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January 2, 2021

Jacquez Jones

Tampa, Florida, USA

Raymond James Stadium

Ole Miss Rebels

Ole Miss 26, Indiana 20

Q. Jacquez, the defense seemed like it kind of put everything together today. What went into having your best performance of the year on the biggest stage?

JACQUEZ JONES: Really just everybody focusing on and locking in. I feel like we knew we had the ability, but we never came together and really did it, but I feel like this game is just a stepping-stone where the defense can go.

Q. What did you see in practice this week that made you think this kind of performance was possible?

JACQUEZ JONES: Really just -- it's really Coach Durkin. Coach Durkin had us do about 20 walk-throughs a day, so I feel like that helped us out a lot. We knew what was coming, and I feel like we showed it on the field.

Q. The area of vindication, you guys go out there and do this on the biggest stage today, your best performance of the year; how does that feel to maybe show that the defense is turning a corner?

JACQUEZ JONES: It feels great. It feels great. Like we prepare like no other, especially during this bowl. We had the Christmas break, but we came in that Saturday and got right back to work, so I feel like the defense is headed in the right direction.

Q. Jacquez, Cedric making that sack, that's a true freshman stepping up; he's been coming on throughout the year. Just your thoughts on him and how he's come?

JACQUEZ JONES: Cedric is going to be a beast. He's a freshman and he can run like no other, he can jump. That man is going to be special. He's a special talent.

Q. And then Otis getting the interception, this is a guy that waited so long to get on the field. Is that kind of what you've been seeing in practices even when he wasn't able to suit up with y'all, that playmaking ability?

JACQUEZ JONES: Yes, most definitely. Since he hasn't been able to play the rest of the year, he's been out with the scout team, but as soon as he came over he's been all over the field, and that's my roommate so we talk about making plays every day, man. He finally stepped up in the moment.

Q. What was it like when their last play came up empty with about a minute left? You guys have heard all the accolades for the offense all year. What was that like for you guys to be the ones that kind of secured the win?

JACQUEZ JONES: That's what we've been wanting. We knew the game was going to come down to us when the offense scored, so that's what we wanted, and I feel like that's what we got. Big Sam, Ced, all them guys rushing the quarterback, they came and blocked them for us.

Q. What did you and the other leaders say before that last drive to try and secure that last stop?

JACQUEZ JONES: Finish. Finish. That's what Coach loves, that's what all the coaches preach to us, to finish, no matter I know -- during that third quarter we were sitting gassed, but get that second wind, it's time to go. We've got to bring that bowl championship back to Oxford.

Q. You're a vet, man. You've been here a while. Getting this bowl win and getting this moment, what does it feel like to you? What does it mean to you?

JACQUEZ JONES: It's special. It's a special moment for me and the team, Coach Kiffin. I know he just got the extension, so that's a great plus for him. But I feel like this is just a starting point. We're trying to go to a bowl game, beyond a bowl game. We're trying to go to the playoff next year.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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