Hawkins: It was a close one. We knew it was going to be tough. They definitely gave us a run for our money. We had some things fall our way in the end. So, we were very fortunately. But, definitely, I'm a lot more tired than I thought I would be.
Q: After last year, what does it mean to win today, and what is the energy in the locker room like?
Hawkins: It's pretty crazy, if you go in there. Especially for the seniors. We've been talking all year about starting fast and finishing strong. We did that this game. We came out and had an awesome first two drives. And then toward the end, we finished when we had to.
For those guys to get a win against CSU, that's huge. Because they've been talking about it all summer, ‘Beat the Rams, Beat the Rams, Beat the Rams.' Luckily for us, it happened.
Q: Can you talk about the zone you were in to start the game?
Hawkins: I think anybody in here could go out and throw to my receivers with my line. Especially when Coach Helfrich is drawing things up the way he is. He's always telling me I've got two guys, and one is always open. I had all the time in the world back there. My receivers made plays for me. It was definitely a good way to start the game, but it was how we finished that was important.
Q: When you were down 28-17, what did you guys talk about on the sidelines?
Hawkins: We were talking to the defense, ‘Get the ball back.' Because we had a few good plays up our sleeve that we really hadn't used yet. We knew we had a chance. Every time they were getting stops, we were just so close on so many things. We knew it was going to pop as long as we got the ball back and stayed confident.
Q: Was that flea flicker (that CSU intercepted) one of those plays?
Hawkins: It was one of them. It was supposed to be a third and short play, but we got a little antsy and went ahead and ran it. Mr. Buzz Cut (himself) didn't make such a good throw.
Q: Can you talk about that fourth down play to Patrick Williams?
Hawkins: We always say we're going to come out here to win. Not play not to lose. We had a lot of confidence that we had a good play called. We knew they were going to try and bring the heat. So that was probably going to leave Pat single. He ended up going up and making a play. Regardless of the flag, he was probably the guy I was going to go to.
Pat's a confident guy. He's grown so much the past year. Those kind of situations, he's definitely the guy you want to get the ball too.
Q: What was your first thought when Hugh Charles went down?
Hawkins: Alright, Demetrius, let's go. It's your show.
He (Charles) caught the ball and we all thought he might be out of the gates, then he pulled up a little bit. Hopefully, he can't get healed up and come back, because he's going to be a key piece in our season.
Q: What were your emotions before the game?
Hawkins: I was so excited. I've said I'm not a kid that gets nervous a lot. But I was running out there, jumping around and listening to music. Just trying to have a good time. Then when I'm running out of the gates behind Ralphie, I'm like, ‘Man, I'm already tired.'
I'm probably going to do a better job next time just not getting too excited.
Q: How would you evaluate yourself in your first game?
Hawkins: Well, you never expect to go out and play mediocre. You expect to complete every pass. The way that our coaching staff prepares you, you feel like you can go out and play every snap.
I just came out and it felt like practice to me.
Q: How big is the win for the program?
Hawkins: I think it's huge for the program. I think it's definitely huge for the fans. It's one thing to sit back and talk about progress when nobody's at practice. People want to come out and see us make plays. The guys on the team knew we have that ability. We just had to go out and do it. Although we hit a couple speed bumps, we accomplished our goal.
Q: Can you talk about the dynamic in the huddle during that long third quarter drive?
Hawkins: We had a bunch of third and longs in there, but we had a bunch of good stuff to throw on third and long. Our guys gave me time and our receivers got open and they kept finding the sticks. That was an important thing for us that we've been emphasizing in practice a lot. We've got to move the chains. Our guys did that.
Q: How would you evaluate yourself as a wide receiver?
Hawkins: You guys saw me split out there, it was not pretty. As long as I keep having good guys to hand the ball to and throw to, I think we'll be OK.
But we're always going to put wrinkles in here and there. If they don't put them all in the video game, it doesn't really matter to us. We just want to win football games.
Q: On Scotty McKnight
Hawkins: Scotty's always open. That's our philosophy. I've know Scotty since I was a sophomore in high school. We've always gone out and thrown; he was my roommate last year. He's a guy I know who's going to catch the ball. He's an awesome guy and he'll joke around with you. But he's also very competitive. He's the kind of guy you want to throw the ball too in tight situations.
Q: the first half wasn't' real fun (for the defense), was it?
Wheatley: No, they definitely presented some problems for us. They really didn't show anything — at least in my opinion — that we didn't game plan for. We just didn't execute as a defense.
Halftime we made some adjustments. We went to a little more man to man, just to eliminate (Kory) Sperry if we could. It paid off for us.
Q: Did you expect they would go to Sperry so much?
Wheatley: It didn't surprise me. On that last play (in overtime) — you know, I'm about 5-9 on a good day, and he's about 6-5. I figured they were going to go to him. They did a fade route. I saw (Caleb) Hanie look back inside. I don't think he realized I was actually in a zone. Sperry wasn't technically my guy. I just happened to be there. As soon as he looked back across, I made a play and the ball happened to be there.
Q: Have you ever walked off the field like you did today with tears streaming down your cheeks??
Wheatley: I've done it once actually. In high school, my senior year. It was against our arch-rival. I caught a game-winning touchdown with two seconds left. That was the other time. It's pretty similar, I guess.
Q: What were your thoughts when you made the interception?
Wheatley: I walked up to Kevin (Eberhart) and told him, ‘Do what you normally do.' Kevin's a good kicker. I told him, ‘I set it up for you, now you seal the deal.' Props to him.
Q: Can you describe your feelings after the game?
Wheatley: Probably the same as everyone else on the team. It was just such a release. All the emotions. If you listened to some of the speeches before the game, we were almost emotional before the game. You have all that pent up aggression, all that hurt, that anger, that frustration that you keep the whole year. You finally get a chance to let it out on the field.
We did that. It wasn't pretty, but I think we showed people that we have heart. This wasn't a regular football game. It was almost like a street fight. We just had more heart today.
Q: You've been waiting a long time to show what you can do.
Eberhart: Obviously, Mason (Crosby) was in front of me for three years. He's one of the best players that you could hope to be with. He taught me a lot. And I'm just glad to get out there and help the team again.
Q: You had that miss. How do you forget about it?
Eberhart: I'd say it's pretty easy, but you'd see all over my face I was a liar. You know, I was telling the guys in the locker room, the thing that killed me about that kick is I hit that one the best of any ball I hit all day. I've been pulling things just a slight bit to the left. I aimed that one just a little to the right thinking I would compensate. Wouldn't you know I hit it dead where I wanted it, and it stayed there. There's not too many opportunities in a game to redeem yourself and to help the team a second time. I'm just really lucky the defense stepped up there game. Terrence obviously making that play allowed me to make a play.
Q: How nervous were you?
Eberhart: If you guys would've been down on the sideline you would've felt something. Our team is so close to each other. When you're on a team that's that committed to everyone, the nerves just kind of go away. You're just supporting them and they're supporting you and you just go out and take care of business.