Nov. 11, 2017

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Western Carolina head coach Mark Speir

Opening comments:
"It was a disappointing loss. It hurts for our seniors, our fans, coaches and this university. So much went into this game. We talked about it being a Game 7 type of situation. But credit Mercer, they did a nice job and made the big plays. It boils down to two takeaways versus one takeaway. The fake field goal and kickoff return were big."

"I hurt for these seniors and our program because this was the next step in moving our football program forward. The character of our football team is going to show up this week. We are prepared to work for the North Carolina game and try to win a football game."

"I just hurt of these seniors. Too many big plays in that ball game. We didn't deserve to win that ball game. This senior class is special one of the all-time winningest teams in Catamount history. In a month from now, we will look back and be happy. It is hard right now. But I am thankful for them. The good Lord put us all together to do something special. These guys have had a lot of victories on the field and off the field. I'm proud of this whole football team. It is hard to know what to say. They will be looked on as a great class. Now we've got to go finish."

"This senior class is special -- they may not feel it right now, but they are."

On the possibility of a playoff berth for his team:
"It is not in our hands. If you win tonight, you feel like you are in pretty good shape. Seven (wins) makes you eligible. We just have to go play our best ball against the University of North Carolina."

On the magnitude of going to Chapel Hill to play North Carolina:
"A lot of these guys grew up Tar Heel fans and they will be excited to go play, just like last year at South Carolina when we had nothing to play for. I know our guys will rebound and they will play as tough as they can. We can either say we had a nice run or we can go battle. All we can do is control what we can control and then next Sunday figure out if we get to play more or we don't."

Senior corner back #35 Keion Crossen:
On preparing for final game following the loss:
"We have got to worry about the next day at hand which is Sunday, and then we have to worry about Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Then we can worry about Saturday and North Carolina. It is an opportunity. We are looking forward to it. We've got to move forward and go try to get our eighth win."

On whether or not big game nerves affected the team's play:
"I don't think it was nerves so much as guys making sure they had everything right. It is also tough when you play a team that doesn't have anything to lose like Mercer. We just started off a bit slower tonight than we usually do."

On his memories of being part of this WCU senior class:
"The coaches here push us. We are motivated to win. We have got a great senior class, great junior class, great sophomore class and great team of people. We're just trying to build a great future for this program."

Senior running back Detrez Newsome:
On how big next week's road game at North Carolina is:
"FCS teams have beaten FBS teams. The Citadel beat South Carolina and that got into them into the playoffs. We don't know if we are in the playoffs or out right now. We are not going to worry about that. We are just going to worry about our next game."

On being a part of the 2017 senior class:

"The coaches have pushed us hard to work hard every day since I got here. Since spring 2014, we've been working. We just want to be that legacy for all the other guys to build on."

Senior wide receiver Terryon Robinson:
On looking ahead following the loss:
"This hurts but we have to focus on next week and be ready to play. No one on our team had been in this situation of playing for the playoffs so it is different. We were prepared and we just came up short. We've got to finish strong and be ready for next week against North Carolina."