Oct. 18, 2008
Head Coach Phillip Fulmer: "It's almost indescrible the difference between winning and losing. I want to say a special thanks to the team who did one heck of a job this week preparing, staying the course and working. To the coaches, for the work they did during the week and especially tonight we got some really nice work done. There is still much to be done, but I think this is something we could build-on and build the confidence of the football team. The energy from the team and the stadium in the second half when we finally started making plays (was great). We have sometimes been our own worst enemy. We had no turnovers tonight and one penalty for the evening, and if nothing else, that's great progress.
"We were able to run the football and run the clock out as we wanted to. We had some big plays during the course of the ballgame. Denarius Moore again made a play that really made a difference in the game. I don't know if I've ever seen anybody like Eric Berry. It's amazing what he does when he has a football in his hands and the spirit that he brings to the team. I was really proud of the captains that the team elected during the course of the week, and I think it says something about their character and the type of young men they've chosen to lead them. It was a good thing that the team took heart in.
"Nick (Stephens) made some plays running the football, and I wouldn't have bet on that in an SEC football game. I was glad to see that says a lot about him as a competitor. He continues to manage the game well and made some really nice throws tonight and played well for us.
"Overall, it was just a fantastic win for us. That win is something to build on."
DB Eric Berry: "Today was a great team performance. I feel like our practice this week had a whole lot to do with that. We had more physical practices and we were having fun getting back to basics."
On breaking the SEC career interception return yards record...
"On the interception I was headed to the ball and I think Ellix (Wilson) tipped it and it went down hill from there. As far as breaking the record, I feel like it's really a team effort as well as an individual effort. We're getting great pressure up front week-in and week-out and doing great blocking down the field after the interception."
DE Wes Brown: On the interceptions being the result of defensive pressure: "We have to work together. When we can get pressure, we can force errant throws by the quarterback. We can get the ball in the hands of guys like Eric Berry and Demetrice Morley. It goes hand-in-hand. We get pressure, and sometimes they cover our backs in the secondary."
On his performance: "I felt like I did alright. I was happy for the team because we had a great week of practice. It was physical but we had a lot of fun."
QB Nick Stephens: On the offensive line play: "Tonight the offensive line did a great job. The running game was fantastic and we controlled the line of scrimmage. The passing game fell in line, but the offensive line did a great job and that's what it really came down to."
On his progress through three starts:
"I was about as comfortable as I have been. I knew what we were capable of and I knew what our offensive line and running game were capable of. We went out tonight and executed and in that part of the game and it felt good to come away with a win like this."
TB Lennon Creer: On the running game: "Before the game, coach Clawson challenged the offensive line to basically go out there and have a good game. I think they made up their mind to go out there and do better. They got push on every play and that got the running game going."
On being the go-to back on the last scoring drive: "It feels good. It just goes to show that they have confidence in me to go out there and make plays."
Mississippi State Quotes
Head Coach Sylvester Croom: "I'd really like to congratulate coach Fulmer and Tennessee for their victory tonight. The kids played hard and they fought and made the plays it takes to win games. I was pleased with our guys, with the effort that they showed and the way they fought during the game. We had a chance to make plays and what I told them I was proud of them before we got here and the way they prepared and I'm still proud of them as we leave the game. I'm disappointed that we lost because we had our opportunities; we were so close on a couple plays in the first half and we just didn't make them. Then we had two critical turnovers and a talented team like Tennessee and anybody in our conference for that matter but, especially a talented team like that on the road; you can't turn the ball over for points and expect to win."
(On Tennessee's defense) "This is a talented football team. I think this team is more talented than the one last year, I really do. Particularly at defensive front."
(On Tennessee's running game) "We didn't tackle well at times and at times we did. But again, they've got two very talented backs and they've got a big, strong offensive line. Our defense did well in the first half. In the second half drive, the opening drive, I think they wore us bit there. I think that's were a change started to come."
"Again, this is a talented Tennessee football team. I know in some areas they're not as strong as normal and in some areas they are better than they normally are. But, the bottom line is we didn't make plays when we had opportunities to do so.
Derek Pegues, FS: "We let them have a couple of big plays. They ran the ball a little bit better in the second half and they were able to hit a couple of plays in the passing game. They went down with the first drive and they asserted themselves. They played physical and were able to get the ball in the end zone."
Tyson Lee, QB: "We didn't make the plays that we needed to and we turned the ball over; that's pretty much it. The defense played well but you just can't turn the ball over and hurt yourself like that."
(On interceptions) "I threw to the wrong person. It was bad decisions on my part, I think tried to force the ball when I shouldn't have. I hadn't been doing that and guess trying to make something happen; I should have just thrown the ball somewhere else."