Views from the locker room

WR Brandon Smith

Wide receivers Erik Davis and Brandon Smith sorted out their emotions in the press room Saturday after Vanderbilt's loss to Rutgers. Both Davis and Smith had big catches in the game, but the team fell to 1-4 with the 37-34 loss.

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Junior wide receiver Erik Davis: 2 receptions for 42 yards and a TD

Q: This sort of cuts your heart out, doesn't it?

A: Oh yeah, definitely. I have a lot of stuff on my mind, but the coaches told me not to say it. So I guess I'm just going to remain silent on that.

Q: Have you ever lost one like this after being up so much? In high school or anything?

A: Not in my career. This is a first for me. I think that's why it hurts so much.

Q: Do you think it's possible the team sort of mentally let up a little bit? You were up 27 to 3. The crowd seemed like it thought the game was over. Do you think the team maybe did the same?

A: Definitely. I think there was a lack of execution in the end. Too many mental mistakes. Too many mistakes in general, and we paid for it.

Q: Jay was very successful at hitting the long pass tonight. Was that something that before the game you thought was going to be open?

A: I think it was a matter of, you've just got to take chances. We came through on their defense tonight, and it was a good night for our receivers and quarterbacks. Hopefully we'll be taking a lot more shots like that.

Q: Offensively you moved the ball well in the first half. It was one of the better halves you've had all year. Then in the second half the offense seemed to bog down. Any ideas as to why?

A: As any college football team does, they're going to make adjustments. They adjusted well. I mean, they pretty much had a bead on what we were doing in the second half. Props go to them, because they played an excellent game. They didn't get disturbed or anything like that. They were poised, and they came back and won the game.

Q: That first touchdown of the second half, that one went to you right over the top going full speed straight down the field.

A: It was a beautifully thrown pass by Cut. It was just a regular slant route. You have to adjust it depending on how far the safety comes up. I kept it high, and he just hit me over the top of the secondary.

Q: Talk about your emotions inside the closing seconds. It looks like you're up by 10, and then all of a sudden you see the flag on the field after everyone's gone down the field. What was that like?

A: It was a knife in the chest. It hurts, kills, any adjective you want to use, we felt it. I wasn't at the line of scrimmage. I don't know if he was across or not. Obviously we're going to be biased and we're going to say he wasn't, but we weren't back there. None of the receivers were. Cut tells me he wasn't. So I'm going with what he says over what any ref tells me. But a call is a call, and we've got to live with it.

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Senior wide receiver Brandon Smith: 5 catches, 130 yards, including a 71-yard reception

Q: What did Coach Johnson say to you after the game?

A: To keep our heads up, and not to let this get us down, and just to get ready for next week.

Q: What was the mood of the speech he gave you?

A: It was just mental attitude. Try to keep our heads up. He just wants us to be enthusiastic about everything, you know what I'm saying? Not to come back tomorrow with out heads down, but to put this one behind us and get ready for next week.

Q: How hard is it for you guys to come to a practice the next day, after losing a game like that?

A: It's hard when you lose one like this. You get them down by 17 points in the first half, and they come back and score 34 points in the second half. It's rough, but we've just got to keep our heads up and get ready for next week.

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