AUBURN, Ala. Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn met with reporters following Saturday's wild game against Georgia, which saw the Tigers come out on top 43-38 thanks to some last-minute heroics by Nick Marshall and Ricardo Louis.
A transcript of his comments are provided below, with video from his postgame press conference at the bottom of this article.
Obviously, unbelievable game the way it unfolded. In the first half, I felt very good about our tempo and the way things were going. I think we had a field goal blocked at the first, and we had to kick a couple field goals, and really that was probably the only negative part of the second half. Third quarter, I thought we did a solid job. Fourth quarter, they started getting the momentum. Theyre a top, tight team theres no doubt. We knew it would be a tough one. With our guys, we talked about, Hey, find a way to win. This team has the it factor. Thats just the bottom line. They complement each other very well. Offensively, defensively and special teams, they step up when they have to. They are a joy to coach, and it was one of those memorable moments that I will remember for a long time. I told them a minute ago (in the locker room) that I think were in the midst of something special.
On the timeout before the fourth down play to Ricardo Louis:
Fourth-down play, we had a big one over the top in case they went zero. We had a dig right at the sticks, a check down to draw the guys, but we were thinking the dig to Sammie (Coates) and I just heard in the huddle that Ricardo (Louis) said, 'Just give me a chance to make a play and of course I was looking at the dig and then he (Nick Marshall) threw it up and got tipped around and landed in our hands. It was an unbelievable play.
On teams attitude to fourth-and-18:
This team is very unique. Theres a lot of tension and pressures since the moment had swung, but they had bright eyes in the huddle. It was really unbelievable. Im going to say this about our crowd, our crowd was unbelievable. And even in the end, when they took the lead, they were still with us and inspired our players and coaches. Were all in this thing together.
On how he felt going prior to the game-winning-drive:
Believe it or not, I felt good because all we needed was a field goal and weve got a great field goal kicker so we were pretty calm and felt pretty confident. I had a pretty decent idea of how they (Georgia) would play their two-minute defense. Theyve got a great defense, theres no doubt. Theyve got some veteran guys, and theyve got some long guys that can run.
On offensive struggles in the fourth quarter:
They were daring us to throw it, and we had a couple play-actions that we barely missed right there. They got the momentum, and football can be a game of momentum too. They are a good team, and youre talking about a top-10 team before they got everybody hurt. They have one of the better quarterbacks to play in the SEC. The running back is one of the best in the country. They are a good team.
On the teams never-give-up attitude:
This team, they are special. This is a special group. Theyve been through a lot, and they rallied, came together and believed in each other. They bought in to the fact to get better in each game. I told them before the game, weve been building up for this moment. The moment was to play with these guys. They did that tonight.
On Dee Fords performance:
Dee Ford is an impact player. Hes one of the best pass rushers in our league, and a veteran guy.
On Nick Marshalls composure during the final drive:
He has the it factor. Hes a special player. If something great will happen like that and he has the same expression on his face, if something doesnt happen, the expression doesnt change in his face. He is even-keel."
On final play:
It was special, no doubt.
On Nick Marshalls composure:
Same way he is in the huddle every play, he doesnt change. The moment doesnt change him.
On the performance of Ricardo Louis:
We recruited Ricardo Louis will felt like he could be an unbelievable impact player. (Wide receivers) Coach (Dameyune) Craig has done a great job with him. Each week he has gotten more confidence. He didnt play wide receiver in high school and hes got a chance to be really special and I think this puts him in the right direction.
On celebrating the victory and looking to the Iron Bowl:
Im going to enjoy this one tonight. That one aged me, Ive lost some years off my life. Ill go to church in the morning and after church I will flip the switch.
On performance during the first half:
It couldnt have went any better other than the fact that we had to kick some field goals and I didnt call a good play in one situation versus their defense and having that field goal blocked was really only the negative thing. We did a good job keeping the ball out of their (Georgias) hands.
On looking ahead to Alabama:
Weve got to get better in the next two weeks and we will be building for that momentum too.
On senior linebacker Jake Holland:
Hes a tough kid that has a lot of experience right there, getting us lined up right. He does a lot of things good.
On Nick Marshall facing former team:
No, not really. We didnt never talked about it. (Offensive coordinator) Coach (Rhett) Lashlee and him probably did earlier in the week, but hes a unique individual. He knows those guys, he played with them. Hes focused and a great competitor.
On Marshalls play during the season and his mentality:
It really is. You start talking about the best player in the country and I think he should be in the conversation.
On Auburns success with game-winning drives in 2013:
In practice, Coach Lashlee has done a great job with our guys. He focuses on the last play in games. It really goes back to our players and finding a a way.
On Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray:
Hes a great player. He can throw it, he can run it. Hes one of the best players to play in our league.
On his mind-set before season and how much this team could accomplish:
I never let my mind go there. I know I sound like a broken record, but weve just been trying to get better every game. We felt like if we did that towards the end of the year, we would be able to compete, but this team has exceeded my expectations.
On team during final timeout of the game:
We dont let our guys draw up something, but we do our plays. At the same time, we moved Ricardo in there at that certain play, but we felt like we needed a little speed right there and then he won the ball right there and I think gave everybody a little confidence. Like I said, I was kind of looking at the dig and then looked up.
On calling final timeout during Georgias last drive:
We just wanted to see what alignment the (Georgia) in and who they were trying to get the ball. Just to tell our guys how to get lined up and remind our guys to stay on the goal line right there, because they had to throw the ball in the endzone in that situation right there.
On believing in karma or destiny:
I believe if you work hard and you have a team that is completely 100 percent together and all the coaches, everybody is on-board, then you have a chance to do something special.
On reaction after touchdown in the fourth quarter:
The first thing I saw after the touchdown was people running on the field and I didnt want us to get a penalty. I really didnt get to enjoy until after. We were trying to run a two-point play and there was a little stress involved in that and I really didnt get a chance to enjoy it until the clock hit zero.
On how a play like the 73-yard touchdown affects your team:
All the above.
On focus turning to BCS:
No, weve got our hands full with this next one.
On Waffle House tradition with wife, Kristi:
This is definitely a Waffle House night.