Comments from Georgia Tech players Malik Rivera, Juanyeh Thomas, Anree Saint-Amour, Brad Stewart, Jalen Johnson, TaQuon Marshall and Wesley Wells following the Yellow Jackets’ 30-27 overtime win over Virginia Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
SAFETY MALIK RIVERA
On Virginia quarterback Bryce Perkins
“Mobile quarterback getting out of the pocket. The receivers were a little more slippery than we thought they were going to be, getting them down in the open field. We just needed to be better at bringing our feet. At least we were taking our shots, I can say that, making them come back inside every time. Because we always preach every single time, we’re out there to run to the ball.”
On getting hurt and coming back
“Right now I feel O.K. I knew I needed to try and go back in. I knew if I couldn’t, Juanyeh (Thomas) was still going to be able to go back in and do everything that I knew he could do. We work on that all the time in practice. I’ll go and go with the second team and I’ll let him go and go with the starters and make sure he knows exactly what he needs to do. He’s lining up the right way, he’s getting in the right spot. I have the utmost confidence, if I ever go down in any situation, that he’s going to do amazing like he always does. He always does amazing things.”
SAFETY JUANYEH THOMAS
On importance of special-teams play
“Special teams is a big part of the game, honestly And then we preach on this in practice every practice – special teams, special teams, special teams. And then if we go down and do our job, then the offense and defense will do their jobs. And then Pressley (Harvin), best punter in college to me. Wesley (Wells), freshman walk-on, it’s crazy. He’s doing crazy things.”
DEFENSIVE END ANREE SAINT-AMOUR
On Bryce Perkins
“He’s definitely a handful. You can tell that he has a hard-worker mentality. He made a lot of plays and like Jalen (Johnson) said earlier, he’s probably one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks we’ve gone against all year.”
On the game
“It was one of those once-in-a-lifetime-type games. It was great. The senior class that we have now, we’re really, really close. We’re really tightknit and just coming out and getting that win means the world to me.”
On winning six of seven after losing three of four
“You’ve got to hang on, you’ve got to keep on running, you’ve got to keep on persevering till the time you reap the harvest. We went out there and we lost those first three games, went 1-3. So we just buckled down, fixed our mistakes and kept on working, kept on playing.”
On third-down tackle in overtime
“Coach (Nate) Woody always emphasizes running to the ball and so that means everybody gets to shoot their shot, and Tariq (Carpenter), he shot his shot and made (Perkins) jump and I was there. And that’s anything to (accept) credit. That’s a credit to the whole defense. I’m pretty sure there was a whole bunch of people there behind me, too, so we were just running to the ball. We were swarming like we were supposed to.”
WIDE RECEIVER BRAD STEWART
On his catch
“I just know that in the first half, (cornerback Bryce Hall) made a good play on a ball thrown to me. I was upset about it and I wanted my other chance. I feel like I gave him a good move and I made him commit and I just started sprinting. I was running my tail off and TaQuon put it up for me. I’ve had so many balls in my career where I’ve been missing it by fingertips and that’s the one that I actually caught.”
LINEBACKER JALEN JOHNSON
On his sack
“(The offensive tackle) fanned out real hard, so I just gave him an inside move and Des (Branch) did a good job containing, so it just opened up wide and made it (to Perkins). It was awesome. Today was my first (sack) ever.”
On senior day
“It was definitely a roller coaster. We have a senior group (text) message and we were just talking on the bus ride here. We were just like, Man, it’s crazy how time flies. And just walking down (Yellow Jacket Alley), I kind of got teared up because that’s the last time ever and then just after the ceremony, just focusing on the game like every other game. It was just amazing.”
KICKER WESLEY WELLS
On his game-winning kick
“I tried to make it the same as every other kick, but sometimes, the nerves do get to you a little bit. It just hit off my foot a little weird. I looked up, it was a little to the right. It was a roller coaster of emotions. I saw it hit the post and went in. That was a great feeling.”
QUARTERBACK TAQUON MARSHALL
On winning six of seven
“Everyone just believed in each other. We knew that it was a marathon, so we weren’t going to really stress on the 1-3 start. We were just going to control what we can control and go out every week and prepare for the games on the weekend and just go out and try to do our best to put ourselves in position to win the game. That’s kind of what happened. We kind of got on a hot streak, confidence got hot, so it just kind of rolls over. Once your confidence is high, then it’s hard to take you off that pedestal, for sure.”
On his throw to Brad Stewart
“He bailed me out. Threw the ball too early, probably could have been seven maybe. A good thing that it wasn’t maybe; it would have left too much time on the clock, but great catch. He sold out for it, put his body on the line, just laid out. Beautiful catch. He got us down there on a big third down. It was a play we definitely needed, so kudos to him because he definitely bailed us out.”
On thanking fans
“The last one in Bobby Dodd, so you’ve kind of just got to soak it in, especially with the home fans, and just let them know that you appreciate them coming to support Georgia Tech football and cheering really loud. Especially tonight – the Dodd, it was jumping. Everyone was on their feet there at the end. The student section did a phenomenal job being really loud. Just trying to take everything in because this was my last time being in Bobby Dodd playing football. There won’t be any more scrimmages here on Saturday mornings, no more scout-team scrimmages before the first week of the (season), no more practices there. That was it. I just tried to soak it in and just really enjoy the moment and just embrace all the fans and just tell them that I really appreciated it.”
More from the game:
Game story: Georgia Tech takes down Virginia in overtime
Michael Cunningham: Offense stalls, so Georgia Tech wins with defense
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.
Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism. AJC.com. Atlanta. News. Now.
Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism.
With the largest team in the state, the AJC reports what’s really going on with your tax dollars and your elected officials. Subscribe today. Visit the AJC's Georgia Navigator for the latest in Georgia politics.
Your subscription to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism. Visit the AJC's Georgia Navigator for the latest in Georgia politics.