All Sports Schedule

Bobby Wilder Press Conference Transcript and Video


Below is the transcript for the Bobby Wilder press conference.

Coming off a 37-34 win that would probably take a lot longer than we have today to explain but a very exciting one. It’s always challenging in C-USA to win on the road and to get this win, to beat WKU for the first time, it was a big one for our program. It was clearly the wildest finish I have ever been involved with in coaching. There were 15 plays run in the final 1:32 of the game, there were three plays run in the final nine seconds of the game and then there were three untimed downs at the conclusion of the game meaning there were 0.00 on the clock and there were penalty situations that allowed for two field goal attempts from WKU and then our field goal to win it was the third untimed down at the end of the game. We handled some adversity, some we created ourselves and throughout this football game, this game was similar to our win against Virginia Tech in that it was always a touchdown game, the difference was we were behind at the end.

With 10 minutes to go trailing 27-19, Blake LaRussa got sacked from the blind side, fumbled, they nearly returned it for a touchdown, our defense had to come out on the field on our 28 yard line, get a stop and they did. They got a TFL, they got a sack by Tim Ward. Tim Ward had a couple sacks in this game and then a stop on the third down and forced a punt, that could’ve been the end of the game there it could’ve become two scores. Then our offense went 80 yards to tie it at 27 so now there’s five minutes left. WKU drives, scores and makes it a 34-27 game that scenario I mention started with 15 plays in the final one minute and 32 seconds, we needed to drive the field with one timeout we scored with nine seconds to go. We had to use the timeout, we had to clock it one time, we had to convert a fourth down so there were multiple opportunities where we could have lost this game. Particularly in those final 15 plays, we score to tie it, we kickoff, we are in a situation were in our prevent defense and they've got the ball on their own 30 with eight seconds to go were not going to allow a pass. They run the ball, gain 15 yards with two seconds to go and then we actually stop them on a pass play but we had a roughing the passer penalty and in that situation they brought the field goal team out late, we had a substitution error, they missed the 57 yarder by five yards, that kick was within five yards and landed five yards deep in the end zone. The kicker had a 25-30 mph wind gust behind him so they attempt another field goal. We go with what we call Harper special, we bring Isaiah Harper in, replace one of our defensive players and then we set up a wall on our sideline. So on that field goal attempt 52 yards when it came up short, Harper caught it one-yard deep in the end zone.

Our players beautifully executed the return part of it. Remember if you’re going to attempt the long field goal, you have a lot of guys on your field goal team that aren’t used to tackling or covering. You’ve got some guys that just aren’t as adapt at making the tackle and our guys blocked it well. Harper got all the way up the sideline down to the 17. Then he was forced out of bounds but one of the lineman commited a facemask penalty. The game can’t end on a defensive penalty, they became a defensive team once we started returning the ball. I think as Ted described it, it was just another game. To win it that way, a historic win.

Special teams, obviously the Harper special was the big play but we punted the ball extremely well again. Bailey cate averaged 47-yards on three punts, his last three games have been excellent. Nick Rice 2-for-2 on his field goals so that’s six in a row for Nick. He hit a 45 yarder in the first half and then the game winner from 26 yards into a very strong win.

Defensively it was really a tale of two halves. The first half we did not play as well as we did in the second half. I felt like in the second half we were very good on defense. We actually got a safety on defense. We shut them out in the third quarter until that last touchdown drive. Much improvement from Jordan Young our linebacker who we had to switch from the backer position to Mike. He had 11 tackles in this game and I mention Tim Ward with a sack and a half. Jeremy Meiser with a half sack and those are guys who have not had sacks to this point in the season which has been disappointing and frustrating and has been primarily Oshane Ximines.

Offensively, what i’m most pleased with, is this was our best game running the ball, we rushed the football for 200 yards minus the sacks in this game. We ended up with 180 total. Kesean Strong with 27 carries for 125 yards, two touchdowns. He was very patient running the ball. This is an area we challenged our offense running the ball. Another outstanding performance for Blake LaRussa, 21 for 32, 327 yards he continues to throw the ball well. We continue to catch the ball well. Travis Fulgham with another big game, Duhart, Harper, everybody is pitching in in that area in terms of catching the football. A couple of huge catches at the end and the drive to tie it. Our tight end Keion White with a 31 yard catch down the middle and then Isaiah Harper with a 31 yard catch down to the five, that set up the touchdown. So we continue to perform well in the pass game it was the run game that got us up over 500 yards in this one.

In terms of our opponent this week, Middle Tennessee, they’re 4-3 right now. Two of their losses are to SEC teams. They lost to Georgia and they lost to Vanderbilt, their only league loss was two weeks ago at FIU 24-21. FIU is in first place in the east right now so this is clearly a really good football team. The players, we have to do really well against this week. Brent Stockstill, who is their head coach Stockstill's son. He’s an excellent player, four year starter for them, coming off an injury he had at the end of the FIU game. He played last week against Charlotte, was a little bit limited mobility wise but he’s a very dangerous player. Ty Lee and Patrick Smith. Two receivers combined that have 60 catches and seven touchdowns. Defensively they are active, they are physical, 47 TFLs for 190 yards, 19 sacks, six interceptions. It’s a defense that is on the move and plays hard. Their defense really came through for them last week in their game at home against Charlotte. This is a game we will need to play extremely well in. Going into the Bye week this is a game we need to put everything we’ve got into this in a game I know we will be very excited to play in this weekend.

Q: Was the 2013 Kick Six Iron Bowl the reason you started practicing that play?
A: We began practicing the special since three years ago(arrival of Special Teams Coach Charles Bankins). Everybody became aware at that point. The problem when you do a long field goal in a tie game, you have got the ball and you already know you have overtime. So for Western Kentucky from that standpoint, they have the ball. They can dictate that we’re going to go into overtime, when you do that, you are putting yourself in a situation where we may give them an opportunity to score. What Harper initially did a really good job of is starting straight up the field, and many of their players ended up on the right side because he set that up. The point i'm making is that those guys are not used to coverage lines.

Q: Before the Iron Bowl, were you aware that you could return a missed field goal?
A: Yes, the one thing we always cover in practice is that if the ball crosses the line of scrimmage then it is dead. Unless we pick it up and return it. That’s a live ball.

Q: When you scored that last touchdown was there any thought of getting the two points and getting out of dodge?
A: We work with a company called Champion Analytics and everything in the analytics in this game, because it was predicted to be a close game, the recommendation before the game was to play for overtime. Our plan going into it was to play for overtime because we felt like we’d win in overtime.