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December 26, 2015

Kevin Wilson

New York, New York

Duke - 44, Indiana - 41, OT

THE MODERATOR: Coach Wilson, thank you for coming in. Would you like to start with any comments.

COACH WILSON: Again, congratulate Duke. Made a lot of plays. We had too many errors. First half, I think we were one for three on fourth down, two across midfield, had two turnovers in the scoring zone, had the fumbled punt in the scoring. I think first half I think they had 229 the first half, two big plays at 158.

We gave up too many big plays, too many turnovers. It comes down to a kick. Our guys want to say close. I told them it wasn't. If it was good, it was good. It wasn't good. I don't think it was. It wasn't.

Because they played so hard, it's a good group, kind of overcame some negatives and gave themselves a chance. At the end of the day we didn't convert on third down in our score zone. Come up on the short end.

Congratulate Duke. It has been a great trip. Appreciate the bowl folks, the city. Our guys have been well-received. Wrong side of the ledger.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for coach.

Q. Kevin, in your mind, was the field goal good or not good? What explanation did you get?
COACH WILSON: There's no explanation. It wasn't good. You can sit there and look at it. But when I saw the scoreboard, to me, it looks like it travels outside the bar, hooks in, on the other side of the goal post. Bottom line, you don't win a lot of games with field goals. And you really don't win games when you miss five scoring opportunities.

To me, you don't blame anything else. If it was good, it was good. It wasn't. We talked a lot about that to the team, how they need to lift themselves up, be positive, congratulate Duke. They made enough plays to win the game. We had enough errors. We were on the wrong side. That was the message to the team in a very strong way.

Q. Kevin, what was the reaction from your guys, especially the seniors playing their last game, after a tough closeout?
COACH WILSON: Well, there is a little bit of emotion. The way the locker room is configured in there, it is very disjointed. They have to put extra lockers. It's a great setup, awesome space. There is a little holding room.

I actually took them down there and I wanted to see their eyes, lift their heads up, spirits up. They've battled, very resilient. They don't feel very good, but at the same time it's a tremendous group of seniors. They've kind of left I think a positive landmark that we can move forward with.

We didn't play well enough to win. That's unfortunate. I thought early I almost thought we got a little tight, you know. A couple times we had 10 guys on the field in the kicking game, had to take some timeouts. I think we got a little bit too much into the pomp and circumstance.

As we build the program, we're going to keep playing in bigger games. You got to get used to it. I was disappointed. Some of the great teams we played, some of the great venues we've played in. I thought we were a little awestruck, out of whack early. I was disappointed in that.

Q. Coach, this is a group that most of these players haven't had one of those bowl layoffs. Do you think that's why they were tight or just the venue?
COACH WILSON: One, I think they wanted it really bad. I think we knew this year we let some games get away. Of course, you're playing a prime slot. Good publicity day, good branding opportunity.

Again, I thought we practiced very well. I thought our bowl prep was awesome. I thought we did some great developmental work. We had a good game plan. Gave up a few big plays. Every time there is a break, you get some errors.

I think sometimes, too, when the lights get a little brighter, the really mature, good players can focus, zero back in, aim small, shoot small. Today I think we were just a little out of whack.

Q. You said yesterday it would be a game time decision for Jordan. How close was he?
COACH WILSON: Again, he practiced a lot. Bottom line he didn't feel he could cut full speed. Thought he could run, except for some cutting. I think he felt unsure of himself.

That being said, I think he questioned whether he would play like he needed to play, to play well, but also to protect himself.

I do think Devine, what he was able to accomplish, that gives us two thousand-yard backs. As good as Jordan is, he is awesome, we'll keep going through the process and he can follow what's going on.

We'll lose a couple of linemen. But we have a good line situation, good tight end group. We are going to keep that going. I think this is the first time in school history we had two thousand-yard rushers.

Nice to see Devine pick up the slack. But there is a group up front, tight end group, James Patton coaches as well with Coach Frey, I think it is a good group.

Jordan, he went all week, got the same work he always gets. Thursday I think he was concerned going from turf to grass. Since we've been here today, he did some stuff, just said he didn't feel 100%. It was his call.

Q. Coach, I believe you set a program record for points midway through this game. Why do you think the perception is that high-powered offenses are passing-oriented offenses? You have a balanced attack.
COACH WILSON: I mean, good offenses are good whether they're running it, throwing it. We try to have a little bit of a mix. I think you say spread. Running-oriented quarterbacks, whatever.

Our deal, the real stat is wins. We only got six. We made some strides. We want to build on it. I think we have a solid foundation to move forward. But we got to keep moving forward. That's why after the game we tried to address our players. We weren't going to have excuses, we weren't blame anybody else.

We played really well. We made some mistakes. Duke played better than us, made some plays. As a program, proud of you, seniors, love you, but we're going to keep moving forward and keep building the thing.

Q. Coach, take us through the overtime possession. Maybe a little too cute there. What was the strategy on that possession?
COACH WILSON: We did a first play, I think we did a little play-action, three-layered pass, we checked down. Thinking about the second one. Going blank here.

We kind of ran the reverse pass. Might have went to Mitchell a little too much. Might have been a little gassed.

Third down we actually thought we could get a screen. Thought they would blitz. They kind of got us a little too quick. We actually thought they were going to blitz. Tried to hit the tailback screen that we thought really could pop. Got caught up in clutter. Nate was forced to get it off.

Q. You mentioned Devine. How much growth have you seen from him especially these last three or four games?
COACH WILSON: I think, again, the more he plays, he's more relaxed. Sometimes he used to run tight. He's more relaxed, more fluid, competent. Doing a great job taking care of the ball. He has matured.

It's a good complement to the offense. With the one-on-one plays you got out there, the quarterback can deliver, receivers can make the ball. If you play coverage, you have a running game. That's the balance we're looking for.

Duke was a little chess match today. Duke is gambling on certain situations. Sometimes we got burned, sometimes they got burned. At the end we thought they were going to actually blitz. Wanted to throw a screen pass, got caught in clutter and it didn't work.

Q. Kevin, in your mind what does your team need to take away from this game and season to improve, getting past six wins, winning in moments like this?
COACH WILSON: It's a good question. I don't think it's one thing. I think it's 'where we are.' We've gotten to where we're competitive. We're stronger, we're deeper. We overcame a lot of injuries.

You have the runningback, one of you guys said he was the number two Heisman hopeful in the Big Ten last year. Most guys lose a guy like that, fold shop, especially a program that hadn't been good. We kept scoring points.

The last four games we scored 40, he didn't play in three of those. That's a very good player. To me, it shows the growth. But it also shows at the end it's about the ultimate result, which is W.

We got to do some things and continue to enhance ourselves defensively. We've got to continue, we're going to lose a couple good players with Nate and with Spriggs, Jake Reed, Corsaro, Cooper.

Again, good teams, we recruited better. I think we're getting to the point, the key right now, we get on the recruits, finish strong like we always have, bring this team back and have a strong, positive spring, let these seniors leave their legacy.

Really good teams, the greatest group in our building are our equipment managers. First year best I ever saw. We're never going to replace him. The next guy was better. Really good football teams have players that graduate, the next guy comes in, understand the standard, they get better. That's what we're going to try to do with our program.

THE MODERATOR: Thanks, coach.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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