Oklahoma State Cowboys
Oklahoma State – 38, Colorado – 8
THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by Oklahoma State players. Questions, please.
Q. Mason, the offensive efficiency that you had tonight, coming back and rolling that into next year, I know one game doesn’t make the whole next season, but what do you feel like you can take away from this game in terms of what you can accomplish for next year and what are your personal goals for next year?
MASON RUDOLPH: I think this is definitely going to help propel us into the off-season, keep us high, encourage us to have a great off-season mentally and physically, really get after it.
Tonight I think we just executed. Kind of got a little bit of a bitter taste out of our mouth. I told the guys pregame, Let’s let all the frustration out. Really executed well. These guys here, heck of a job on defense. It was almost a shutout until the end.
Hats off to the defense. Just proud to be a part of this. Way to execute tonight.
THE MODERATOR: We’re also joined by Coach Gundy. We’ll continue with questions.
Q. Mason, they had some injuries on their defensive backfield, their coach just revealed to us. When you look back at the Pittsburgh game, they decided to play you man-to-man, James had 296 yards receiving, did you think they were going to have problems?
MASON RUDOLPH: It was a good secondary, we knew that going in. We felt like they hadn’t been challenged all year. Coach Gundy wanted us to take some shots, challenge them on the outside. We did that. Made big-time plays, receivers came down with it. Made my job a lot easier.
Q. Jordan, almost the first shutout since 2012 for Oklahoma State. What got into guys defensively tonight?
JORDAN STERNS: Man, we just know what we’re capable of. The last three games of the season, I think the defense really played great. We played with a savage mentality. That showed today.
So really it’s just about being physical. We were. We didn’t want any points on the board. We showed that against TCU, a little bit against OU until the second half when we started playing a little slow.
We got a lot of fast guys on the defense. We definitely showed that tonight.
Q. Mason, can you talk about the trick play. You really lowered your shoulder at the end there.
MASON RUDOLPH: Yeah, we practiced that a lot throughout bowl prep. Chris made a great play. Kind of some leakage there. He did a good job of getting it to me. We ran that a couple years ago at the Cactus Bowl. Got a lot further than we did then. That was fun. Fun to pull out one of those trick plays and execute it well.
Q. (No microphone.)
MASON RUDOLPH: In hindsight, I probably should have hurdled him. I don’t know if I got that in the tank.
Q. Vincent, you were defensive player of the game. Talk about that, how you feel about that, how proud you are of that.
VINCENT TAYLOR: It’s just an honor. I couldn’t do it alone. My teammates helped me out, from Mote, to Eric to DQ. We just executed the plays. I guess all my plays came from my teammates, so I thank them.
Q. You had a sack on Sefo. You were able to stop the run and the pass. What was the key tonight against them?
VINCENT TAYLOR: Winning your one-on-one battles, executing the plays that our coaches called.
Q. James, you had a lot of open looks tonight, one-on-one coverage. When you’re standing out there and you know the play, know you have man-on-man, Mason is looking to you, what is that like? Did the one that hit your mask motivate you as well?
JAMES WASHINGTON: I’d say it did. Kind of ate me up. Couldn’t do that without the offensive line blocking for Mason, Mason throwing great passes. I have to thank my team for that.
MASON RUDOLPH: Doesn’t happen often.
COACH GUNDY: Got up, ran back to the huddle, made another play. Didn’t show any emotion, played the next play.
JAMES WASHINGTON: Yes, sir.
Q. James, were you surprised as much single coverage as you got early on? When you did see that, did you know what type of day you’d have?
JAMES WASHINGTON: Not at all. Like Coach Gundy always tells us, they did it for 12 games. They’re not going to change anything now. We kind of watched film and did what the coaches told me to do. We executed pretty good, I thought.
Q. James, to have the type of day that you did, to get injured in the third quarter like you did, what’s going through your head? Was that a painful experience?
JAMES WASHINGTON: It wasn’t at all. I had teammates there to help me get through it. Our medical staff got me back right. I came out and cheered my team on, finished the win.
Q. Jordan and Vincent, how much fun was this game playing here in your hometown with friends and family, being able to put on this kind of a show?
VINCENT TAYLOR: Really before the game, I went up to Sterns. I told him, We playing at home, let’s put on a show. We managed to do that and came out with a victory.
JORDAN STERNS: Yeah, it was just fun to fly around, come back home, play in front of the people you love. Then with your brothers, you work all off-season to get here. It’s truly a blessing to finish here.
Q. How many tickets did you end up getting?
JORDAN STERNS: I had 14.
VINCENT TAYLOR: I had 19.
Q. Sterns, tell them what you said at the end of the prayer?
JORDAN STERNS: I told them to have fun. My last game, I wanted to share it with my teammate. You don’t get this back. Coach Gundy does a good job of preaching that. I always absorb it, just living in that moment. I think we did a good job of doing that, soaking it all in.
At one point I was looking in the stands. It’s crazy because it’s over. But, man, truly a blessing. Just extremely grateful for Coach Gundy, the coaching staff, giving me a scholarship, then these people I met. It’s an honor, so…
COACH GUNDY: They’re being humble on defense. Basically what we asked them to do a month ago was to come out and be physical and stay on the attack, pressure the quarterback and hit hard. That’s what we asked them to do, that’s what they did.
Q. James, expectations for next season are set in how a team finishes its bowl. With you and Mason coming back, what do you think this sets you guys up for expectation-wise next season?
JAMES WASHINGTON: I think it just sets us up to do greater things. We have Marcell and all of our weapons back. I’m looking forward to coming out next year and doing the same thing, hopefully ending with a great outcome.
Q. Mason and Jordan, confetti, fireworks, balloons falling from the ceiling, a big party. You were posing for pictures. Describe the scene.
MASON RUDOLPH: ‘Big Daddy’ over here, he kind of evaded the Gatorade dump. It kind of pissed me off. He saw us, got away at the last second.
It was fun, man. I think only winning the Cactus Bowl a couple years ago, just playing in a bigger bowl with more fans, playing in a hometown with Sterns, Vincent, it was a home feel. We had a great crowd showing. That’s what you play for, what you work for all year, those moments when you get to look up at the balloons and just think about what it took to get here.
JORDAN STERNS: Yeah, man, I just kind of stood back and reflected just on how far we’ve come as a team. Even how far I’ve come. I just watched James and Vincent go up and receive their award. Man, took it all in. Like I said, this is last game back home. I’m extremely proud of everybody on this team, coaching staff, everybody. I was just reflecting, thinking about how grateful I was.
Q. Mason, when you talk about what it took to get here, what are you most proud of when you look back on this season and this team?
MASON RUDOLPH: I think after hitting a couple road bumps early, just a demoralizing loss against Central Michigan. Just the leadership of this team, Coach Gundy, being able to challenge us to come back that next Sunday and just work our butts off, put our heads down. He told us our backs were up against the wall after we lost to Baylor. To go on that streak like we did, rise to the occasion, was really proud of this team and the leadership of this team.
Q. Mason, I know the PAC-12 got a lot of hype as well as the SEC, Big Ten. What did this win over highly regarded Colorado mean for people to follow Big 12 football?
MASON RUDOLPH: I thought Colorado was a great team coming in. I still do. Obviously it’s one of the strongest conferences in the nation. I think we’re 2-0 against the PAC-12. Really excited about that.
I think there’s a lot to be said about the Big 12, as well.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, players.
We’ll continue with questions for Coach Gundy.
Q. Did you see anything different in your defense tonight, aura or vibe? What was different?
COACH GUNDY: As I said earlier, if you give the cliff notes version of what happened, our plan was to be ultra-aggressive on special teams. We had some other things planned we weren’t able to use based on the looks we saw. Offensively for the most part we’re always aggressive.
Would have been more, but the latter part of the second quarter and the second half, the corners and safeties were playing so far off, we didn’t have very much game plan built for that style of play because they hadn’t played that way all year.
Then defensively I challenged them the first practice in a meeting to blitz, to attack, to be aggressive, to be the most physical team on the field. That’s what they did tonight. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it didn’t. But it worked for us tonight.
Q. Eyes in the back of your head, is that another reason for the mullet?
COACH GUNDY: The mullet kind of blocks the view. When you’re as small as I am, you play at this level, you have to learn to avoid contact at all times. Eyes in the back of your head helps. Mason is bigger. He could take more hits than I could.
Q. The San Antonio quartet really came to play, as the whole defense did. Talk about them a little bit.
COACH GUNDY: Well, I couldn’t be more proud of all of them. These guys that are sitting up here, they played well tonight, we won a big-time game, and they’re great young men. That’s who we are. Vincent Taylor, Sterns, Mason, James, this team, they’re quality young people. The group from San Antonio, Austin Hays, Sinor was terrific tonight. As I said at the start of the bowl, I didn’t realize how many players we had on this team from this area that have made a huge impact on our program. It was fantastic for all of them to get an opportunity to play well tonight.
Hays makes the huge catch on third and 12. You guys can tell. I love my guys. I’m proud of ’em for who they are, what they stand for. When they play like this, it makes it even more rewarding because they put a lot of time and effort in and they deserve it.
Q. What percentage of man-to-man coverage would you say they gave James tonight? Close to a hundred, wasn’t it?
COACH GUNDY: I would have to know total plays up midway through the second quarter, and they stopped after that. We had 74 total plays. I’m going to say probably 15 of 20 until he went out they were in man coverage. But that’s what they do. Even when they’re in a zone coverage, essentially it’s man. That’s what they live in.
Q. How surprising is that? That’s what Pittsburgh does. Colorado has better defensive backs than Pittsburgh.
COACH GUNDY: Colorado has six guys on defense that are going to get a chance to be in the NFL, whether it’s drafted or in a free agency, whatever. There are six guys being evaluated by the NFL.
I can’t speak for them. I’m just guessing. Two of the deep balls were right there in front of me on our sidelines. James just ran right by that guy. Maybe they underestimated how fast he is. The one he dropped… He just blew right by him. It just worked for us.
Q. On the passing, nobody has thrown all year. The game plan looked to be to attack them. Why did you feel like you could do that against them?
COACH GUNDY: I think Mason throws a nice, deep ball, and I think we have guys that can go get it. We practice throwing the deep ball a lot. I think it makes us better.
This year we were able to run the ball effectively, which added to our offense. Worst-case scenario against a defense that plays that way, there’s the ball being thrown down the field, two guys going after it, one on defense, one on offense. The guy at defense is at a disadvantage because he not only has to defend the play but he can’t interfere. The offense has an advantage. In that style of defense, you’re going to get that look. That’s really what we do.
Again, until the second half, they started playing so far off, we didn’t have many opportunities there. It added to a few different things we could do in the running game.
Q. Blake had two big catches tonight, one for a touchdown, goes from walk-on to scholarship, playing in his last game. Talk about him.
COACH GUNDY: He falls in the category of these other guys. He comes from Tuttle, Oklahoma. One of those guys that should have been recruited, wasn’t. He came in, we put him on scholarship. We’re really good to miss him and Zac Veatch for what they bring to our offense. They’re good receivers, tough. They’re smart, understand our offense.
I couldn’t be any more happy for them. Some of the things you didn’t see tonight, Jarwin made catches and did a lot in the blocking area. Zac Veatch was really physical in our running game on the backside on their good player, I think 98, 38. It’s got an 8 in there. Then Jhajuan Seales, how physical he was in the blocking game tonight. Those guys really pounded on him.
I think that set the tempo. By halftime, I felt we had delivered a lot of blows and it would be tough for them to recover.
Q. Back to your San Antonio quartet. Through the team’s arrival, festivities, culture of the city of San Antonio, what are your thoughts?
COACH GUNDY: I hadn’t been able to get to that part yet.
The Valero Alamo Bowl is awesome. We were here I guess six years ago. They have made big-time upgrades. It’s a great week for us. Our fans, our family, our children, our players, they’re going to do good anywhere they go because we’re appreciated wherever we are.
But the people in San Antonio, the River Walk area, the practice facilities, the food, the hotel accommodations, the staff, the dinners we had, the luncheon was awesome. The luncheon was an hour and it was exciting. Nobody wants to go to a two-hour luncheon. They did it the right way.
They have upgraded this bowl, and it was fantastic. I’m excited we were able to play well here, especially with as many players as we have from this area and the state of Texas.
Q. You talked earlier this month about what the win here in 2010 did for you going into the next year. You got a similar bump two years ago with the Cactus Bowl. Do you think the performance tonight can carry into what you want to do in the spring and fall?
COACH GUNDY: Well, what you asked me that about a month ago, I said, There’s not any guarantees one way or the other. But it certainly stimulates a lot of excitement with the players, the fans, the recruiting, the overall concept. Chances are you’re talking about a team that’s going to finish top 10 in the country. Double-digit wins for five of the last seven years. At some point in the top 10 in the country seven of the last nine years.
A win like this doesn’t guarantee anything, but it certainly means a lot for the seniors, the organization and the people that put a lot of time and effort into success.
Q. The Colorado players said when they came up to the podium they felt like the fact that you had bowl experience and they didn’t made a difference tonight. What do you think about that? What do you think about having success on a night like this, what that can do for your young players?
COACH GUNDY: Those comments could be very true. They haven’t been to a bowl in a while. It’s different. These guys understand how to handle themselves. I said that during the week. Colorado was thrilled to death to be in a bowl, their fans and everybody, the coaches. And they should be. They had an advantage there over our guys because it was important for our team to understand preparation for this game. I’m guessing that we had an advantage based on we’d been there, we understand it. That could have helped us. I would not disagree with that.
For the young players on our team, they’ve got a lot of weight on their shoulders because they have to continue on with their seniors that left us. Fortunately for us, that challenge was with Sterns a year ago. It’s continued each year here at Oklahoma State. We’re just fortunate to be along for a heck of a ride.
Q. You carry a lot of momentum with offense next year. Two of your offensive line starters are gone. Do you like the young group of offensive linemen that you bring back?
COACH GUNDY: We’re going to miss those guys, yes. Wilson has been a warrior for us. He ought to get a degree in kinesiology without even going to class with all the treatment he’s had, the medical help, the rehab. Then Victor Salako was awesome. What a great take for us to bring him in and start two years at left tackle. A great young man. Humble. Makes 3.5 GPA, is going to graduate, never says a word. Great family.
It’s exciting to be around young men like that. But now we have to have two other guys step up. We have young guys in our program. What’s helped us is I think we’ve settled in on how we want to run the ball, more so than we have in those three years that weren’t very exciting running the ball.
We should be more consistent in how we block. We have good backs. Obviously 27 is coming back. We’ve got young guys redshirting in our program that we like.
I think we can have up to eight linemen next year that can play. I would love to play a first group, then after the fourth series put another group in and play. We may be able to do that. We’ll see.
We’re excited about them. But they certainly are going to have to get some quality reps. We need to stay consistent with what we’re doing so we get quality reps and we don’t waste our time.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.
COACH GUNDY: Thank you.