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December 2, 2016

Chris Petersen

Myles Gaskin

Taylor Rapp

Santa Clara, California

Washington, 41 - Colorado, 10

THE MODERATOR: We welcome in the Washington Huskies. We'll go ahead and let Coach make an opening statement and take questions for the student-athletes.

CHRIS PETERSEN: Yeah, just really proud of our guys. Lot of respect for Colorado. We knew it would be a hard, defensive-type game, and I can't say enough about our defense creating turnovers, scoring touchdowns, playing championship defense, and I think that's why you have two teams like ours in this game.

It always comes down to the big-time defense. Really proud of how we ran the ball. Our pass game was awkward, for lack of a better word. I don't know. Just it wasn't what we hoped it to be. But we do what we needed to do, and I thought our offensive line and those tight ends were playing physical. Myles and Levon pounding the ball in there. So a lot of times they don't go exactly like you think they're going to go, but really proud of these guys.

THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student-athletes.

Q. Myles, is there any doubt in your guys' mind now that you're one of the top four teams in the country?
MYLES GASKIN: We just played the game, honestly. That's up to a whole bunch of people I don't even know, and they're going to do all their voting and a whole bunch of stuff like that, but I don't really care personally. We're just going to play whoever we have next. That's the way it is.

Q. Can you follow up on that. What do you think he showed here tonight?
CHRIS PETERSEN: Well, I'm a little bit like the rest of the guys. I mean, we think we've got a heck of a team and we think we belong in there. I think they'll do what they should do, which is the right thing. It works out how it's supposed to work out, and these guys have done everything they're supposed to do, play in a really good league, and, yeah.

Q. Coach, Jake's pass, was he throwing that away?
CHRIS PETERSEN: You'd have to ask him that. I don't know. I don't know, you know. I don't know if he was or not. It floated a lot longer, so it's hard to tell with the trajectory exactly where he was going with that.

I was just surprised he didn't go up with two hands. I thought he was going to catch it. He's explosive. He can jump like the best of them. But surprised with only one hand, I guess give him style points.

Q. Coach, neither team was able to pass really well in this game. Was the wind a factor?
CHRIS PETERSEN: I'd love to say it was. I don't think there was an ounce of wind out there.

Q. Well, the flags were blowing.
CHRIS PETERSEN: Yeah, they were blowing up top, but on the ground it really didn't have anything to do with wind. I think it had to do with good cover guys, for sure, and just being off a little bit. It will be interesting to put the tape on.

Very different game than we're used to, for sure. I don't think we went in anticipating we'd run the ball like that, run it that much and probably that effective, but the kids they answered.

Q. Can you just take us through the interception and returning for the touchdown? Can you take us through step one?
TAYLOR RAPP: I was just back there on the post, and I saw the quarterback threw the ball, and I saw it was a little high. So I was converging on the receiver. You know, it's just reaction, got the ball, and my teammates obviously did an incredible job blocking and making a lane for me.

Q. Myles, (Indiscernible) how much have you enjoyed the season?
MYLES GASKIN: It's a great feeling. Just being out there and doing our assignments with our brothers. I know everybody says that, but those are really like my brothers, and just knowing that we're firing on all cylinders and everybody is having fun and we're doing it for each other, it's one of those feelings you can't explain. People are going to say it's fun, but it's more than that. I've got nothing but love for these guys, on the offensive side, defensive side, T. Rapp, doing his thing, everybody. First play coming out in the second half, to get a pick six, it's a great thing.

Q. Coach, with Connor O'Brien out, it looked like you were (indiscernible). Can you talk about what you were doing with Elijah?
CHRIS PETERSEN: Yeah. So we have that package anyways. He's not the buck, it's just another guy that can stand off and stand up on the edge and it turns into a four-man. You wouldn't necessarily drop him into coverage or anything, but playing with four big guys in there, we have a package where we can play with five big guys. Coach K and company did a great job, again, mixing up the different blitzes and personnel groups, and he was on it.

Q. Taylor, did it appear to you that Colorado's quarterback wasn't 100%?
TAYLOR RAPP: Didn't matter to me. Quarterback's out there, play ball.

Q. (Indiscernible) conference champion, what kind of goes into that process?
MYLES GASKIN: Coach P preaches to us that hard work is going to get you where you want to be. You have to sacrifice for what you want to do and where you want to be at. We really bought into what he had to say, and this is where we are right now. We have a saying, sacrifice your body, glorify your soul, and I think we bought into that, and this is where we're at.

Q. Coming into this, how do you feel the staff got you guys ready to play head on?
MYLES GASKIN: Basically blocking out the outside noise. At the end of the day, it's a whole bunch of people behind a desk writing about a bunch of stuff they don't technically know. No offense.

CHRIS PETERSEN: I didn't say those exact words.

MYLES GASKIN: He didn't, I did. But I'm saying, when it comes down to it, it's what we do in our locker room, out on our practice field, I mean, it's just the media, what they want to do. But we were really focused coming into the season every game.

Q. Chris, what is the most important thing in preparing a team for this month where you have a long way off without a game and a huge game in the end?
CHRIS PETERSEN: I think the most important thing is to get these guys fresh. That's what I really think. They worked hard for a long time, and, you know, last thing anyone wants to do is go out there and practice right now, and so I think it's time to get these guys fresh and recover, let their bodies heal up and finish school here with finals.

I think that's really the priority there. They'll come back, and they're not going to forget how to play football. I think one of the things is everybody talks about these bowl games and this is like another spring ball. I don't think of it like that at all. This thing is year round as it is. And the thing that we think about as a staff is how do we make sure we don't burn the kids out and keep them fresh and hungry and liking football. And so I think that's what we have to do is get them fresh.

Q. Any chance that Matthews is going to come back for the Bowl game?
CHRIS PETERSEN: Yeah, I don't think so. I don't think there's a chance of that.

Q. You're a true freshman, starting in the spring, you broke your hand and here you are playing in a championship game. First of all, how does it feel?
TAYLOR RAPP: Honestly, no, I didn't see any of this coming. It's all so crazy. It's all surreal. It feels like a dream out there.

Q. Coach, what did you think about it?
CHRIS PETERSEN: It didn't surprise me in the slightest. I mean, he's played like that since he got here in the spring. He really has. We moved in different positions in the secondary. He made no mental mistakes through spring ball. I mean, I really mean that. I don't think he made any mental mistakes since spring ball. I mean, who doesn't do that (indiscernible) guy's brand new here.

And he's physical, he can tackle. We don't tackle a ton in spring ball. We do a little bit, so you never really know. You don't know until the lights come on. He hasn't missed a beat. He's just continually gotten better as the season's gone on. So what was going on out there with Taylor's performance didn't surprise, I don't think, anybody on the team.

Q. Since your interviews and tonight, being on this stage, (indiscernible)?
CHRIS PETERSEN: It is, because I have so much respect for this conference that we play in, and I know what type of great players that everybody has, and the really good coaching. I know how hard it is to sit up here, and I don't take that for granted at all. Just really appreciative of these players and how hard they've worked. Not only this season. This thing started at the end of last season.

You know, the thing is they would work so hard and some of the games didn't turn out. We just couldn't quite finish. They just kept working and kept being a team and not pointing fingers, and that kind of carried through to the last season, and then we'd come back. They've just been on a mission ever since.

Q. Coach, immediately following John's touchdown on that ball where it came out, there was that moment of chasing from behind (indiscernible)?
CHRIS PETERSEN: Yeah, for those guys to only get three points was huge, because that was the last thing -- I mean, that was probably the only thing that was going to keep them in the game was to return the kickoff, and so he broke a couple tackles and then fumbled. They got the bounce and took it down to the five.

And, again, credit to the defense. Those kids played hard. I mean, when they get down there to the five, I always think, I don't know if they're going to score, because a lot of times they don't. And that was the case again tonight.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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