Mason Crosby accounted for 13 of CU's 19 points Saturday. His 60-yarder set a school record for distance, and when he hit the 54-yarder later in the game, he became the first CU kicker to hit two 50-plus yarders in a single game.
Saturday's hero said after the game his kicks turned out to be a birthday present for his mother, who had a birthday this past week and was visiting Mason from Texas.
Crosby typically hits a bucket of golf balls on Thursday's before a game as a routine, but he spent the time with his mother instead this week.
On the 60-yarder
MC: I got a little scared, I'm not going to lie about that. But I thought it was going to make it past the goal post before it hooked out, but then it hit and I couldn't tell if it hit solid enough to bounce out or go in. I had to find the ref, and when I saw him signal good, I was excited.
No one really said anything (before the kick). I don't know if Coach Barnett was thinking of punting it or not, but I saw (holder) Nick Holz go up to him and say, ‘Let's kick it.' Nick did a great job.
The sophomore quarterback was named the starter on Tuesday, but found himself back on the bench part way through the second quarter. He ended the game 7-of-16 for 67 yards, and a touchdown. But Cox was replaced by Joel Klatt after throwing an interception which was returned for a touchdown in the second quarter.
Cox bravely met the media after the game.
Q: How did you feel you did today?
JC: We had a couple good drives. But looking back, there were a lot things I wished I could've done better. I'll just watch the film and get better.
Q: Do you know what your status will be for next week?
JC: I don't know, that's up to the coaches. I just show up and practice every day and leave that up to the coaches. You'll have to ask them.
Q: Did they say anything to you when they decided to go with Joel? Did they give you an explanation?
JC: Nope. They didn't tell me anything.
Q: Did it take you by surprise that they made the switch in the second quarter?
JC: The coaches are going to do what they're going to do. I'm not going to question what they do. If that's what they felt we needed to do, well, then that's what we needed to do.
Q: What happened on that interception?
JC: It was just an out to my X. We had one-on-one coverage with it, so I was taking it to him. The corner just sat on the route and stole it.
Offensive coordinator Shawn Watson spoke about the decision to replace Cox with Klatt.
SW: James started out good and then hit a rough spot. He struggled when he hit that rough spot. Joel went out a lot calmer than what has been the case. He didn't try to take the burden on his shoulders, he just went out and tried to run the offense.
After he went through (the interception), you can always tell in the eyes what's going on. You've got to help by pulling him out and let him relax a little bit.
On how Klatt dealt with his benching this past week
SW: He did an unbelievable job. He never pointed any fingers at anybody. He understood. He stood up and he said I need to look in the mirror and he did. I think he found the real job. He continues to be a breath of fresh air for me. He's a remarkable guy.
I think our team wants that guy. They want Joel Klatt, not Captain Klatt.
On the fact that CU threw more long passes than in previous games
SW: It's something we saw, and they gave that. But now we've got to finish them. We're throwing them, but we've got to finish.
We as a staff have to continue to work on getting them in position to make plays. And then when we get into position, we've got to finish them. There's a lot of issues involved in that, including patience.
Klatt entered the game in the second quarter and played the remainder of the contest.
Q: How was it explained to you about the switch today?
JK: Coach just turned around and said, ‘Warm up; you're going in.' It wasn't discussed at length or anything.
On what he learned this past week
JK: It was a week of some severe self-examination for me. I learned some things about myself that will, hopefully help me in the long run. Not only in football, but in life. That's what we're all trying to do is be better men and win some football games along the way.
I'm excited to continue with this year, however it goes. It really doesn't matter to me how the coaches want to play it. Both of us, one of us. We just want to win football games and get this thing going so we can, hopefully, make a surge at the North (division title).
On the play of James Cox
JK: I thought he played really well. I thought he had some tough situations. I was really proud of the way he played. James did a great job putting us into the end zone down early in the first quarter. He prepared really well, and showed a great amount of maturity today.
On the touchdown catch by Todd Blythe
MH: Gerett (Burl), he was in the right position, he knew it was coming. You can't fault him. Those things will happen. We talk about getting in the right position and making them execute. He was against a guy who was bigger and taller and had a bigger reach. He just made a play.
Even last week, I told the players you have to see the big picture and see that we're closer than it appears. We had four bad plays. It wasn't like we played terrible football the whole game. But we have to know that we're a lot closer than it appears at times. I said you can't lose faith in yourself and in your ability. So I was proud of the way they responded.
On ISU's third-down efficiency (10-of-21)
MH: That was frustrating. Many times we were in position. Like the first one was third and 20 and we tackle him, but we have a face mask penalty. But that's an area we're going to look at. We did good things on other downs, but we've got to get em off the field when we have that opportunity.
On Tom Hubbard
MH: Tom has been very consistent. He's gotten better and better. He was a guy that moved from quarterback to safety, so he's still learning the position. He just deserved (the start). Like early in the year when we put him in against Colorado State, he responded and did a good job.
He's made plays in practice and Coach Bray decided to go with him.
On bend but don't break tendency
MH: We don't coach that, but that's the way it turned out this game. Part of it was our plan to be simpler and do things that our kids had confidence in. Sometimes you do that and they make some yards, you give up an out here and there. But those things don't beat you.
But the most important thing is you don't give up points.
Sophomore LB Walter Boye-Doe saw his first action of the season at linebacker after injuring his Achilles heel in preseason practices. He had five tackles on the day, rotating at inside linebacker.
Q: How did it feel to get in and play some linebacker?
WBD: It felt good. It's been a while, almost a year. So it felt real good.
Q: How did you feel like the defense played? You gave up a lot of yards, but not a lot of points.
WBD: It's that bend but don't break. We bent a little bit, but we never broke, so that was a good day for us.
Q: Watching from the sidelines the first five games, how have your fellow linebackers played this year?
WBD: They've been playing great. I was scared. I'm still scared; I didn't know if I'd ever get back in there. If you fall off, somebody's going to step up. That's how good of linebackers we have. We have a real good linebacking corps. It's deep and there's a lot of competition every week.
After Jesse Wallace was flagged for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after his touchdown reception in the first quarter, Mason Crosby had to kick off from the 20-yard line, 15 yards deeper than normal. No problem — Crosby boomed the ball 85 yards, halfway into the end zone. The ISU kick returner took a knee for a touchback.
He was just getting started. The sophomore hit a school-record 60-yard field goal with 5:43 remaining in the second quarter. The kick hit the right upright, about midway up the pole and ricocheted through for the points. It was the third-longest field goal in Big 12 history.
Later, Crosby hit a 54-yarder, becoming the first CU player to ever hit two field goals from 50-plus yards in a single game.
Though he was overshadowed by Crosby, punter John Torp had an excellent day as well. He punted six times for a 51.2 average. Last week, he hit for a 52.2 yard average. He's averaging 46.1 yards per punt on the season, and has 11 down inside the 20.
Junior safety Tom Hubbard drew his first start, replacing sophomore Tyrone Henderson in the lineup. It was Coach Craig Bray's call, and Hubbard had three tackles on the day. Henderson did not play other than on special teams.
Thaddaeus Washington and Jordon Dizon drew the starts at the inside linebacker positions. But as they have all season, CU inside linebackers were in a heavy rotation. Akarika Dawn and Walter Boye-Doe saw a lot of snaps there too. Combined, the four inside linebackers totaled 27 tackles. Washington led all players with nine stops.
The Buffs had their best day this season getting pressure on the opposing quarterback. CU sacked ISU's Bret Meyer four times for 29 yards. Dawn led the way with two sacks for 19 yards.
Senior tailback Bobby Purify didn't show any ill effects from his shoulder injury he suffered two weeks ago in the first half when he rushed for 68 yards on 11 carries.
However, the shoulder issue flared up again, and he only had two carries in the third quarter before heading for the sidelines for the rest of the game.
With Purify's 69 rushing yards, he became the sixth Buffalo to eclipse the 2,500 career rushing yard mark. He's sixth all-time with 2,529 yards. He also moved to No. 11 all-time in all-purpose yards with 89 yards Saturday. He has 2,953 total yards.
STUDENT'S MAKE THEIR CHOICE
After Klatt threw his second pick, the student section began chanting for Cox. There were a noticeable amount of boos when Klatt came back in as quarterback on CU's next series. Klatt drove the Buffs down the field, and threw a perfect pass to tight end Jesse Wallace in the end zone on a third-and-goal, but Wallace dropped the pass.
Klatt returned on the remaining series' too, and there were no more calls for Cox.
TB Bobby Purify re-aggravated shoulder bruise, day-to-day for TAMU. LB Thaddaeus Washington, arm contusion, probable. G Terrance Barraeu, ankle sprain, probable.