Deshaun Watson spoke with the media after No. 3 Clemson defeated No. 4 Louisville in Memorial Stadium on Saturday.
The Tigers’ quarterback talks about how Clemson was able to overcome adversity and defeat a top-5 ranked opponent in a thrilling and emotional victory.
Question: What’re your overall emotions of this game?
Watson: “It was like coming down a roller coaster. We knew this game was going to be like that, but Louisville is a great team and we’re a great team. We had to handle adversity, keep our poise, and make sure we stayed true to who we are.”
Question: Deshaun, you’re always pretty level headed. When you have turnovers but keep rebounding and throwing touchdown passes, how gratifying was that coming out with a win, even when you had some hiccups?
Watson: “It was great. It shows that even when we have hiccups how good we are and how good we can be. We made a couple mistakes, a couple of receivers off-route, you know, timing with the routes, but we then we got on the same page. We had a couple fumbles, and things like that happen. We believe in wining regardless of adversity.”
Question: How was that last throw to Jordan, the touchdown throw?
Watson: “For me, it was a simple throw. But he made it great. He finished the play. Before the drive I told him, ‘Let’s be great.’ And that’s what he brought.”
Question: What was your mentality down 8, you had the ball in your hand, you needed to make a play and momentum was not on your side?
Watson: “Let’s be great. Let’s finish the game. This is what we’re built for. It’s moments like this… big moments that will last for a lifetime.”
Question: Does this feel like 2015 all over again?
Watson: “No, this is 2016. Last year was last year, this is a whole different year, and we’re going to focus on that.”
Question: Do you think the playoff experience helped with the big stage?
Watson: “No. We’re built for these stages. They had big stages before I got here and big stages when I got here, so it’s nothing new.”
Question: Everyone wanted to build this game as Deshaun Watson vs. Lamar Jackson and they were talking about him as the Heisman front runner. Do you think you staked your claim tonight that you’re the guy?
Watson: “I guess so. We both played good for our team. It’s out of my control. I’m just trying to get the W’s. My mind is on the national championship, not the Heisman right now. Right now we’re focusing on one game at a time, trying to win the division, and go from there.”
Question: What’s your opinion of Lamar Jackson’s play tonight?
Watson: “He played well, he played hard till the very end. He did what he had to do for his team.”
Question: Did your confidence in this offense ever waver at all in the third quarter?
Watson: “No, we knew things like that were going to happen. It’s not going to be a perfect game, and we continued to do what we do.”
Question: How much did the crowd do tonight with 6 pre-snap penalties and obviously at the end there was a huge false start that pushed them back?
Watson: “The fans did a great job. Great noise. But that’s what Clemson’s about. It’s hard to play here, it’s hard to hear. They did a great job.”
Question: How much fun was tonight, just going out there and playing and playing against a quarterback like Lamar?
Watson: “It was fun, just playing in general. We only get 12 opportunities a year and we put in so much work in the offseason and throughout the week for one moment. We had a great time, we got to enjoy it because it’s what we love to do, we’ve been doing it our whole lives. Who wouldn’t enjoy moments like this?”
Question: You said you’re not concerned with the Heisman, but coach Scott said “Look, Lamar is getting all that hype so of course a guy like this is going to be excited for a game like this.” Is it fun to have that toe to toe where everyone is talking about the two quarterbacks, especially when you come out on top?
Watson: “I mean, I guess. You know, that’s for the fans and media to talk about. My focus was trying to get a win, finding a way to win. We knew this team was very good, they were going to come hard playing and try to take it away from us. But, at the end of the day we came out with a W. I was just going to do my job and try to get the W.”
Question: How much of a burst of adrenaline did Artavis Scott’s big kick off return provide you guys as far as really giving you that spark to carry you through the final minutes?
Watson: “It was great. We knew that somebody was going to break one. Artavis told me he wanted to get back there and make a spark, so that’s what he did. He’s a play-maker, so he created that big spark and we got good field positioning and we wanted to score.”
Question: How were you guys finally able to work Artavis into the game plan?
Watson: “We had him in the game plan before, but the opportunity never came. It just depends on what the defense is trying to do and if the ball is coming your way or not.”
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