By Bob DiCesare
BOISE, Idaho -- Sophomore quarterback Joe Licata joined head coach Jeff Quinn and senior cornerback Najja Johnson for Friday's pre-game press conference and fired off a few quality lines.
Licata when asked why he chose football over basketball despite making more than 300 threes in high school: "I could shoot it, couldn't play much defense though. So I stuck with quarterback because I didn't have to play defense."
Licata on Khalil Mack: "He's pretty special. If you watched any of our games this year yu see the terror in the quarterback's eyes. I have to line up against him every day in practice and I don't like doing that. Luckily I don't have to play against him on Saturday when I don't have my red jersey on."
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Johnson was asked about defending SDSU's balanced receiving corps. Wideouts Colin Lockett and Ezell Ruffin have combined for 112 catches, more than 1,700 yards and eight TDs.
"They do have talented receivers who are fast and physical but we feel like we're faster and even more physical than them," Johnson said. "We look forward to letting those matchups play out tomorrow."
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San Diego State left tackle Bryce Quigley, a 6-5, 300-pound senior, on going up against Mack:
"He's a great player. I've watched him on film. He's athletic, fast, strong. He switches sides and I'll see him probably about half the time I would say."
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UB won't come close to sell off its 2,000-ticket allotment for the game but athletic director Danny White isn't fretting it. He noted that during its final two hours the Potato Bowl will be the only televised football game in America, providing UB with a opportunity for widespread exposure.
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Bronco Stadium and its ancillary facilities are the envy of the Mountain West Conference. Count San Diego State coach Rocky Long among the admirers.
"I see a program that started way back when as a junior college and -- I've done some research -- made calculated steps, step after step, moving up from junior college to NAIA to eventually I-AA and to Division I," Long said. "And they had built all the necessary resources to be successful at Division I as they went. And obviously they built on that. And going to those kind of BCS bowls allows you the financial resources to do some special things.
"If you look at all the facilities and those sort of things within our league . . . there's no comparison to this place and the other teams in our league. Absolutely no comparison. So the resources that they have give them huge advantages."
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Quinn on UB's win over UConn earlier this year:
"That was a program-building win for us. We'd been at them for a number of years and that was a great win for us, a significant win. We certainly have established ourself in this particular season with this group of kids."