Sept. 21, 2013
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -
Utah State Head Coach Matt Wells
"What a hard-fought game. It came down exactly like we thought it was going to. It came down to the fourth quarter. I thought it was going to be extremely physical and that's exactly what it was. I'm extremely proud of those guys. They didn't flinch no matter what was thrown at them. I'm very, very proud for the effort they gave.
"You glance at the stat sheet and you can see it. It's down to the yard. It was an old-fashion gladiator slugfest. Defensively, we played on a short field the whole second half and besides the one scoring drive, we weren't able to flip the field and credit to them. But I'm proud how our guys bowed up in the red zone and on a short field against those guys.
On USU QB Chuckie Keeton
"Obviously not his best game, but we were in the game. The kid gives us a chance to win every time he steps out there. I'm very proud of him. They did a nice job disrupting our rhythm. They got us off a bit. Some of the stuff was covered up pretty good. I wish he would've played better in some areas, but that kid gives us a chance to win and we had a chance to win."
On USC's defensive pressure
"We had time to throw and guys weren't open down the field. It's twofold, whether it's protecting the quarterback or getting open down the field. They present a bunch of problems on the back end and on the front end too. That's a really good front seven."
On USC's defensive pressure after the long USU TD drive and what could USU have done to adjust
"If I had known that question, we'd have done it in the fourth quarter. I thought those kids played well on that drive. We kept trying some stuff. They made adjustments. So did we. If I'd have known that, it wouldn't have been a ballgame at the end. We'd have won by two touchdowns. Credit to their defense. We rushed for 106 yards and it's not enough. But it's over double what they'd been giving up. That's a really good front 7 and they're going to go a long ways if they continue to play defense like that."
On defending USC WR Marqise Lee
"In my 17 years coaching, he may be the best wide receiver I've seen on film or live. He'll have a tremendous year. It must be fun to scheme for him to get him the ball. It was a major challenge for our guys and I thought they held up in a lot of ways."
On the lack of field position
"It gets frustrating thinking that we had that field position, but we create that ourselves. We had every opportunity on offense to flip the field and we didn't do it in two or three of those 3-and-outs right in a row."
Utah State WR Travis Reynolds
"We kind of started slow (on offense), but picked it up as game progressed. We didn't win on third down but we should be winning on third down. (Quarterback) Chuckie (Keeton) kept getting flushed out of the pocket and it made him frustrated a bit."
On USC's defensive adjustments late
"They made a few adjustments. They blitzed on third down. They were sending more than we could block. They felt if Chuckie moved out of the pocket, their chances were greater to stop us."
"Our defense played tremendously. I was telling our offense that with the defensive playing very good, we have to go out there and score. They did their thing today."
Utah State LB Jake Doughty
"The defense had some good plays and stops, but honestly when it came down to it, we didn't make enough. It hurts coming in here. Time and time again in these big games, it doesn't work out for us.
On containing USC QB Cody Kessler
"We called some good pressures and got after the quarterback pretty good. A lot was our DB play. They played great and kept Lee tied up and a lot of those plays were on them. Coverage sacks, giving us all the time in the world to go after them."
USC Head Coach Lane Kiffin
"Very hard fought game today. Very much like what we anticipated watching film on these guys all week long. We knew it was a really good team we were going to play. Anytime you have a great player at QB like they do it's going to be hard to take him out of the game. Their defense has played really tough and really physical. They have a really strong special teams."
"We had a physical week. We were extremely banged up going into the game. Obviously we wanted to finish better in the 2nd half. I felt like there was a rhythm early on. I think what it came down to is we were able to run the ball well in the first half."
On USU's different defensive look than expected
"I think that goes back what we've done through the games. Coming into this game with the ability to run the ball. That's a big part of their normal package and they showed that. They got their running game moving early. You got to hit some of those big plays. There were some bummer big plays either we missed the throw or dropped."
On running the ball after the fake field goal attempt
We just really thought that once again it became 8-man front day and its tough sledding out there. We have to be able to hit outside.
His thoughts on defense
"Another great showing. Four games in a row versus an offense that averaged 50 or 60 points a game. There were 2 plays we got screwed up on otherwise it was just a lights out game. It was really cool to see the way they finished. So many times USU had an opportunity to score but our defense just kept going out there. They have a great quarterback that has given people a lot of problems."
Concerned about the offense not being able to score
"Obviously we want to score every time we have the ball. We weren't able to do that. There were different reasons why throughout the game. We will go back to work and try to get better."
On special teams
"There's some water in that glass. We did stop them on that fake. We were trying to stay explosive and did good things in the first half but obviously there are some things to improve on."
On the number of negative plays
"They have a really good rush. We hit a big play to Nelson on a deep cross down there. Sometimes you get negative plays. We did some good things in the first half and got hit a lot in the second half."
On fixing the passing game:
"That's football. It's going to go up and down and you can't predict every week. Just because you did something well the week before doesn't mean its going go well again. Just because you did something poorly doesn't mean you will do it poorly again. We will go back to work and do better next time. Marqise is not 100% and not even close. It becomes that type of day when you don't win outside."
On keeping Keeton in check as a rusher
"We did really against the rush. Clancy had a great plan going in. We have a physical defense out there. There was a lot of stuff we set out to do in January for this program that is taking place."
On the low score of the game
"Nobody remembers that. That's the topic for the next 48 hours and that's fine. Every team has games like that early on. You got to win those games and we did that today. Everyone says you got to win those games."
Thoughts on offensive performance compared to defensive performance
"I thought the first half was going fine until the sack caused fumble. We had two big drops. Two big plays that we missed on. We were really efficient in the first half. The sack fumble happened and it kind of pulls you back. It became an 8-man front day."