Belk Bowl: Duke players react to loss

Duke players react to their 48-34 loss to Cincinnati in the Belk Bowl in Charlotte, N.C.

Connor Vernon (Wide Receiver):

RE: Coming close but not winning

"We had a few mistakes down the road, but we were still in position to win the game we just had better close it out. It's as simple as that."

RE: If that was as well as Duke's offense has played

"Yeah, we were executing pretty well. I think in the second quarter, we kind of hit a rough patch, had a few three-and-outs, and then the two turnovers, but for the most part out of the gate, to put together the first drive like that and score, I think we scored 14 unanswered. Yeah, it was college football. A game of momentum just going back and forth."

RE: The resiliency of the team

"I think it speaks for itself. We were up 16, went down 11 and we were still able to fight back. That's something at Duke, the past two teams have lacked. I think the if this team had been in the same situation two year ago, the Duke team would have laid down and it would have been a blowout. This team just kept fighting. We got behind each other and went to work."

Josh Snead (Running Back):

RE: If he thinks there will be more Spread Option played in the future

"We have quarterbacks now that can run the ball a lot. It's going to help us because they are going to have to face 11 guys on the field. It's going to be great."

RE: How close they came at the end

It's a game of inches. You can't look at one thing that happened in the game and blame it there. Re: If the tough loss will hurt going into the spring "It's something that is going to hurt us tonight, but tomorrow, we are going to have to let it go. We have to move on and get ready for the next season."

RE: What happened on his fumble

"We had an exchange and I didn't have it fully in control of myself and the guy handled it and it squirted out. I almost recovered it and a guy came from behind and when he kind of grabbed them and pushed me forward and I couldn't grab it."

Walt Canty (Safety):

RE: How the game went

"It was a tough loss. We just have to move on. The game's over now. Those guys have to get better. Us as seniors, looking back on it, we had a great run here."

RE: Having the chance to come back at the end of the game

"It just shows the type of guys we have on our team. The type of guys that Coach Cutliffe and his staff have recruited. All the adversity we've been through since we've been here."

RE: If he thinks Duke will continue to reach bowl games every year

"Absolutely. That's what we expect as seniors leaving this program. We expect those guys to continue to pick it up and continue to lead and continue to grow as players."

RE: Losing Jordan Byas early in the game

"That was a tough loss. Great guy, great player. I just hate it that he couldn't finish the game."

RE: If Byas was cleared to return to the game

"Yes, he was cleared, checked out, and after he was cleared, he went back in."

RE: The players coming together as a team

"That's always big. That's what makes a team good is everyone from the seniors to the freshmen being able to step up and make plays. That was huge for us."

RE: Losing the momentum in the second quarter

"Like I mentioned earlier, we got out to a big lead to start the game, but we knew it was going to be tough game. We knew Cincinnati wasn't going to lay down. They are a great game. They won nine game, 10 games now, so we knew it was going to be a tough fight."

RE: Biggest challenge trying to contain Brendon Kay

"We knew it was going to be a tough job containing him. He doesn't turn the ball over very much, the offensive line doesn't give up many sacks and he just took advantage of some creases."

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