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December 21, 2018

Kalani Sitake

Sione Takitaki

Dylan Collie

Zach Wilson

Boise, Idaho

BYU 49, Western Michigan 18

COACH KALANI SITAKE: Happy we got the win. Great game. Like I said before, like I said yesterday, just really pleased with these guys and how they played, their resiliency. They are resilient in the locker room at half-time and they have been that way. They have always played hard, really proud of these guys and proud, especially the seniors, and how they showed an example, all of them, and our program, we're looking forward to building on this.

I want to make sure everyone understand, the Bowl prep was a lot of work. We had a lot of fun and we are really thankful to the City of Boise for taking for taking care of us, and the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl and then showing us great hospitality. We enjoyed all the festivities and just had a lot of fun but our guys worked really hard and our coaches and especially our players worked really hard and utilized all those practices, and their hard work is the reason why we won and really proud of them.

We'll open up for questions to these guys to answer, and if you need me. Thank you.

Q. Was there a conscious effort to let Zach loose a little bit in the second half?
COACH KALANI SITAKE: I've been trying to let Zach loose for a long time now. I think an aggressive style of football is what we need to have on offense and I don't know exactly the change, but I think this was really good for us in the second half to see that when teams are going to be committed to stopping the run, that we have to go other ways to getting points on the board.

I was really proud of Zach. Although he finished perfect with his completions, I hope he knows it's okay to throw the ball away once in a while. I don't expect him to -- I said it in the postgame thing, but I don't expect him to be perfect in 2019, but being close would be really nice.

Q. Coach, were you aware of that during the game, later on, that he had not thrown an incompletion?
COACH KALANI SITAKE: No. Had no idea until really the end and they told me about it. You know, I thought maybe Sione would have a good chance of getting the MVP, but after I heard that, and thought Dylan would have a good chance, and Zach -- I've been on the other side of that where we defended some teams that were really efficient as a quarterback and completions.

But it's just nice to be on this side of this and see the hard work, and everyone, I think even the pass protection, all that stuff worked out so that Zach could set his feet and throw the ball.

Our receivers ran great routes. You had guys like Matt Bushman just stealing the ball from the other team. I thought it was really clean with our offense and I thought they were really efficient. It was good to see Zach just throw it and let loose. I mentioned that he's a gun slinger, and that's kind of what we need to let him.

Q. Do what was the difference there as far as what you guys did and having success?
COACH KALANI SITAKE: I don't know, probably just threw it further. (Laughter) is that right, Zach?

ZACH WILSON: That's right.

Q. Question for you, Zach. You came here a few months ago, had that kind of heartbreaking loss at the goal line there. How does it feel to come back here and to Boise and get the big win for your team with that kind of performance?
ZACH WILSON: Yeah I learned more in these past six games than I have my entire life playing football. Starting to get more tomorrow core table with everything in the flow of the game.

I was excited for this game plan going in and I know the rest of the team was and I know the coaches and the players were all on the same page with everything we were doing. I'm glad we get the W on this field and hopefully against Boise State Broncos next time we get the W.

Q. What does it mean to have a big game in your final game for BYU?
SIONE TAKITAKI: I just knew this was my last go around with these guys and these coaches. They have been so good to me my whole career here. I just wanted to kind of go out there and leave it all out there on the field. Every play in my head, I'm like, if I can get this play with back with these guys, so just getting them all.

Q. Zach, did you hear Coach say that when he was asked when he expected from you, that he expected you to play perfectly yesterday? Did you hear that?
ZACH WILSON: No, I actually never saw that interview. Of course, that's the intention of every game plan. You want to come out and try and be perfect. Par.

Q. On a more serious note, the bar you've set with this type of performance, you're not going to sneak up on people when you go 18-for-18, how nice is it to set that bar now and want to improve on this?
ZACH WILSON: Yeah, I think the bar was set probably a little too high for the next Bowl game. I think we really proved ourselves in this game of what we're capable of. We're starting to find that out as an offense and starting to figure out who we are as a team and what we're the best at. It's just going up from here.

Q. Dylan, what can you say about your quarterback and what he did today, what did you think of his performance?
DYLAN COLLIE: You talk about -- I said it from the very beginning, you watch Zach from the time that I arrived in May till today, I mean, all he's done is gotten better physically and mentally; and from the way that he talks to the receivers and coaches, he's constantly communicating. And it was just a matter of time for him. He was able to let go and kind of run the show, and that's what he did today.

Being next to both these guys, you look at the mentality of what it means to be a football player on the defensive side of the ball and very few, very, very few people do it like Sione Takitaki and that's a guarantee.

To see an 18-, 19-year-old kid in Zach Wilson and what's going to happen in the next three years, yeah, he set the bar for himself but I'll go ahead and set it even higher. I truly believe this kid will be one of, if not the greatest quarterback in BYU history, and he's going to do that. He knows that and that's his mentality. I love being around him and love watching him grow.

You like that? (To Zach) I got you.

Q. Coach mentioned it but were you aware you had not missed all day? Were you aware the streak you were going and to be mentioned in the same breath, you came close to guys like Steve Young. What does that mean to you?
DYLAN COLLIE: Yes, he was aware. He came and told me. (Laughter)

ZACH WILSON: To be completely honest, I actually had no idea until they told me I was done playing. When they told me they were going to put Tanner in and give him the rest of the game, honestly it was kind of surprising. The game flashes by so quick. I was way off; I thought I had at least six or seven to be honest. I didn't realize it was that low, but these guys, that's really where everything falls.

A quarterback, you know, you realize that the success for your quarterback comes based on the team around you. My linemen are out there sacrificing their bodies for me, and my receivers are going out there and making plays so that I know 50/50 balls, they are going to make it that one percent better.

Just giving these guys a chance, that's kind of the reason why I had success today was just because the whole team put it together.

Q. Sione, talk about the defensive effort. It was 10-7 at the half-time, and you scored 35 straight and the defense did its job getting off the field. Talk about what your boys did.
SIONE TAKITAKI: It was 7-10 going into the second half, but we went to the locker room and Coach emphasized, "Everyone do their job and we'll be fine" and we felt that, too. That's kind of what we cleaned up and you know, going into the third quarter, just you could see it out there and you know everyone is doing their job and making plays. Everyone fine out there.

Credit to all the guys; all 11 on that D-Line they were taking up blocks and going sideline-to-sideline. Give those guys credit, taking on two guys, and I'm just running free. So definitely, they deserve it.

Q. Can you take us inside the locker room a little bit at half-time because it was quite a difference from the second half to the first as far as what the offense was able to do. What changed and what did you guys do at half-time to produce that second half?
COACH KALANI SITAKE: It was nothing I did. These guys did it all. The players did it. These three and the other leaders on our team look over and I really didn't need to have to say anything.

That's one thing I like going into our locker room, especially tonight, after the first half, we started pretty good and then some things went wrong and we faced some adversity, but I liked the mindset of the players coming in at half-time.

I didn't really need to say much and the right guys were doing the talking and yeah, so there's nothing -- not a miraculous speech or anything. The guys did it, you know, so a lot of credit to them and the relationship that they have with each other.

So I was just proud to see that happen. It was a nice thing. Some of what I've seen in the past, when you have great leadership and when you have guys that are willing to speak and say the right thing and to know that there's a lot of communication and that there's a lot of respect from each other in that locker room.

And so yes, I was really happy. My job was easy. They had already said what needed to be said.

Q. Can you talk about what this performance means going into the off-season heading into next season, maybe the momentum that builds off that?
ZACH WILSON: Yeah, I think this was a must for us. We didn't get the win against Utah but I think we proved a lot with what we are capable of on offense. We wanted to build on that this next game and we knew that we had to play well. I think this is a great momentum building into our off-season.

I think we're going to come out of the off-season with a lot of energy and I know guys are going to be excited about next year's schedule. We're going to be making sure everyone is on top of each other and making sure we are all getting better together and making sure guys are coming out and throwing.

You know, Sione was the leader of that. I remember I came out in summer every single day and he was out there working, and it's paying off for him. I think that's what we need from the whole team this off-season. I think the guys are excited about what's to come for BYU football and we're proving ourselves in the passing game and in the running game. I just hope we excel with that going into this off-season.

Q. We talked yesterday, but what was it like for you to be able to see Tanner complete his career on the field, and you had a bunch of seniors able to get out there and close out the season and their careers on the field. What does that mean for you to have those guys have that opportunity?
COACH KALANI SITAKE: I think it's only right. I thought we were in a position, even though they scored a touchdown, they got a two-point conversion and we still felt comfortable with the game and I felt comfortable with our scheme and the things that our guys are doing fundamentally on the football field.

Yeah, it just felt right. The hard pardon was -- I was trying to run the clock out and I was being a jerk and just saying run the ball, and then, you know, A-Rod and Grimes are just like, hey, let's just let the kid throw. That was kind of the theme of the night. We let him throw.

And I apologized to Tim Lester at the end of the game; that's not what we normally do, but he understood. It was a nice throw and he'll have that memory here on this blue turf.

Yeah, I thought it was the right thing to do, even though, you know, we had some little conflict on whether to throw it or not. But if it was incomplete, then I would have been really upset.

Q. Dylan, does would it mean to you in your final game here at BYU to have this kind of performance, both individually and as a team?
DYLAN COLLIE: It's huge. I think everything that happened from the get-go and the entire season, it was filled with a lot of ups and downs for the team and me personally.

To be able to go after that trial and go after those tribulations that we kind of went through all season long, to be able to come out and just finish out on a high note like this with guys that I genuinely do care about, and lucky to call teammates and friends.

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