January 2, 2021
Miami Gardens, Florida, USA
Texas A&M Aggies
Hard Rock Stadium
Texas A&M 41, North Carolina 27.
Q. Devon, congratulations on the big game and the MVP award. Will you kind of take us through the way you remember the way you saw that 76-yard touchdown run unfold?
DEVON ACHANE: First off, I've got to thank the O-line for that. You know, it was a counter play. Jalen, No. 85, Jalen Wydermyer, made a great block. I was just following the block because they made it easy for me. I just thank them, and they made it easy just for me to do my job.
Q. At what point did you know that you were going to score?
DEVON ACHANE: I was tripping, I almost fell. So when I broke the tackle and I looked up, there was nobody right there, I was like, ain't nobody catching me.
Q. You talk almost as fast as you run. That's pretty spectacular in its own right. What was it like after you bust those runs, I saw Isaiah Spiller was one of the first guys to congratulate you. What's your relationship with Isaiah? And it seemed like he was almost as happy for you as you were for yourself?
DEVON ACHANE: Yeah, Isaiah he had a little injury but I was glad I was there to come in and help my team. Isaiah, you know, at practice he be teaching me a lot because he's been here a year. As a freshman I needed to come in -- he treated me like I was a little brother to him. He was happier than me than I was supposed to be happy. He's the one -- every time I score he's the first one coming up to me to congratulate me everything.
Q. Did you ever imagine being named the Orange Bowl MVP?
DEVON ACHANE: No, I didn't. I did not imagine. This is an amazing feeling.
Q. We haven't been able to talk to you after games this year yet, so what has your first season at A&M, especially finishing off this way, meant to you?
DEVON ACHANE: It meant a lot. A lot of the stuff after the COVID and everything, it's been a hard season for us, but everybody came through it together as a team, and we grinded it out. I just can't wait for next season and just plenty more.
Q. What's it like sharing the backfield with Spiller and Smith? How exciting is that moving forward, the competition you guys bring?
DEVON ACHANE: It's very exciting because at practice we're all competing with each other. We compete with each other on the field, and it's better and it's good for us to share. Like at practice if somebody messes up, we just get on each other to get each other right. It's always about the little things.
Q. First off, I want to ask you, I don't know if you got to see Jimbo's wheels out there when you guys were trying to give him a Gatorade bath, but with you being kind of an expert on speed, did you know he had that kind of speed?
DEVON ACHANE: I did not. I look up Coach Fisher (indiscernible), and I look up and I never Coach Fisher run like that. Never.
Q. What part of your game do you feel like maybe people don't realize? Has you showcased that some tonight? I know with you everybody talks about your speed, but it seems like you're able to break tackles, as well?
DEVON ACHANE: Yeah, everybody sees me as like a speed guy, but I can do both. I can run between the tackles. When I got here, they taught me a lot. Picking up blitzes, you know, it's just not about being fast. You've got to be physical at some point. That's what I learned coming in this year.
Q. I'm curious, Coach Fisher talked about putting the sour taste in your mouth aside from being left out of the top four teams and focusing on the game at hand here. How did you personally approach this opportunity, especially as a young guy who had not played on a stage like this before, and now that you've won the Orange Bowl, what kind of building block do you think this could be for this program moving forward?
DEVON ACHANE: You know, we were looking at the TV and then when we placed fifth, we all were disappointed at first, but next game we was in the Orange Bowl, so we just focused on this game, and we came out to win. So we're just getting ready for next year and the off-season.
Q. What personally does this game mean to you as you look towards your personal future and the performance you had tonight?
DEVON ACHANE: It means a lot to me. You know, I'm thankful I came in and could be a great asset to my team, and you know, just moving forward, just trying to get better and better, and we're going to take one game at a time.
Thankfully, I congratulate all my seniors. I'm going to miss them so much. Just congratulate my O-line as well. They played their heart out every season, like every game. They ain't called the "Maroon Goons" for nothing. They put in a lot of work.
Q. I was curious, how did you stay patient during the course of the season? I think you only had 31 carries going into this game. Were you waiting for your time? Were you antsy at all? How did you look at that?
DEVON ACHANE: You know, I was patient. I was just waiting on my turn. Everybody -- I'm a freshman, so I know I ain't going to come here and just get all the carries that I want. It's all about just being patient and just waiting on my time.
Q. What is it like playing for Jimbo Fisher your first season there at College Station?
DEVON ACHANE: He's a great coach. It feels like you just watching him on TV, now I'm actually like talking to him every day. That's a great coach right there. He pushes us hard at practice, and so in the game it comes a lot easier to us.
Q. I was wondering if you could just touch on what this game meant to you and being named MVP, especially with you coming in as a freshman and then what it also means for you for the future.
DEVON ACHANE: It means a lot to me. When he came up to me and told me I was MVP, I was a little nervous. I had to get up on the stage. I'm a freshman, so it was a lot to process.
For next year, just hoping to get better and many more games just like this.
Q. Why does it seem like you guys save your best for the fourth quarter? Down by seven and then rattle off 24 straight?
DEVON ACHANE: You know, we were down, came to halftime, talked about it as a team. We never point fingers at each other. We always talk about lions, they're the pride. That's who we is. We always work together. We came out and the defense got a stop and we converted.
Q. Is that kind of just sum up what this mean was about this year, just kind of grind it, no quit team?
DEVON ACHANE: Yes, sir, that's exactly what it is. We always talk about finish, and that's exactly what we did.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports