Army head coach Rich Ellerson
(Ref.: opening statement)
"What we're going to talk about as a football team is that we've played just well enough to give ourselves a chance to bring winning football back. We get one more opportunity. We sit here at 6-6. I know we want to talk about what just happened, and I've got to somehow, some way, get everybody focused on that. We've been saying for 23 months to stay together and bring it back, and 'bring it back' means winning football. We have stayed together and we've competed. We don't compete well enough. We didn't play well enough. We didn't coach well enough when you're playing a really good football team. What we proved to ourselves is that we can play with a really good football team. We haven't played with them for 60 minutes, and you have to play all 60 minutes. We can go on and talk about a play, and there are all kinds of one plays in that contest, but that's the difference. The difference is 60 minutes of those suckers. Our guys are in there looking at each other like 'We can hang with this bunch. We can compete there.' But that's not the same as doing it, or not doing it for 60 minutes. Digging a hole for ourselves coming out, not getting a first down for forever and having some balls go over our head and then slap ourselves around a little bit and then we play pretty well. We have a chance to drag ourselves all the way back in, and then you see the power of turnovers."
(Ref.: Navy's success throwing the ball and the impact of turnovers in the game)
"Our guys are battling defensively. We had done some things. We were still playing the run reasonably well. When you do that, when you're committing that much to defend the run, you're going to put some people on islands in the pass game. Give them credit. They threw and caught really well. We need to make some plays on the back end. We crawled back in with turnovers and we shut the door on ourselves with turnovers."
(Ref.: blitzing more on defense in the second quarter)
"They really challenge you with some sets and some unbalanced formations and eligible tackles and things of that nature, so we had to scramble a little bit, formation-wise, to get that pressure. That's the common denominator, that's what you can do to help your secondary. When you can't help them much with coverage when you're trying to defend the option like that and the quarterback's legs, you can defend with pressure. That's what we were trying to do."
(Ref.: why the offense started clicking in the second quarter)
"It's really frustrating. We, frankly, just started playing. Navy has some built-in change-ups and they do a great job running that style of defense, but it wasn't something that we were surprised to see. I think we're still, frankly, frustrated with some of those plays where we're getting six yards and we feel like there needs to be a lot more there. They're hard to block and they fly to the football and they tackle well and they do those things to mitigate when you think you've got them, they play really well and try to mitigate their losses. And when they get you, they get ya. That was frustrating, frankly. I just can't quite put my finger on that because it's the same defense and the same offense. It wasn't any different stuff."
(Ref.: whether Army's performance was a product of playing on a big stage)
"I don't think so, I really don't. Maybe Army-Navy, I'm not sure. I think we competed and fought back and kept our poise. We did not play well, and give them credit. They play consistently well. They're consistently poised, and that's why we have a little bit more of a rollercoaster. I was really proud of our guys. They captured themselves. They didn't let it get away from them. They battled back. They visualized success. They believed. That part of it looks great, and the fact we can run that offense, we can run that defense. Now we need to prove we can do it against a good football team, and that was a good football team."
(Ref.: Trent Steelman's fumble that was returned for a touchdown late in the first half)
"Give the defender credit. A hat goes on the football. I think Trent (Steelman) needs to be a little bit lower. It's quarterback follow. It's first and goal at the three (yard line). We think we're being conservative. Helmet goes on the football, funny things happen, although that wasn't especially funny."
(Ref.: the play of Army senior LB Stephen Anderson)
"Well I think those guys right down the middle. Those are three seniors in Mike Gann, Stephen Anderson and Donovan Travis, right down the middle. If they're not all three having good days, they'll rush for 400 yards. Stephen is a guy that plays. You keep him in the middle of the defense, he'll find a way to the football and he did that. He took some chances, but he took smart chances. Obviously, there's nobody that cares more or loves to compete more than he does and this game meant so much to him."
(Ref.: the play of Army sophomore SB Malcolm Brown)
"That was great to see. He came back and competed. He really prepared well. That was the thing I said about the layoff. It gave him a chance, not only to be well, but to have some practice time. That was great to get his legs out there. You just feel better in preparation for the contest and going into the contest when you have him running around out there."
Senior LB Steve Anderson
(Ref.: Overall feelings after playing today's game)
"I've never wanted a game more than I wanted this one in my entire career. Our team prepared and did as much as we could to feel like we were ready for this game. The way the season went, the ball just didn't bounce our way again. It comes down to going back to work. I didn't beat Air Force and I didn't beat Navy in my entire career here and that's something I'll never get over. I consider myself a competitor. As a team, we consider ourselves able to win any game we go into. Today just wasn't our day."
(Ref.: feeling like you could still win when the score was 31-17)
"Of course, there's not a point that we felt we were going to be out of the game. We know four minutes is plenty of time. Our offense was getting it going. There was some let-down on the sideline, definitely felt that. That's just what we needed, a little spark. If we could have gotten the ball back a little quicker for our offense it could have been a little different ending."
(Ref.: causing Navy turnovers)
"That's what we do as a defense. We're not ranked high in the country on turnover margin for no reason at all. We're very ball conscious, very ball aware. Any time there's a first hit or a guy standing up we're ripping at that ball. That's something we pride ourselves on is being a very good takeaway team. And vice versa, keeping the ball out of the other team's hands. That's just like any other game. We knew coming into the game that we needed four to win the turnover margin to lead the country, that's just part of our game."
Sophomore FB Jared Hassin
(Ref.: Thoughts on playing in first Army-Navy game)
"It's been something I've been looking forward to my entire life. I don't think I missed one growing up. At the same time, it doesn't sit well because so much of the lack of our offense's ability to produce big yards falls on me. I fumbled the ball. I jumped offsides at a critical point in the game. There was so much that I could have done in terms of pass blocking and such to allow the offense to move and produce yards, and get the ball in the endzone. There were a lot of things that, for me, were left out there. It was a great experience, but at the same time it eats at me because every underclassman will attest to this - we love our seniors to death and the fact that we couldn't send them off with a win over Navy, that hurts more than anything else right now."
(Ref.: Facing 3rd and 4 in the second half when he was stopped for a seven-yard loss)
"It's just one of those things where our offense hits so quick and Trent and I are going at it, attacking downhill. I think what happened is I just got my coordinates knocked off. A guy came and smacked me and all the sudden I look up and I'm running at the gray in the Corps thinking something is wrong. I certainly wasn't trying to be somebody special on that play. Like I said, I got turned around and it sticks out as a play I could have done more on."
Freshman RB Raymond Maples
(Ref.: Thoughts on his personal rushing performance)
"It hurts to lose. I played well, but any other running back could have done the same thing. I was just lucky to be in the game."
Sophomore QB Trent Steelman
(Ref.: compared to previous loss to Navy)
"It hurts just as bad as any other loss against them. Just the fact that we were so ready for this game, and we came in and played so hard the entire game, it's just unfortunate. I value the ball more than anything in the world and to see that slip out like that and turn it around for a touchdown was a heartbreaker. This team never lets down; we keep fighting and we'll fight to the end. That's just the mentality we bring to each and every game."
(Ref.: what happened during the fumble on Navy's two-yard line)
"To tell you the truth, I really don't know. I think maybe somebody got in there and punched the ball out but regardless, we had three plays to get the ball into the end zone. I just have to be able to protect it. That's just not part of my game - I value the ball more than anything, I don't really fumble the ball. To see that was just a heartbreaker for me and for the team, but we did a good job coming out in the second half."
(Ref.: making strides this season)
"It goes back to these seniors. They've done a heck of a job going through adversity their entire four years here. The underclassmen, we do everything we can just to send them off the right way and it breaks my heart to let them down like we did. These guys have turned the program around, they set the stone high, the level high, for us to follow for years to come."
Senior DE Josh McNary
(Ref.: defense doing enough to win the game)
"There's always more you can do. You can't feel satisfied with your performance even as a unit, offense or defense, if your team doesn't win the game. Looking back on it, there's always some things we can improve upon. We're going to look back at it, scrutinize every single play. It's times like these where you really look back and reflect in detail, maybe I could have done that a little bit better, maybe I didn't perfect that, my technique on that particular assignment, on that particular play. We're just going to go back and critique ourselves pretty hard. I think all of us are our own worst critics, so we're all going to find something that we definitely could have done better."
(Ref.: how long you'll think about this loss)
"It's the Navy game, it was our last opportunity to beat Navy. This loss will probably be in the back of my mind forever, honestly. Knowing that we do have a bowl game in our near future definitely does bring some sense of relief. We do have a chance to avenge this loss with a win. I think it's a great opportunity at this bowl game to end on a good note and leave West Point on a positive note."
Navy Head Coach Ken Niumatalolo
"I'm just very proud of our team and our seniors. We stressed taking care of the football for the last three weeks, obviously I did a bad job of coaching with all the turnovers we had. We're fortunate we got some turnovers ourselves. The play by Wyatt Middleton came at a big point in the game and was a huge play.
"I'm just very proud of our guys, coach Ellerson has done a great job at West Point and we feel very blessed and fortunate to have won the game."
(Ref.: Turning the ball over four times but still winning by two touchdowns)
"Our kids played hard. We feel very fortunate, obviously, we could have taken better care of the ball. Our defense did a good job and fortunately, we made some big plays in the passing game."
(Ref.: Wyatt Middleton's 98-yard touchdown)
"It reminds me of the play that Josh Smith made a few years ago. They had us reeling there. We preached all week about not giving them a short field, and we gave them exactly that. But our defense stepped up. That's the last thing you want to do, give them a short field. It was a big play by Wyatt and he finished it."
(Ref.: QB Ricky Dobbs' play)
"Coach Ellerson and Army do a great job of pressuring you and we just had to try and withstand it. We got some one-on-ones outside and we just had to take our chances. They have such a high pressure, attacking defense that we had to make sure we had the right protections so we could get some matchups we could take advantage of on the outside."
(Ref.: Nine minute drive in the fourth quarter)
"We needed that. Give them credit, they came back after that drive and battled and then our guys responded. This whole year, our guys continued to compete."
(Ref.: Playing Army)
"Every time you play them you are always concerned. Coach Ellerson has done a great job and they are bowl eligible. They are good, well-coached football team and we feel very fortunate to come away with a W. They've gotten better, but we're not a bad team ourselves."
(Ref.: Beating Army nine consecutive games)
"There have been a lot of players and a lot of people involved with it. We just try to take it one game in a time. We were just playing this game, not any of the games prior. None of those games have any relevance on what happened tonight. We try to take it one game at a time and I'm very, very happy for our young men."