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What Jedd Fisch, Jayden de Laura and Jacob Manu said after Arizona's loss at Mississippi State

arizona-football-Mississippi-State-bulldogs-Wildcats-postgame-jedd-fisch-delaura-manu Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images

The Arizona Wildcats fell to Mississippi State in overtime Saturday night. Our recap of the game can be found here. After the game, Arizona coach Jedd Fisch, quarterback Jayden de Laura, and linebacker Jacob Manu spoke to the media. Here’s what they said:

Fisch on his overall takeaway from the game: “Great football game, where two teams were certainly felt like a heavyweight fight. Certainly felt like both teams were getting after it back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. They did a great job of taking the ball away early. First (four) possessions. And then after that, I think everything settled down. We ended a yard short, but what I’d say is our defense absolutely battled every single snap. Thought our defense had a fantastic game. I know that there’s always gonna be a play here, a play there. But when you look at what we did, how we kept that offense contained, how we made plays on the ball, how we kept them to a field goal there at the end, all of those things indicated to me that our defense is playing really, really good football right now. And then I would say in terms of Tyler Loop coming in kicking a field goal with two seconds left, tying the game up. No flinch. His is kickoffs were great today, and altogether, I would just say that we just ended an inch short.”

de Laura on the first quarter turnovers: “Man. Credit to coach and the rest of the staff and everybody else who had help in handling me. Last year I probably would have dealt with it differently. But you know, I really thought of it, balls wasn’t bouncing the right way, I guess. It was always bouncing up and towards one of their players. But I gotta be cleaner. Can’t turn over the ball in the first three possessions, four times, but I mean, I just knew that we had four quarters to play, so we couldn’t give up in the first quarter.”

de Laura on how he would have handled the mistakes last year compared to now: “Oh man. You can ask coach Fisch. It would have been hot. I would have shut down. I would have just went into a little box.”

de Laura on Tetairoa McMillan’s impact, especially in the fourth quarter: “That’s T-Mac for you. You guys are a practice. You guys see the crazy things that he does and crazy catches. Game’s on the line and gotta get him the ball more. Gotta get him the ball. That’s just who he is.”

Fisch on being so competitive despite the turnovers: “Well, I mean, I give credit to these guys. I think Jacob Manu has led that defense in a way that there was just no flinch. I mean they just went back out. We turned it. over, they went back out and did everything they could to keep it to 14-0. And then we scored to make it 14-7 at halftime. You walk into halftime, you can’t believe the score based on the way the game was going but it’s because the way our defense played. Jacob made 12 tackles, (Justin) Flowe made 12 tackles. So you got guys that are just battling and making plays. This is a team that’s very resilient. We expected to win this game. We came in here expecting to win this game. We did not come in here scared. We did not come here concerned. We thought we were bringing a really good team. Coach (Steve) Spurrier once said, ‘how do you win on the road? You bring a good team.’ And I felt like we were bringing a good team here. And I still feel that way. And that was a great game. I want to give credit to them though. Their defense is one of the best in the country. Their defense is one of the best, I know statistically they’re in the SEC, and they make it hard every single play. It is not a defense you see a lot, it’s not a defense you go against a lot. And Zach Arnett has done a fantastic job and hats off to him as well.”

Fisch on Flowe’s progress week to week: “I think it’s because of guys like Jacob and coach Nansen and coach Van Horn, and those guys are working with him every single day. He’s in his third system in three years. Not many people have to deal with that. He’s missed 20 games because of injuries in his first two years or whatever the number is. The fact that Jacob’s with him all the time, the fact that Jacob communicates with him all the time, that coach Van Horn’s up there with him, and coach Nansen has done an incredible job of finding out what these guys do well and doing that. And that’s what I give the most credit for. And I think it’s fantastic to watch him do it.”

Fisch on what he told Jayden after the three first half interceptions: “I told him what I tell him all the time. I love him, I know he’s the best quarterback, one of the best quarterbacks in the country and things happen sometimes. And so what. Figure out a way to go win the game.”

Manu on Flowe’s impact in the game: “I mean, he came in he was ready to go. He knew what he had to do, as you can see he showed up.”

Manu on his relationship with Flowe: “We’re real close. You can ask him, if you ask him who the best player is, he’ll tell you me. ... He brings all the juice. He’s our juice guy. He’s gonna bring it all the time.”

Fisch on whether Flowe might crack the starting lineup: “I don’t know. We’ll have to watch the film. I think Daniel (Heimuli) has done a very good job for us as well. I think we’ve got three really good linebackers and some young ones behind them. And I think what we’re beginning to see here is we’re beginning to see the depth we’ve been trying to build. I mean this has been a build this program. We didn’t just come here and just snap our fingers and it happened. We had to work really hard to get the right people in place. And we have the right people in place. We have the right offensive players, the right defensive players and the right special teams players. Some are young, some are a little older, and we’ve got to figure out the right combinations every single time, but we’ll certainly see more of Justin, I’m sure. We’ll have hopefully everybody healthy for next week. That’ll be our goal. We’ll keep working and keep trying to get better and keep finding a way to be who we say we want to be and who we believe we are which is a team that’s not going to turn the ball over, be disciplined, and score touchdowns in the red zone.”

Fisch on Arizona’s health for next week: “I have not spoken to the trainers yet. At this point, It’s kind of still setting in, but it seemed to me that we should be okay from what I understand and what I’m aware of right now. We’re waiting on a couple guys. See what happens with (Dylan) Wyatt, see what happens with (Treydan) Stukes, see what happens with (Raymond) Pulido, but I believe those are the three right now that we have to be aware of.”

Fisch on how Arizona performed in the middle eight: “We tied. Not good enough. We went up seven points and then we had the ball to go 14-0 and we went three and out and they scored. So that’s not what you want to do in the middle eight. You gotta get to that 14, you got to get to that 10. We can’t go three and out to start the second half. I love that we scored to end the half but we got to start the second half with a touchdown or field goal.”

Manu on the Mississippi State crowd: “I thought it was cool. I liked how their fans came and how everybody had their cowbells. I thought it was a good atmosphere for them.”

Manu on whether the cowbells disrupted communication: “Not really. That’s what was big for us, communication. I felt like we did a decent job.”

Fisch on how Mississippi State’s environment can be a model for Arizona: “I would say something on that though. I think this is an incredible environment. And I don’t think there’s any reason at all why Tucson can’t have the same environment. There is no reason why Tucson and Starkville why there’d be a difference in environment, and I don’t see a reason why if we have a white out and we want to load the place up, if our students want to stay all the way till the end, if our fans want to come early and tailgate and enjoy the atmosphere. I mean we are a college town just like Starkville, Mississippi is and just because they’re located on one side of the map and we’re on the other, I hope that our fans show up on Saturday night and for the rest of the year in the same way that these guys showed up tonight. It’s a great atmosphere. It makes college football special. We’ve now got five of these left at home. We’ve got 10 total. I mean we need all of our fans, and why wouldn’t you come to a great football game with a great football team?”

de Laura on playing in front on the cowbells: “You know it was good. Once in a lifetime atmosphere to play in, especially in college. It’s good energy, but I feel I’ve played with places that’s brought this type of energy. Like when I played up at Eugene before, played up in Utah, you know, Pac-12 brings the same energy.”

Fisch on how Arizona’s defense fared against an SEC opponent: “I think our defense stood up to the test and went punch for punch. I’m more disappointed that our offense at times didn’t do the same. We ended up doing it. But I would say our defense, they accepted the challenge and our defense is just going to keep getting better and better and better and better. And we’re going to have one of the better defenses in the Pac-12. And that’s the goal. And that is not going to change and we’re going to embrace these. As I’ve always said you either win or you learn. We got to learn from this. But we’ve got to accept the fact that we got a defensive squad that loves football and if you love football, good things are gonna come your way.”

Fisch on how Arizona’s depth helps with endurance: “I think it certainly helps. The more fresh you can be the better pass rush you can have, the better pass rush you can have, the harder it is to convert on third down and they tried to stick some runs in there and I think we did a great job gobbling up the run game on third down. And this game could have gone either way and unfortunately for us it went to them.”