Josh Heupel addresses fans throwing trash, questionable officiating after loss to Ole Miss
Josh Heupel and the Tennessee Volunteers fell to Ole Miss 31-26 at Neyland Stadium on Saturday night.
The end of the exciting game was marred by Vol fans throwing trash on the field after a spot following a 4th-and-24 catch didn’t go their way.
But, it was a hard-fought game, and something both teams can build on moving forward.
After the game, Heupel had plenty of things to say. He discussed QB Hendon Hooker’s injury, injuries to Ole Miss defenders that slowed the game, Joe Milton III’s final play, and the atmosphere. Here’s some of what he said (via 247Sports):
On the general crowd atmosphere and the ugly end to the game:
“I want to acknowledge, for the few fans, what transpired at the end. Disappointed in the way that the game ended. Things being thrown from the crowd. I know that’s very few of our crowd members. For the most part of the football game, man, what an unbelievable atmosphere, to see Vol Nation show out the way they did. From the Vol Walk to the stadium to the atmosphere inside the stadium. Phenomenal to watch and be a part of.
“Two good football teams played really hard tonight. Came out on the short end of the stick. Talked to our guys in the locker room. Disappointed that we didn’t play smart enough, really in all three phases of the football game. Didn’t play smart enough to make the plays that were there for us. Beat ourselves in some ways. Taking nothing away from Ole Miss. That was a really good football team. Their quarterback is a special player.”
On questionable calls from the officials:
“I occasionally did (get an explanation). Tyler (Baron’s) play, talked to them, said forward progress had been stopped, not a reviewable play. The spot was looked at, I guess, and that was the decision they came to. Some of the chains just being moved, talked to them, didn’t really get an explanation on it.”
On Hendon Hooker’s injury:
“No update on Hendon at this point. Too early. We’ll find out as the weekend unfolds here, tomorrow.”
On his thoughts while trash was being thrown:
“Player safety is the No. 1 thing you’re always worried about. Then how you’re going to finish the football game. The situation that is coming up defensively. I said it at the very beginning (of the press conference). Disappointed that that will be a story, or the story, from this football game. From a small amount of our fans. Because there were so many that represented Tennessee in a great way tonight.”
On Joe Milton’s final play:
“I mean, yeah, I think everybody here would say the same thing, say you want to put the ball in the end zone.”
On injury timeouts for Ole Miss players:
“The rules committee looks at that during every offseason. So, I don’t know. I’m the wrong guy to ask about how we change that.”
The Vols are a team on the rise in the SEC East. We’ll see how they fare moving forward after this tough loss.