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December 30, 2017

Bobby Petrino

Lamar Jackson

Jacksonville, Florida

Mississippi State - 31, Louisville - 27

BOBBY PETRINO: A tough loss for us. I'm very proud of our team, on how hard we competed, how hard we fought to get the win. We didn't have the greatest start we'd like in the first quarter. Defensively I think we got out of sync a little bit with our tempo. But we came back. Had a great score right before the half, took the lead, got ourselves in a position to win the game.

But we turned the ball over too much, didn't get touchdowns when we were down inside the 20 yard line. We needed to convert touchdowns. Missed a field goal, things that we don't usually have happen. You have to give them credit. They're a very good football team. They're a very physical team. Their defensive front was very physical. Their offensive front was very physical. But it was a great game. Our guys competed hard. They did a great job preparing for the game. Like I told them, they did a great job representing the University of Louisville, University of Louisville football, we'll be back to get back to work when we get a week break here, then we come back.

I'll open it up for questions.

Q. What was Mississippi State doing to effectively limit the rushing attack?
BOBBY PETRINO: I mean, they're real physical up front. 94, their nose guard, is a really, really good player. Held us to point. We weren't able to get the same movement we normally get. They forced us to hand the ball off a bunch, limited the space we had to run the ball. In a game like that, you just got to keep going, keep working at it. We had some nice drives. Ended up with field goals, not touchdowns.

Q. Coach, what impressed you about the Mississippi State freshman quarterback in his first start of his career?
BOBBY PETRINO: Yeah, toughness. I thought he was very tough. They came in with a good game plan to run the ball well. Made yards after contact. We had some trouble tackling them. Thought we did a good job of slowing them down there in the second half.

But he's a very tough young man. Played very physical for them.

Q. What was the breakdown that led to four interceptions?
BOBBY PETRINO: Yeah, they're all different. Starts sometimes with protection. We didn't have the same type of protection that we had. Had a few errant throws that the ball sailed. Wasn't as accurate as normal. Had one go right through a guy's hands.

When you get turnovers like that, it's always the entire offense. It's not one guy. You need to have the protection, you need to be where you're supposed to be on the route, then we need to have an accurate throw and catch the ball.

But they certainly hurt us.

Q. Bobby, how much did the absence affect your execution today?
BOBBY PETRINO: I thought our guys did a really good job in practice, came out with a great attitude, worked hard on preparing for the game, came out and played extremely hard. I'm going to give the credit to the guys that played in the game, how hard they worked, how we stuck together, did a good job in the preparation.

Like I said, we were right in the ballgame. Had our chances to win it. It was a hard-fought game. We just didn't come out on top.

Q. Lamar, Coach Petrino addressed the interceptions, but what did you see from your end?
LAMAR JACKSON: That was just miscommunication by me. That is on me, nobody else.

BOBBY PETRINO: That's not true. We win together and lose together. Lamar is a great competitor. Obviously he's got big shoulders. But he worked extremely hard. He competed extremely hard. We're in a position to win the game because of how hard he ran the ball, the touchdowns he made.

It's all 11 guys. You got to have the right protections, got to give the quarterback space. When you get room and space, it's easy to throw the ball. When you're having to move, see things at the same time, it makes it a lot harder.

Lamar usually throws the ball more accurate than a couple of them, but a couple of them were not his fault.

Q. Lamar, is this the last time we'll see you in a Cardinals uniform?
LAMAR JACKSON: I got to sit down with my coach and my family.

Q. You talked about how you win or lose as a team. When you see a player like Lamar, how hard is it to see the effort?
BOBBY PETRINO: You know, it's what football and sports and athletics are all about. You prepare really hard. You go out on the field. You compete extremely hard. You do everything you possibly can to win the game. We're humans. We make mistakes. Hopefully you don't make that many that you don't win.

Like I said, I really felt like the offense was competing extremely hard. Kept working at it. We were right in the game versus a very good football team. The defense came back in the second quarter, second half, got some great stops. Even the last drive, they were able to get a stop on the fourth down, get the ball back. We really believed we would take it and go score. Just didn't happen.

That's what college athletics and sports is all about. You have to deal with the lessons, the education. We always get educated. Just have to learn from it.

I can tell you this, though, this team prepared really well. They represented the university great in everything we did up here at the bowl game. I'm really proud of them. We had great leadership from within the team. Really hard to see some of them leave.

Reggie stood there and shook everybody's hand as they came in the locker room. They're some special guys.

Q. Did you expect Mississippi State to blitz that much? What did you do to try to counteract that?
BOBBY PETRINO: Yeah, I didn't think they blitzed as much as I was expecting. They mixed it up a little bit. But they started off, went pretty base. They added to it a little bit. They've been a situation blitz team. They continued to do that.

But they didn't really do anything that we didn't practice for or prepare for, including the fourth down, when Lamar got the fourth down conversion late in the game. You're sitting on the sideline thinking, Should I kick the field goal or go for it? We were right on the edge.

I didn't think we were protecting very well, so I chose to go for it. He made a great play getting us the first down, gave us an opportunity to go score.

Q. Bobby, your defense several times had to come back after turnovers, make big plays. They kept giving you a chance.
BOBBY PETRINO: They did. We had opportunities to win the game. I was proud of how they hung together, adjustments they made on the sideline, understanding what they were trying to do, what we had to do to stop it. They did a good job of blocking. They're a good football team. There's no question about that.

Q. Bobby, does Lamar have anything left to prove in college football and anything to gain by coming back?
BOBBY PETRINO: Yeah, I don't know. I'd love to see him come back, there's no question about that. I think what Lamar needs to do is sit down with his parents, really try to understand what would better develop me. There's been guys that come back for another year, play in the same system, and do great. I think a guy like Carson Palmer who came back, because he's in the same system, he really separates and excels, and does that.

He really needs to understand where his draft status is, what the finances are that go with that. Him and his mom, we'll get people around him to help him make the decision. But they just need to make an educated business decision. He's an unbelievable player, a great person.

Q. Lamar, earlier at the press conference you said you decided to play in this game because you felt you owed it to your teammates. What has it meant to be a part of this team this year?
LAMAR JACKSON: We faced some adversity at the beginning of the season. The way my team bounced back, I just owed it to them. Ain't nobody special. We're the same. It's a team game, not no single person.


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