Oct. 1, 2017

Recap |  Final Stats |  Notes

Western Carolina head coach Mark Speir:

Opening Statements:
“I'm very proud of this team. You’re sitting there with your All-American tailback (Detrez Newsome) out; a starting offensive lineman, a fifth-year senior (Tanner) Poindexter out. (Wide receiver) Connell Young not playing. We got beat up after that Samford game. But, these guys came back and had a great week of practice.”

“That was the best defensive performance since our staff has been here. Just commended Coach (John) Wiley and our defensive staff and our players. They flew around; created two defensive touchdowns. Our special teams gave us the ball on the one on the botched fake punt and our offense ended up scoring from the one. So, it was a defense, offense, kicking game complete game. I don’t know if we’ve had that complete of a game since I’ve been here. No turnovers, and that’s something we’ve talked about that we had to do. This was the best, most complete game since our staff has been here in six years, and we beat a good football team here tonight. Chattanooga is a heck of a team.”

On Tahjai Watt’s sack that sparked the defense:
“We sure hope that (Alejandro) Bennifield is okay. I know that he took a shot and didn’t come back. Our thoughts and prayers are with him. But, that kind of authoritativeness set the tempo, and our players just started feeding off of that. The offense fed off of it; special teams fed off of it. I just thought it was the most complete game we’ve played since we’ve been here.”

On the “next man up” approach for WCU in spite of the injuries:
“I always tell them, this program is no bigger than any one person starting right with me. This program will go right on without me; I’m just the fortunate one the Good Lord put here for the time being. Detrez (Newsome) was wanting to go. But we said, it’s a long season. We didn’t want him to go out tonight and reinjure himself. He tweaked his hamstring – and he could have gone tonight. But I told him before the game, ‘next man up. Corey (Holloway) will get it done for us tonight.’ And then I went to Tyrie (Adams) because I was afraid that he would try and be Superman. I just told Tyrie, ‘we’ve got a good football team. Just do what we do, just do your job, don’t try to be on a SportsCenter highlight. But, this team’s got a lot of composure.”

On the overall play of the Catamount defense on Saturday night: “Our defense, they were just lights out. That was as good of a defensive performance that I’ve seen in a while. And to do it against a quality opponent like Chattanooga at their place, I couldn’t be more proud.”