to come in off the bench like that. I thought he did some really good things, I really did.

Q. Coach, you talked a little bit about it, what lies ahead. What were your expectations for what the crowd was going to be like? How much did it get you guys motivated to see that many people? Do you think that is a big step for the entire program?
COACH DAVIE: I'm not one to keep a count on how many people come or try to tell people what to do. That's a decision people have to make obviously. I'm not going to get into that rollercoaster of saying I wish there were more, I hope there were more.

But obviously that atmosphere in that stadium, you can talk to our players about it, they'd be the ones that see it the most. It's what college football should look like. The crowd was into it. I think it's a heck of a scene, the way it looks, the stadium, the backdrop of the stadium.

I mean, that part of it's tremendously encouraging, it really is. You see what this place can be, the potential that this place has. I'm sure people around the country saw that. That's what this is about. That's what these bowl games are about, to showcase your program.

Obviously there's been a lot of national attention about our program. Quite honestly, more national attention than there's probably been local attention in a lot of ways. I don't mean that with any edge to it at all. But certainly we've taken the first step. We've taken the first step.

Now, can we move forward? There's no guarantees with that. But that atmosphere today in that stadium and the way that stadium looked can give us a tremendous advantage in this Mountain West Conference moving forward, if we can sustain it.

I'm looking at it as my responsibility to put the team on the field to sustain it. But it was good. It was very much appreciated. It felt it was like what college football should feel like. I'm appreciative of the people coming out.

Q. Austin, what did you see on your final pass attempt there?
AUSTIN APODACO: I just saw a cover-two shell. Tried to throw it to Gambo. Unfortunately obviously got picked. Tried to give him a chance. Probably should be smarter with the ball there, maybe take a sack, another down. Just tried to make a play to Gambo, so...

Q. Dakota, you have a lot of sacks this year. How important was Solomon's ability to avoid the rush and make big plays?
DAKOTA COX: He's a great quarterback. You saw that. He was able to get out of a lot of tackles. He really did it by himself. We just didn't wrap-up. We didn't get there as good as we needed to. An athletic quarterback like that is hard to bring down.

Q. Dakota, down 18 early in the third quarter, you pretty much took control of the game at that point. What got you going from there?
DAKOTA COX: Just guys always know, I mean, there's still two more quarters in the game. Halftime, guys understand the game is not over. It's like starting a new game.

That's something, that we never back down from a fight. That's something I've learned from every one of them. I'm proud of these guys. Every game we play in, we're going to go out there and leave it on the field.

Q. Austin, what did you think about the atmosphere and the crowd? What does this game say about going on in the future?
AUSTIN APODACO: I thought it was a great atmosphere. Right when we ran out, you see it packed. I thought it was awesome to play in the New Mexico Bowl, have that home-field advantage a little bit was special for us. Just to see the stands packed was big-time for us. I think it says a lot about the people of New Mexico.

Q. Coach, you talked about the big play on the second down, which was enormous, then the couple of botches after that. What was the thinking on that fourth down? How close did you come to trying a field goal?
COACH DAVIE: I think that's a valid question. The script would tell you to try to kick the field goal there. I think it would have been about a 45-yard field goal.

I just felt like we converted some big third downs. The one to Reece, the one to Gamblin. We had some big third-down conversions there in that fourth quarter. Late in the third quarter, last play in the third quarter to Reece, then one to Gambo.

I just felt like we could convert that there, particularly with Austin at quarterback. They spent so much time on the running game, my hunch told me to go for it right there.

Again, we had a hard time stopping them. That would have been a perfect opportunity to try to go ahead in the game rather than just get it down to a field goal. Honestly, I wasn't sure if we'd get the ball back.

Q. Dakota, I know you lost, but having come off the season that you did, what does it say for the future and the guys coming back?
DAKOTA COX: Definitely something to build on. We had a great year. I'm proud of this whole team. I'm definitely going to miss all these seniors that put in so much work to get here. Something for us to build on. We need to have a great off-season. Everyone needs to work as hard as they have before. We need to come out and have another great year next year.


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