ISU vs. KU Postgame Quotebook

<b>AMES, IA --</b> Iowa State head coach Dan McCarney and select players reflect on their 13-7 victory over Kansas Saturday afternoon at Jack Trice Stadium.

Dan McCarney:

"I'm real proud of my football team. It was a real hard fought tough defensive game. We beat a good football team today. You see Kansas beat Kansas State and play Oklahoma 14-10 at half last weekend in Norman, we knew we beat a good football team today."

"We did whatever we had to to win the game. It wasn't pretty at times, and offensively we didn't score a lot of points. But we moved the ball at times, and had 10 minutes more in time of possession. The 14-play drive in the third quarter was real important to give our defense a break. The turnovers – four to one – were great. We scored again on defense."

"Bret Culbertson really did a tremendous job for us. He's got the job as our kicker, believe me. It's nice to see somebody stroking a couple field goals. Every time he kicks one, I feel a little better about it. You still want to see him do it. He still hasn't missed a kick, and is doing a great job. He's the number one guy right now. There's another walk-on out there that, come the first day of classes, thought he was just going to go down there and kick some balls against our defense to get them ready. Here he is out there helping us win games."

"Mark Mangino is doing all the right things with his program. He's only been there a short period of time, but they play well, are fundamentally sound, and tough."

"We're tied for second place in the Big 12, and frankly we feel like we should have three victories in a row right now. But we've got two of them, and are going to do everything we can to put ourselves in the position to win next week."

"I thought our fans were fantastic. It wasn't a great day to sit in the stands, weather-wise, but I thought our fans were special. I hope there won't be an empty seat next week in the stadium for the Nebraska game."

"Right now the focus is we've got to keep improving. We did that and have done it three weeks in a row now. We improved again today, even though there wasn't an offensive scoring machine out there. We improved as a team and have to do that. Our focus is on another team that beat us badly last year and shut us out. You can see this team getting better and believing in themselves. There was a good look in my coaches' eyes and the players' eyes from the beginning of this game to the end."

"This team is getting better. We can't afford to stay the same. We've got to keep going. There are three very important games left, but nothing more important than Nebraska. Everybody in the world knows Nebraska and their success for decades. Iowa State has not had very much success against them."

"There was confidence. They had gone down and scored the drive before, but it was the only points of the day we had given up. There were no timeouts on their side, which is good for our defense. But you've still got to make plays. Ellis went out and made as big a play as we've had all year. He's been doing that all year, and if he keeps doing that, I think he should be one of the best defensive backs in the league."

"(A fast start) was really important. I almost got on my knees and begged them to start fast. We had to. We talked about it all week, from last Sunday's meeting until we left the locker room today. We have got to get off to a good start, unlike Waco last week. There was no doubt it really helped us win. We knew if we got off to a good start that it would inject confidence in this football team that we could pick up where we left off in Baylor."

"(The blocked punt) was a return call. But anytime we have a return called, we're still going to bring somebody in case of a bad snap. Chris Ash did a real good job of coaching Todd. It was an outside-in move, and he came free. It was a huge play. It would have been nice if we could have scored a touchdown, which we didn't, but we still came out of it with points and momentum."

"Anything's possible. At that stage it didn't sound very realistic. But it's jammed in there and this thing is wide open. If we stay the same we're not going to win games. If we keep improving then we're going to have a chance. The team and coaches have to stay hungry. We're going to take 24 hours and enjoy this one, and then hopefully get as focused as any team in the country to play Nebraska."

"We really stepped it up starting back in Boulder, Colorado. We knew we should have won that football game. Everybody on the team and staff were kicking themselves in the rear end for not winning that game. But we knew we were improving as a team, even though we lost that game. We knew we were improving as a team last week, even though it wasn't pretty. It wasn't a beautiful win today, but it was a great one. We're improving as a football team. We're finding ways to win games."

"I'm proud of John Skladany and my staff and players. We had four turnovers and scored again on defense. It was an outstanding job. We'll build on it. Anytime you play good defense, you've got a chance to win any Big 12 game you play."

"We knew then that our defense was playing outstanding. Barney, John Skladany, and I talked about it at halftime. We weren't trying to pull anything in. We knew our defense was playing outstanding, and we wanted to make darn sure that we didn't lose the game by turning it over. Bret Meyer also wasn't 100 percent as the game wore on, but he hung in there.

"We wanted Stevie Hicks and our offensive line to step it up, and I really thought he had some great runs in the fourth quarter. He had 110 yards rushing and none of them were real long runs. He only had a long one of 17 yards in the fourth quarter, but that was about as good as we've had this year."

"He's a tremendous football player and I'm really proud of our defense. They really stepped it up. (Curvey) took another minute, got out there, and got a touchdown. He's an athletic tough guy that's relentless. It was a great play by our defense, forcing the fumble and scoring again on defense."

"Experiencing some success. Going into the locker room and having a celebration. Seeing a reward for everybody's hard work. Knowing that nobody gave up on anyone around here. We've all got each other's backs. I know there is adversity out there. This is a real close-knit football family. We want to keep getting better. If you see yourself improving, football is a lot of fun. These kids are seeing themselves improve and it's a lot of fun."

Stevie Hicks:

"We came into this game with the mentality that to win the game we had to be able to run the football. That's something we haven't been doing very well lately, but we picked it up today."

"I haven't really thought about it yet, but it would be nice to know if we get that win that we'd be on top in the Big 12 North. We knew it was wide open."

Bret Culbertson:

"I had no idea I was going to be playing this year. I thought I would walk on and see what I could do to help this team."

"I was nervous a little bit before the game, but it was no big deal during the game. I just wanted to go do my job."

"There was a crosswind moving across the stadium, and it was pretty fluky down on the field. The best bet was to just aim it down the middle."

Brandon Brown:

"The confidence is back. We're executing now, are doing the right things, and being in the right spot. We've got to keep it going. We try for at least three turnovers every week. We got four of them last week and four this week. That's helping us win games. It plays a huge part in the overcome."

"If you can make a team one-dimensional it can help you out a lot. You've always got to be ready for everything. But when you make them one-dimensional it makes it real easy for the offense."

Nick Leaders:

"Their quarterback had been averaging around 250 or 260 yards a game himself, and him going down was a big loss for them. They've still got capable guys out there, but we had to stop them from making big plays. We knew we had to put pressure on them. We were going after them all day long, and making them throw tough passes under pressure. We got ahead of them early and knew they had to throw the ball. It was a lot easier to gear up for a pass rush."


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