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January 2, 2020

Tom Allen

Peyton Ramsey

Jacksonville, Florida

Tennessee - 23, Indiana - 22

TOM ALLEN: Just want to start by saying how proud I am of our football team and the way they competed and battled tonight to the bitter end. Obviously very, very disappointing to have a fourth-quarter lead and let it slip away. But not going to sit here and point fingers and blame. You just at the end of the day, it's my responsibility for us to find a way to win the game. We didn't do that, but it doesn't take away from what this team has accomplished this season and all the things they've done that haven't been done in a long, long time here at Indiana.

Really proud of the guy sitting next to me. He just played his heart out and fought and scratched and clawed to try to find ways to make plays. But it's a 60-minute game, and all three phases have to rise up and finish the game off when you have those opportunities. We were not able to do that, and hats off to Coach Pruitt and his team for battling and finding a way to win at the end by a point. It's just kind of one of those games where you hate to see any team lose. They fought so hard. A lot of respect for what they do and how hard they play. Big, physical team, but I'm proud of our guys, so just got to learn from the things that happened and press on.


Q. They went for that onside kick after their first touchdown. Did you have your hands team on there?
TOM ALLEN: We didn't. We talked about it. They obviously didn't show an onside kick formation, just did it from the normal look. We could have and probably should have, and that's our fault. But we went over it on the sideline that they would do a possible middle dribble, but it's 4:20 to go in the game, down by six. Their defense had played well enough to where, it wasn't like you say, hey, this is just an automatic situation. But we did discuss it. Hindsight is 20/20; wish you would have had them out there. But still, at the same time we didn't and they got the ball. But we didn't react very well even though we went over it and kind of felt like it was a possibility, just to be ready for it. They could have kicked it deep and decided to play defense. That was obviously a key play in the game.

Q. Peyton, we saw you do it all tonight. You were a magician at times. To come up that short in that fashion, how do you describe what you're feeling right now?
PEYTON RAMSEY: Yeah, I mean, it hurts, especially for those guys in the locker room, those seniors that have gotten us to where we are now. Just one play here, one play there that you look back on and you say, man, if we make that one, it could be a different story. It hurts for sure. Hurts for those guys in the locker room.

Q. Coach, when they decided to take 15 seconds off the clock and the kicker was already in position, did you feel like that might have thrown his rhythm off a little bit?
TOM ALLEN: It did. I know, they did, and it's one of those -- they were explaining to me why they were doing it and I didn't like it, but at the same time there was no question. Any time you have to pause and wait as a kicker, it kind of makes it harder. It was not ideal, but it wasn't anything I could do about it.

Logan has had a tremendous career, obviously had a rough couple last two games, have not been his best. Just one of those things. Didn't execute.

Q. Peyton, the first half they pretty much dominated you guys. But what adjustments did you make because when you came back out it was a different game for you offensively?
PEYTON RAMSEY: I think we just went back to our base stuff and the things we've been good at executing all year long and just kind of locked in and focused and said we've got to go move the ball, and it was more of an execution thing than anything and just getting back to what we do best.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about how the defense responded? Obviously outside of the little late rally, you held them to nine for most of the way and were keeping their big receivers out of it. How did you feel they were doing during the flow of the game?
TOM ALLEN: Yeah, I thought our defense played really well, and obviously at the end there, you hate to give those things up, but yeah, they just continued to battle, stop the run against a big, physical offensive line that I was concerned about. We watched them on film getting movement against some of the best in the country consistently, and we're a very young defense, mostly freshmen and sophomores, and extremely young on defense. I was concerned about our D-line going into the game. I thought they played extremely well, and I was worried about their big receivers, as well. I thought that Coach Wommack did a great job mixing things up and obviously at the end there you've got to find a way to finish, and I thought all three phases had chances to finish and didn't. But I thought as a group that we tackled well against some talented running backs. No. 3, he's a special player. He's got a different ability to cut and plant and burst, and I think he's going to be a really talented guy that's going to have a great future. But I was worried about him.

So just felt like our guys played hard and competed, and we'll grow from this. It's part of the process. It's been a long time since Indiana has won eight games. We know it's been since 1967 since they won nine, so we were inches away from making tremendous history here in our program and being the first team to win a bowl game in 28 years. That's what makes this hurt so bad is to be that close and realize you had history on your fingertips and let it slip away. But hats off to Tennessee, I have a lot of respect for those guys. That's why you play the game, and it was a great game. Went down to the wire, and both teams were fighting and clawing and scratching. But yeah, I was proud of our defense.

Q. Your thoughts on the special teams play, a missed extra point, not being ready for the onside kick, kind of how would you evaluate it and what do you think -- why do you think those issues --
TOM ALLEN: Yeah, the missed extra point, good grief, how often does that happen with a guy who's an all-Big Ten kicker. The snap was good, hold was good. He just missed it. And then the missed field goal was a tough one, as well.

But the surprise onside kick, that's a tough one to swallow. That's really -- we've got to execute that. Like I said, we had a heads up that it could happen. Guys just didn't react. That's my fault. We didn't get it done right. That's a big, big mistake on our part. But at the same time, special teams it wasn't -- we had a big gain with a kickoff return, as well. So it wasn't our best game on special teams.

Q. You mentioned having a young defense, young team all around. What do you think they can take from experiencing a game like this, to lose this way and learn moving forward next season?
TOM ALLEN: It can be invaluable. Life is a process of learning from things that happen to us, and the things that you go through. We've got to keep developing, keep recruiting, keep doing the things that we're doing that got us to this point, and when you have such a young team they're going to learn lessons from this kind of situation. These guys -- we have seven guys that played in the bowl game, and of those seven guys only five of those guys played tonight because two of those guys were out that had played in the bowl game three years ago. Very, very young team with very limited bowl experiences, and it's been a long time since we played before, and I thought they handled it well, and they were first class all the way here during the bowl experience. Just talking to all the people that were here that they did a great job -- Jacksonville did a great job hosting us and they were first class, but we got a lot of compliments about how our guys conducted themselves and how they handled themselves. They in a new environment with a lot of things going on, a lot of distractions going on around them, they handled it very, very well. With a young team I was concerned about that just because that's new for our guys. But we're building a program that expects to be in these games every year. Haven't been in the past. Tennessee has won more Gator Bowls than we've won bowl games as a program. That's a fact. We've only won three bowl games in our program's history. We're building for the future and that makes this one hurt all the more. But at the same time I'm proud of our guys and the direction that we're going and the way that we're building. We've just got to stay the course. That's what grit is all about, perseverance and passion towards a long-term goal. So we're just going to keep fighting.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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