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Michigan player quotes following Outback Bowl loss: Peters, Hurst, and more

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Outback Bowl -  Michigan v South Carolina Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images

A handful of Michigan Wolverines players held interviews following their 26-19 defeat in the Outback Bowl by the South Carolina Gamecocks.

We compiled quotes from Khaleke Hudson, Brandon Peters, Karan Higdon, and others. Take a look.

Linebacker Khaleke Hudson

On his thoughts following the outcome of the game

“Just like any other team game, you need both sides to win the ball. As a team, we didn’t do that enough. We wish we could send these seniors out with a win, but that didn’t happen. I just feel that this loss will push us into next year and will give us more of an edge. It’ll light a fire under our butts going into next year.”

On seeing some of his teammates walk off the field for the last time

“Yeah, it was tough. The seniors had their heads down and they didn’t come out with a win. I wish good luck to all of them whether they go into the [NFL] or they go get a job or anything like that. I always want good luck for them. They showed love to us throughout the season and we love those guys. I wish them nothing but the best.”

On the toughness he witnessed from South Carolina’s Jake Bentley

“He’s a good guy and he’s a good quarterback. He was standing tall in the pocket and he’s a warrior. He was getting hit a ton of times, getting back up and going on to the next play. I can’t say anything bad about him. They came out with the win so he did his job. He did what he had to do.”

On what he said to quarterback Brandon Peters before Michigan’s last offensive drive

“I just told him, ‘This is your last drive. We need you so just go out there and try your best.’”

On what needs to change this offseason for the program

“Honestly, that’s not for me to give a comment about. I’m just going to do my part, come in every day, work my tail off during the offseason, get bigger and stronger and just do whatever I can to help the team have a great season next year. That’s all I can do.”

Left Tackle Mason Cole

On his thoughts following the outcome of the game

“We just needed to execute better. You can only compete when you finish games and we just didn’t today. They got momentum in the second half and things just never came back our way.”

On the team losing momentum following turnovers

“Yeah, like I said, [South Carolina] just grabbed a hold of the momentum. It just never really came back our way. I think the better half of us were just waiting on that big play to happen on us so we could stop their momentum, but we just never really did."

On whether the offensive line struggled to play cohesively

“No, not really. Coach and the staff do a great job of always mixing in guys, so we were fine.”

On Coach Harbaugh’s message to the team after the game

“You know, he felt it for the team and we all wish we could have won it for the seniors. But it’s time for those guys to just get back to work and they will."

On how much the turnovers affected the team’s offense

“It’s tough, especially for younger guys but they handled it fine. Sometimes, when things aren’t going your way you get emotionally hi-jacked and what not. Obviously, we wish it went the other way but the younger guys will learn from this.”

Defensive Tackle Maurice Hurst

On his emotional reaction following the game

“Just realizing that this was the last time I’ll be able to put on the helmet and play with my teammates was really emotional. Going back, looking at whether or not I was making the decision to play the game, I didn’t realize how much emotion actually went through that. I’m just so happy that I played and got to go out one more time with my teammates. It meant so much to me and I think you could tell by the emotion after the game.

“I think it just hit me [after the game], not being able to put on the helmet again. After the game, I was just staring at it and it’s crazy to think that five years went by so fast. I’m so excited to see the younger guys and the guys that I sort of mentored this year, just to see what they do and I’m excited for their futures.”

On what he learned from this season and this game

“Just to appreciate every time that you get to put on the helmet and win or loss, just to appreciate it and give it your all. It’s about battling out there and doing it for your teammates. Know what it feels like to lose and make sure you don’t feel that again. Just keep working and try to be the best player possible.”

On what went wrong for Michigan during the second half

“I think we had a lot of errors. We had a lot of mistakes where it was things that could have been controlled – fumbles and a dropped punt. [South Carolina] had some of those similar things too but we didn’t capitalize. They had a few mishaps too. But at the end of the day, it’s all about execution and you know, if we would have executed well during that second half, even if we didn’t score we would have come out with a win.”

On what needs to happen with the program to turn things around

“Just this offseason. I don’t think we need anything else. We have all of the tools to be a great team. Going into this year, we kind of felt we were where people expected us to be and I think next year will be the year where Michigan football turns around. I’m really excited about that. They open up with Notre Dame and it’s going to be a top matchup. I think they’ll really be able to display the type of program we’re becoming and the direction we’re heading.”

Linebacker Noah Furbush

On being 8-5 on the season“It is not what we wanted. We had some big goals going into the season. A lot of them we didn’t accomplish. Looking forward to the next season we have all of those same goals we can accomplish. I have this bad taste in my mouth from this season and that’s just going to motivate us even more.”

On using some parts of the loss as motivation “Absolutely. We will be waiting all spring ball, all next fall camp during August and until that first game in September we are going to have that bad taste in our mouth until we get that first win.”

Quarterback Brandon Peters

On his evaluation of his performance today

“I didn’t execute well, especially in the second half. I put a lot of that on me. I am not going to let it define me as a player. I will just learn from it.”

On if he felt it was tough to stop that momentum in the second half after the turnover and the score and score again“I mean yeah, I felt it a little bit but as an offense you cannot really focus on momentum. You try to make our own momentum. It was tough for us and the football to give their defense more confidence, so yeah it was really tough.”

On what he has to do to prepare for 2018“Just learn from everything this past season and just keep working. That is the only thing you can do. Don’t listen to outside noise. Don’t let anything define you and just keep your head down and keep moving forward.”

On what he saw on his interceptions

“I just missed inside on the last one. I missed inside, corner out. The one to Donovan (Peoples-Jones) it was third down, I was just trying to give him a chance and the cornerback just made a good play on it.”

On if he realized he had the wrong personnel in the game for the hand off

“Yeah, I did realize it but I mean, I thought Sean (McKeon) would know what to do. When I snapped the ball he seemed a little surprised I was handing the ball off. But, I should have seen that and made sure he knew what he was doing. Yeah, we just didn’t execute on that play.”

Michigan RB Karan Higdon

On the 2017 season

“I think that this was definitely a learning season. We learned a lot about ourselves and a lot about our program, our coaches, and our players.”

On what he learned about his team today

“We learned that we’re going to stick together through thick and thin. A lot of teams will fold and start pointing fingers, and blaming people, and blaming coaches, and we didn’t do that. We kept going and we kept encouraging each other to keep going, down to the last second, and that is very important, I feel, for our team. We had some key players out today and to see some young guys step in and fill those roles was tremendous. Having the faith and belief behind those guys was very important.”

On the turnovers mounting in the second half and what caused it

“Everything goes into it, mental, physicality, fatigue, errors. There are so many things and so many variables that you can point at. I don’t know, it’s just things that happen. It’s the game of football. We just can’t have it happen, including myself.”

On going 8-5, losing their last three games, and how long that will linger

“(It will last) Until we play Notre Dame (in 2018). We will have to take it( the loss) and feel it up until next year.”

On having high expectations in 2018

“That’s every year. Every year we have high expectations. That’s nothing new. We just have to work and worry about the Wolverines and do that we do.”

On the goal of winning a bowl game and using it as a springboard into 2018

“A loss changes the vibe. You know have to go into it (2018) with a more serious approach because now we know that we have real issues that we have to fix if we want to be great and we want to be a real national championship contender. Those are mistakes that we can’t have, including myself. I have some things that I wish I could get back. We have to make sure that we work on that during the off-season”