Jeff Monken, Cole Christiansen, Kelvin Hopkins and Sandon McCoy comment after Black Knights’ third straight loss, 28-21 at Georgia State.
Special thanks to Ken Kraetzer of Sons of American Legion for the postgame videoening statement
Georgia State just made more plays than us. It’s tough when you don’t make them punt all night. We had some chances to get them off the field on third down. We missed some tackles and allowed them to hit some big plays.
Offensively, we didn’t sustain enough drives. We had some fourth down that we didn’t make. The last drive we had the crossing route, we threw the seam a little bit short and we came back to the right in the other direction and we tried to thrown crossing route and it wasn’t there. Probably didn’t read it out as well as we needed to. Could have hit the wheel. We shouldn’t have been in that situation. We have to get ourselves first downs by running the ball and getting ourselves in a manageable situation. We had the fourth down before the last drive that they scored and we had a 3rd-and-5 and ran the flat route and had to throw it out of bounds and ended up punting there. Credit to them, they went down and scored the winning touchdown. Just really disappointed.”
On the challenge of the final offensive drive
“We didn’t sustain blocks when we were running the ball and we didn’t get enough yards running the football. We just have to put ourselves in a more manageable position than 4th-and-8. That’s the bottom line. Just really disappointed.”
On needed one more scoring drive
“Like I said, you have to keep them blocked and we didn’t. They were getting some plays off the back side. We weren’t getting the back side cut off like we needed to and play side at the point of attack, moving more bodies and moving people out of the way. We have to find some answers on how to move the ball better one more time to drive and win the game and we didn’t do it. Credit to Georgia State, they beat us.”
On the plan of containing Georgia State QB Dan Ellington
“Really just try to make him get rid of it and not really make hold it for a long time where they could pick us apart. We didn’t get enough pressure on him. We got to him a couple of times. He had the one on our sideline on the flat on third-down situation. We had pressure coming and credit him, he got rid of it and put them in a 4th-and-1 and they converted. He’s a good player. He wasn’t the only one. They had a bunch of guys make plays.”
On the play of fullbacks Sandon McCoy and Connor Slomka
“I thought they ran hard. We broke out of there a couple of times. I thought Sandon was really, really playing hard and running hard. Disappointed that we had the fumble. JaKobi Buchanan had his first carries of the season and he’s just been practicing really well. He’s a good runner and he got the ball ripped out that one time and they turned it into a touchdown. It was disappointing. I thought those guys tried hard and played hard.”
On what he said to the team after game
“We are at a turning point. We have to turn the tide and persevere through the adversity that we are facing right now. It’s tough. It’s really tough. It’s hard on all of us. It’s hard on those players. It’s hard on the coaches. I thought we practiced really well. I thought we had a great spirit going into the game. We just didn’t execute and that’s the bottom line. Emotion won’t win the game. It will help you perform but you have to execute. We didn’t block them and sustain the blocks that we needed to. We didn’t make those tackles, get off blocks and cover the guys. All those things that it takes to win football games. Our guys played hard but didn’t play well enough.”
On defending Georgia State
“They had a great team and a great plan against use. They made plays and we didn’t. We are playing hard and we are having the best weeks of practice we’ve had ever. The effort is there. We just have to execute. When you play like (Georgia State), we have to get off the field on third down. Right now, we are not getting off the field on third down. (Dan) Ellington is a great player and they are able to spread us out again. These RPO (run-pass option) offenses suck you in on the read of the run and they dink it out on the flat or throw a long ball. I have total faith and confidence in our football team right now. I know the tide is going to turn.”
On how team rebounds after third straight loss
“I said last week was a turning point but I really think this is the crossroad for our team and it’s up to us, the seniors to decide if the tide is going to turn or not. We have a lot of young guys on this football team and I think it’s easy for people who experiencing adversity to hang their heads and say this is the end of our season but it’s not and it’s my job and the other captains’ job and the seniors’ job to grab those young guy and say, ‘We are going to win every game the rest of the season.’ You have to believe that or else it’s not going to happen. That’s what we are saying right now. We just have to make sure that every single person in that locker room is giving their best effort and there’s no heads hanging.”
On the final drive on the fourth-down INT
“Just trying to make a play. It’s fourth down and in a passing situation you just have to give your guy a chance. They had a good defense. They sat back and knew what pass was coming apparently. They made a good play. The defensive back did a good job coming off falling off the backside receiver and coming over and making the interception.”
On offense’s performance
“There were a few drives where we thought we were really playing Army football. We were getting third down and fourth down conversions and we were getting the fullback going and getting some tough yardage in there. A couple of times we had a couple of quarterback sneaks and really earned that yardage against a really good defense.”
On getting through the game physically
“Just playing Army football. We pride ourselves on being tough and that’s what it is. It’s football. You are going to take some hard hits. You have to get up and keep moving.”
On running the football
“The offense definitely came together this game. It started with the offensive line and everybody else followed. I feel like we were focusing on too many of the little things and tonight, we just played like our hair was on fire. We played like we wanted to play and we played hard.
On leaping TD run
“We had drove all the way down the field and I told my offensive line, ‘We are going to get in the end zone,’ and that’s what we did. I knew we were going to find a way. If it wasn’t for the offensive line, I would have got in.”
On the fullbacks production
“Me and Connor (Slomka) feed off each other. I told him that before the game. I said, ‘You do your thing and I’m going to do my thing.’ I just follow him and he follows me right back. It starts with the offensive line and they were getting a great push.