CHAPEL HILL --- Following Florida State's come-from-behind 30-27 victory over North Carolina Thursday night, Seminole head coach Bobby Bowden and UNC head coach Butch Davis talked with reporters.
Bowden was naturally pleased to see his team finally get a win in Atlantic Coast Conference play this fall, while Davis was disappointed but pleased with the way his team fought.
North Carolina Head Coach Butch Davis
"Obviously we're very disappointed in the outcome of the ballgame. It was a tough loss. I thought that our football team was very well prepared. I thought that the way we started the game was the way we had practiced for the last 10 days, the efficiency, the effectiveness, the things that we were doing offensively and defensively and special teams."
"I thought our kids gave a great effort. I hate the way that it ended. The struggles that we had in the second half were not things that we were not anticipating. We talked all week long about Christian Ponder, how good of an athlete he was, his ability to throw the football---I guess he completed 16 passes in a row at the end of the ball game."
"The heartbreaking things sometimes are the things that you do to yourself---the penalties we incurred on some of the special teams that allowed our offense on some of the special teams that allowed our offense to have to start backed up. It's one of the worst things that can happen on kickoff returns is to get blocks in the back and holds and all of a sudden you're at the 10 (yard-line). Now you're 90 yards away. The big pass play was another backbreaking thing."
"You give up a 98-yard pass play that probably is not going to happen if they've got to go 98 yards. We've got them in perfect position, backed up. We need to get a three-and-out and we're going to get the ball inside the 50 yard line and we're doing some good things."
"It was disappointing. I'm proud of our kids' effort. We've just got to bounce back and we've got to continue to build on the things that we did good tonight and continue to grow as a young football team and try to get better for the next one."
"You never like to blame injuries for anything about that way that you played, but some things that we were able to do in the first half, we were not able to do (in the second half). Jordan Hemby got knocked out (of the game), and now you lose your 'nickel' and your 'dime' package."
"Bruce Carter got nicked up and he wasn't able to play, so some of the other packages that you've got and so all of a sudden new guys are thrust into roles that they haven't played very much, whether they kind of lose a little bit if composure on the big stage and didn't play as well as we needed them to."
"A lot of things that you go through as a football program, you can't script this. You've got to go through games like the Notre Dame game where you win at the end of the game. You've got to go through the Connecticut game where you win at the end. A lot of these lessons that you learn are bitter. They're painful. They're not fun to go through, but sometimes you have to go through."
Florida State Head Coach Bobby Bowden
"I told the coaches and I also told the players at the half that's the worst half of football I can ever remember. I've been coaching 55 years. I couldn't believe how we could play so bad. Mistakes, penalties, and fumbles, that was the two biggest things, but really it was worse."
"I told the coaches it was our fault as much as it was the players. But then they came back out in the second half, and then started off with a stinking penalty right there on the kickoff, but then they settled down and played like they are capable of playing."
"It's like I've said in the past---it's no different---you have to win the close games to have a good year. We finally won the fourth quarter. We've lost four fourth quarters. We finally won one tonight, so I'm proud of the boys for coming back."
On the third quarter interception followed by a 98-yard touchdown pass:
"There's no doubt where it (the game) turned, is it? You know, we've had that happen to us this year. The game we lost to South Florida and to Boston College, we had first-and-three on the three, and they went 97 (yards) for a touchdown twice and lost the game. That's a killer. It is a killer. We've been through it twice ourselves."
On the play of quarterback Christian Ponder:
"He's probably the most underrated (quarterback) in the country. Probably. We talk about the 'Super Three' (Sam Bradford, Tim Tebow, and Colt McCoy) up there, which they are, but this kid might ought to be sitting up there with them."
On the openings in the UNC secondary that FSU was able to exploit in the second half:
"I tell you, you'd have to give the credit to our offensive coordinator (Jimbo Fisher), who was calling all the darn plays. The last touchdown he hit on them, how do you know to call that? Except he knew how they were going to respond. There was some good stuff going on there. I wish I could claim it, but I can't."