WILLIE FRITZ: First off, I want to congratulate North Dakota State. They really, really played well, outstanding football team, very well coached, very good athletes, and that's a good combination, obviously, but they also play extremely hard. Excellent
job by North Dakota State. We give them plenty of credit.
I thought we had some opportunities. The ball didn't bounce our way a couple times on some big plays. But they did a very good job and really ran the ball well against us. I want to give them a lot of credit for doing a sensational job.
Proud of our guys, had a great season, hard to get here, and I talked to them in the locker room about we've got to find a way to get over the hump. So that's something we're going to be working on in the off season.
Q. Darius, can you just talk about your emotions that you have right now?
DARIUS TAYLOR: It hurts. You know, you get back a second time, and to not be able to finish again, this being my last year, I'm never going to play with this group of guys again, and I just you know, for the young guys and the guys coming back, just
keep working hard and good things will come. I told them all in the locker room keep their heads up, I love them, and I told my seniors that it's been a great four years with them. I love them like my brothers, and they know that, and I expressed it to them
after the game. I just want to say to Coach Fritz I love him, Bearkat Nation, I'll miss it, but it's been a fun ride.
Q. Coach Fritz, you talk about the running game. It really seemed to get going in the second half. Was there anything different going on?
WILLIE FRITZ: Well, they had some new wrinkles, I thought they did a good job in the passing game and the running game, some things they showed a little bit, but they ran a lot more today. Really did a good job with the G stretch or whatever you want
to call that play. They ran both strong and weak, just kind of out populated you over there with some blockers. We didn't have real good fits.
Most everything we'd seen. They did a good job of formationing us at times, getting some extra bodies out there. When you pull a bunch of people, you just create a whole bunch of new gaps. You've got to have guys that can get over and fill those gaps,
and we didn't do a real good job of that, especially the second half. They've got good backs, also. Their two backs are very good backs.
Q. Coach, you had a touchdown taken away by penalty and a couple other big plays. Do you kind of feel you let some scoring chances get away from you?
WILLIE FRITZ: Yeah. I'm more disappointed in some of our penalties that we had, pre snap penalties. I tell the guys all the time once the ball is snapped, all the decisions made out there are subjective decisions. There's not a lot you can do about
it. We'll have to look and see if it's a good call or not; I'm not sure. But there were some opportunities there that could have gotten us back in the game, an answer or two to a score they had, but it didn't bounce that way. We didn't get that call. You've
got to fight through that, and we didn't.
Q. Question for Richard, actually a two part question. The way you guys were moving the ball in the first half, can you talk about that success, and also, what the sense was at halftime, how you thought the game was going when you got that touchdown
drive at the end of the first half?
RICHARD SINCERE: I mean, we felt good as an offense the first half. We knew that we needed to just play clean and play smart and that we would be successful.
I mean, we just have to stay focused and stay in the ballgame, and like I said earlier, just play smart and play clean.
Q. Coach, tough way for Darnell to end his career, get hurt in that game. What was the injury, and how much did you feel like that affected the defense in the second half?
WILLIE FRITZ: I don't know what the injury is right now. Obviously it's going to be something because he's a tough kid and he would have tried to play if he was able to. You know, he's a big part of our defense and our team, and obviously when you lose
a two time All American it hurts you. But we've got to fight through that, continue to keep playing, and we just didn't do a good job of that.
Q. Just talk about not getting Tim Flanders on track like you're accustomed.
WILLIE FRITZ: Well, they did a nice job. They crowded the box and they also did a good job out on the perimeter. The runs on him, obviously we had the crease on the one play that they got called back. I thought Tim did a pretty good job. I don't know,
they controlled the line of scrimmage. It opened up some play pass, they threw some, they had some success with it, had some balls we'd like to get back, make some great decisions at times. But they did a very nice job. Got an excellent defense, no question.
Q. Coach Fritz and Darius, you mentioned the defense, North Dakota State's defense. I wanted to just ask how does this defense compare to the defenses that you've seen this season so far and to the ones that you saw last season in the championship game?
WILLIE FRITZ: Well, we'd compare them with A & M and Baylor. They stay over the top, tackle real well, don't make very many mistakes, got to earn every yard you get. They do an excellent job.
RICHARD SINCERE: Like Coach Fritz said, they are smart on that side of the ball. Everybody pretty much gets where they're supposed to be and when they're supposed to be there. It's just tough yardage that you have to get, but on our side we've just
got to be smarter and play harder.
Q. I wanted to ask coach, you talked about some of the opportunities you guys had. Obviously you had a 4th and short you didn't work out. Talk about the play call and what went wrong there.
WILLIE FRITZ: It was a play action pass, it kind of got picked and (inaudible) they blitzed it (inaudible) two guys kind of ran into each other.
Q. Darius and Richard, twice you guys get to this final game to get to the championship. What did you guys say to each other and the rest of your team when the game ended today?
DARIUS TAYLOR: I just told them to keep their heads up, it's been a fun ride, and I told them they know what it takes for us to get back here. I told the young guys, the red shirt freshmen, that they have the opportunity to do it again next year, I don't,
and I told them just keep fighting all season, just keep grinding and it'll pay off.
RICHARD SINCERE: We all pretty much the seniors told everybody else on the team keep their heads up because the coaching staff will come back in the off season and do a great job of getting us prepared.
Q. Coach, looking at the last two years, physically this game, though, had a lead last year at halftime, tied this year, and I think if I do the quick math, it's 49 3 they've outscored you in the second half. Is that a credit to them and the adjustments
they've made? Is it something you guys haven't done when you look at the second halves of those games?
WILLIE FRITZ: Well, they've done a great job. I want to give them as much credit as you can. They've done a super job and I've got a lot of respect for their program. One of the things we talk about at Sam Houston, we have a plan to win, and the first
thing in that plan to win is turnover takeaway margin. In my 20 year career as a head coach, we're plus one and we've won 92 percent of our games, and minus 4 today. You're just not going to win with minus 4. We didn't do a good job with they had some
timely interceptions and we didn't get any takeaways. It's just hard to win. If it would have been zero, I think it would have been pretty close. So that was a big statistic in the game, along with the rushing, as well.
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