BOBBY WILDER, Head Coach
“I just want to say how excited we are to win the game, but number two how grateful we are for how we were treated this week by everybody associated with the Popeyes Bahamas Bowl – all the wonderful people we met. This was a life-changing experience. We talked about this all week. We made memories to last a lifetime, and to win the game makes it that much more special. But you can get caught up so many times in college athletics with wins and losses that you forget the experiences you have. I met so many people that had nothing to do with this bowl game – whether it was at the hotel, or when we left the Atlantis, it just reminds me how special everybody is here.”
Talk about the enjoyment during the post-game celebration
“That’s always fun, especially when it happens like it did at the end of that game. That’s the first close game we had this year. Our previous 12 games were decided by at least 10 points, and over the last five years we’ve been the best team in the nation in one-score games. To have it happen that way… everything that was critical happened at the end of the game – our defense getting two stops on one drive at the end, and then ending the game with Ray Lawry with the ball in his hands, and the way David (Washington) ran the operation – I think there were about five minutes left in the game when we ran the clock out going down the field. David is so good at that. For a guy who has only played 17 games at quarterback… today he surpassed the number of games he played at wide receiver, which is 16. As of right now he’s second all-time in the history of college football to Ryan Taneyhill in terms of yards receiving (and) passing. That just speaks to who he is, who we are.”
Talk about how the team was picked to finish low in Conference USA and how you’ve come so far to win 10 games.
“When we met in August, these guys set their goals. That (the low expectations) was certainly something we thought about and talked about, but we knew we had to prove it to ourselves before we could prove it to anyone else. I would say after today that we proved a lot to ourselves. This is the most memorable season I’ve been a part of and it’s got a lot more to do with stuff away from football than it does on the field. This is a special group. I know with David (Washington) and T.J. (Ricks), no matter what they do, no matter where they end up playing, professionally, or when they hang the pads up, they’ll always be back. They’ll always be part of this family. I’ve never been a part of a team that liked each other this much — just genuinely liked each other.”
“There is so much we can do. So much this program can accomplish. I’m sure Ray (Lawry) would agree with me – we haven’t won a game yet next year. We haven’t won one game. But what David and T.J. and those guys (other seniors) did was teach us that if you believe in something, you can do something special…. We just won 10 games. That’s pretty cool.”
T.J. RICKS, Sr., LB (Defensive MVP)
Talk about the defensive effort.
“The defense… we just came to the sideline and talked to each other and just told each other to trust each other. You’re our 1/11th on the field. If one guy does his job and everybody else does their job, we’ll be good on defense.”
You appeared emotional after the game. Can you talk about that?
“It’s my last collegiate game at Old Dominion. We went out with a win. This is probably the favorite team I’ve been on since I’ve been here. It just came with emotion.”
On how he has seen the program emerge
“In 2014 we went 6-6. We were bowl eligible, but… it was a transition year. Then last year the loss to FAU was devastating. We just told each other we don’t want to feel like this ever again. So we just, in the off-season, winter workouts, pushed ourselves during camp. We just learned how to play with each other and trust each other.”
RAY LAWRY, Jr., RB (Offensive MVP)
How can you carry the momentum from this win into next season?
“Just ride with the momentum. Just carry it on in the offseason. Go hard in the workouts during camp and get ready for the season next year.”
Is this better than if you had been named all-conference?
“One hundred percent. This is way better. Winning a bowl game, the first bowl game ever, it was a great feeling.”
DAVID WASHINGTON, Sr., QB
This is the third straight year ODU and EMU have played a close game. Can you talk about how you’ve managed to win those games?
“Coach Wilder does a really good job (in practice) of putting up in situations during practice where the score is tied, or we are down and we have to come back or take the lead. So, it just got back to practice and things started clicking like they are supposed to.”
On how he has seen the program emerge
“It’s really special. I know I haven’t been here since the program started, but I’ve been here for five years, when it was young. It kind of feels like it’s my baby. We just took it (the program) to a bowl game, then won the bowl game. It’s pretty special.”