Here are a few post-game quotes from UW coach Steve Sarkisian:
Opening statement: “I’m really proud of our football team. We’ve been challenging these guys for 365 days now. Our first team meeting was a year ago this coming Monday and thinking back on that time and where this program was and where those kids were mentally, to where they are tonight in that locker room, it’s really something pretty special as a first year head football coach. I’m proud of our staff for continuing to battle and I’m proud of these kids. This was not an easy season by any means. There was a lot of adversity that came our way and a lot of excruciating losses that these kids had to deal with. They could have easily folded up the tents and reverted back to what they were before and they just battled every single day. They battled day in and day out and got better every single day.
“For me, coming off last week’s game with the shutout and all the things that came out of it – first shutout in 12 years, first shutout in the Apple Cup in 45 years – I’ll be the first to tell you, I was concerned about the way we might respond this week and what we were really playing for. The challenge was to hopefully send a message of where this program is headed and I think we responded amazingly. These kids are extremely resilient, they battled, they competed and I’m so happy for our senior class. To think of what these guys have endured the last four or five years, to have these moments, to have last Saturday and this Saturday, to have a win against USC, those are memories that will last a lifetime and no one can ever take that for them. I’m just very proud of everyone involved in our football program right now. We got a lot accomplished but we obviously still have a lot of work to do. I’d just like to have a couple fourth-and-ones on the goal line and you never know where we might be today.”
On Daniel Te’o-Nesheim breaking the school sack record: “He deserves it. If anyone on our football team or anyone in this conference deserves a record, it’s Daniel Te’o-Nesheim. There’s not a guy who practices harder than him, there’s not a guy more dedicated to a program than Daniel. He deserves everything he gets and he’s going to have a fine pro career ahead of him because he’s going to earn his way. He might not be the highest draft pick but he’s going to earn his way to playing in the National Football League for 10 years.”
On the Cody Bruns pass: “The reality was, that was supposed to be our first play of the game, but I just wasn’t feeling very comfortable with our field position on the first play. When we got to second down, I thought we gotta go for it. We’ve never been hesitant in anything we’ve done here. We’ve been aggressive in everything we’ve done and will continue to be, so I didn’t want to waver. I went with it on the second play, Cody (Bruns) made a nice throw and it was a heck of a play by Jermaine Kearse. He set the tone tonight. The guy made two great catches to start the thing off and get things rolling.”
On Kearse’s big day: “There were some things designed for him. We liked the match up with him and he came through again. He has tremendous ball skills when the ball is in the air. He’s long and he has the ability to high point the football as good or better as anyone I’ve been around.”
On the crowd chanting ‘One More Year’ for Jake Locker: “You didn’t hear me? I was chanting it too. You know, we’ve talked about this for what feels like three months now and nothing is going to change tonight. Jake and I are going to meet on Monday and we’re going to start going through the information. There’s no rush. He’s got plenty of time and we’re going to do this thing the right way so that he feels great about what he decides to do.”
On how good the offense can be if Locker returns: “I think we can be electric. I think we’re coming into our own. It was great that Mykenna Ikehara got his first start at center tonight and played fantastic against a great defensive line. We’re very young. We lose two guys. We’re a very young offense that continued to grow throughout the season and tonight we showed some explosiveness that we can continue to grow on.”