After finding a way to win it, and then not win it, and then win it, and not win it, we won it.
I thought for Kansas State to come back from being down the way they were, and for (Dylan) Meier to come in and engineer that drive, it was tremendous football on their behalf.
Our guys just never quit believing. I know everybody says that when they win a close one, but this team didn't. We haven't all year.
That was a great play, but we had so many great plays in the game. We're blessed we won it, and happy as heck to have won it. There's a lot of guys that made big plays in the game and contributed to it. I can't wait to watch it and talk about it. There was great, great, great heart on behalf of the Colorado Buffaloes.
Q: Was that last touchdown pass by design, or was that street ball?
Gary Barnett: It started off by design. And then that's what happens so many times — things break down and two guys have to make a play. Joel scrambled and Ronnie just kept running on his route and Joel found him. Ronnie did a great job running with the ball afterwards.
We had two plays like that. The one that went to Blake Mackey. He wasn't supposed to run around, move right/left and then over the middle. But that ended up being a great play by Bernard (Jackson) and Mackey. So we made some plays out there today, especially on offense, and it was the difference in the game. But it was a heckuva football game.
Q: How many yards did you need to get on that last drive before you would have lined up to kick a field goal?
GB: I would have kicked a 70-yarder there. I might have kicked it further. However far we got was how far I was going to kick it.
On Lawrence Vickers' run on third and 10 in the last series.
GB: we knew we had a good run call. They were playing prevent and soft. We felt like if we couldn't get the first down we'd just punt the ball and get out of there. But we felt like we had a good play for first down, and then Lawrence made it and gave us a chance.
We had 16 seconds left so we thought we had two plays left, maybe three, to get it down there. We had one timeout left, so we were saving it for (a possible field goal attempt.) Obviously, Lawrence's run and our offensive line's blocking on that play gave us the freedom to go ahead on the next play. No question, that was a big first down.
Q: Did you detect a bigger sense of urgency this week from your team?
GB: No, I would say a sense of seriousness. Everybody really took this game seriously. They're so young and sometimes we have to talk through a lot of things. We talked through a lot of things and the guys really responded to all that we asked them to do, and the way that we asked them to prepare.
And then it still comes down to somebody making a play like Ron Monteilh. As hard as you work, and as much time you put in and the plays you draw up, the one that ends up going for a touchdown is one that was drawn in the dirt almost. But you've got to get to that play.
I thought our guys did a great job, and our coaches did a great job.
Q: Are you going to tell your receivers not to block downfield after Mike Duren tripped Bobby Purify on that play?
GB: (laughs) Unfortunately, that'll be on SportsCenter. There'll be two plays — that one and Monteilh's. And then the next play we had a touchdown. You know sometimes when you put in trick plays, you trick yourself. And we tricked ourselves on that play. We had a touchdown and we had a guy forget he wasn't supposed to shift. So we had two guys moving at the same time, and we end up aborting a great opportunity.
When those things happen, they usually come back to bite you. That one got them back in the game.
Q: Can you talk about the game Bobby Purify had?
GB: From my standpoint and from listening on the headsets, he just played a wonderful game. He's finally healthy; healthier than he's been. And that's the Bobby Purify that we know.
Other than that spurt in the second quarter where we couldn't protect very well, I really felt like we were able to take over the line of scrimmage and move the ball the way we needed to.
Q: Can you talk about where that last touchdown play was designed to go?
GB: We had four guys trying to get down into field goal range. Ronnie just ran his route and kept coming with it. Joel broke loose and they had to break coverage on it. It was sort of designed to be there, but when Joel scrambled everybody had to adjust their routes a little bit.
Q: How does this finish rank among others you've been a part of?
GB: This is right up there for me. I don't remember being part of a team that won one like this. It ranks up there with the Nebraska game a couple years ago.
Q: When Kansas State scored those two quick touchdowns, did you feel it slipping away?
GB: No, you can't feel that way. We talked all day about what the kids were saying to themselves. "Keep saying the right things to yourself." When we went out there with (30) seconds left, we said, "What are you saying to yourselves?" "We can do this," and that's what we did.
Q: How long do you let them feel good about this one, considering you have a bye week?
GB: I told them if they won this game they can have next Friday off. We'll enjoy it and we'll get back to work on Monday. All it does is really set us up for a golden opportunity, perhaps. We'll have to watch the games next Saturday. All the things that we've tried to hang onto and put on our goal board, they're all right there for us. We're in that gold box of November games. You've got to be playing your best games then, and we are.
We started offseason 49 weeks ago, the Monday after Thanksgiving. They didn't want to start that early again. This probably puts us in a bowl game. It makes us bowl eligible, anyway. We've got a shot at all of it. We're fortunate, but we've worked for it.
Q: Two weeks ago you wanted to get bowl eligible. Can you allow yourself to think about the North division?
GB: Oh yeah. Absolutely. We still need some things to happen. When we go into Lincoln (Nov. 26), we'll have a decent idea but it may not be totally known yet. We'll have to see what happens between now and then to see just what that game means. But it'll mean a lot because it's Nebraska anyways. And it'll mean a lot because it's a chance to win seven games. For a team that was picked to win maybe one, that's pretty darn good.
Q: What's it like to have all your units play well on the same day? Does it give you confidence?
GB: It took us 10 games to do it, and now we've got to find a way to go do it a couple more times, is the way it feels. As you can see, there's lots of room for improvement. But that's who we are: We're a team that's going to fight and fight and fight. That's our identity.