"That was as good a football team as we've played, if you look at our schedule. Especially on defense, they really got after us. I knew it was going to be tough facing their defense. We had to work for everything we got, but our offense hung in there and we had a chance to win it."
"He's going to be a great player. I'm glad he's not in the Big 10. He's a redshirt freshman that will continue to improve. He ran the ball better than I anticipated, and threw the ball well. He was probably the difference in the game tonight."
"It was a tremendous football game. Congratulations to Coach Hoeppner, not only on the season he had tonight, the effort he got out of his team, and on his new appointment at Indiana. He'll bring the same success, character, and integrity to Indiana that he's had at Miami of Ohio for the last few years."
"We thought we had some chances to make a few more plays, but in the end it was an outstanding game. I'm real proud of my football team. We've come a long ways from being an underdog to Northern Iowa, a I-AA team, in the first game of the year. These kids just were not going to be denied, and they found a way to win the game tonight."
"I just can't thank my senior class enough. There were only six starters tonight from the senior class, but their example is real special for all of my young guys. A lot of this team will be back in 2005 and this was a good start tonight."
"It's as good as it gets. He's special. I've said it many times – as great a player he is and as many great plays as he makes, he's an even better young man. That's why we're winning."
"It's special. We're the first team ever to win from the Big 12. It's only the second bowl championship in the history of Iowa State football. We talked about it all year since my first meeting with these guys in August – when the dust settles let's be one of the most improved teams in America. We just added to that again tonight. You can look at the season, wins, improvement, and Iowa State was clearly one of the most improved teams in college football this year."
"It was a great performance and great job. Stevie Hicks went over 1,000 yards with 159 tonight. Bret Meyer went for 122 yards. It looked like they were possessed on a couple of their runs. That's the 17th-ranked rush defense in the country. Those guys know what they're doing. They're sound, tough, and physical. I thought we had a real good plan and our kids carried it out."
"We've been doing more of it, and he's got real skills and abilities. He's got a lot of elusiveness to him, and we felt like it was part of the plan. It was going to be a big part, and it sure worked tonight. Bret really did an outstanding job running the football."
"The victory is the most important one. That's why we came here. There are only going to be 28 bowl champions at the end of the national championship game, and we're going to be one of them. I can't put into words how proud I am, to bring a bowl championship back to Iowa State again.
"We had some great experiences and time together. We didn't have one player late one minute for a curfew, meeting, practice, or session. It goes right back to the leadership we have on this team, led by Ellis Hobbs and the other captains.
"This is a great experience and it can be done when people don't think you can do it. We were in some holes as the season went on, and faced a lot of adversity, but these kids refused to give into that. There were some great lessons and great memories we'll take from Shreveport."
"They've got to be doing a real good job against a physical front. They've got some guys that were the best in the Mid-American Conference, which is a great conference. We found a way and did a good job of sustaining blocks. Our offense was real physical overall."
"It's an unbelievable feeling, how far we've come and the development of this team. I've never enjoyed going to work with a team and a coaching staff more than I have this season. It started last summer when we got together, put our minds together, and wanted to see if we could do something special, because nobody will think we can."
"The Independence Bowl people are unbelievable. You can see why they've been doing this for 29 years. They absolutely embraced us with love and support since we've been here. There are a lot of people down here real happy for us down here."
"We knew it was going to be a great contingent of Iowa State fans when we walked into the pep rally and saw that kind of turnout. I can't thank our fans enough. I know they've been through some tough times with us a year ago, but the Cyclones are back real strong now. I think a great statement was made for 2005 tonight with this young football team."
"There are some good young guys, but we've got a lot of work still to do with them. There is not a guy out there I can say will be the next Ellis Hobbs or Cale Stubbe right away. We've got a lot of work to do, but these kids have great attitudes. We made major strides, a lot of progress, and had a lot of fun along the way. The momentum is rolling."
"It's really great for the program and these seniors, who have put in so much to the program. We're going to miss these seniors, but I'm grateful for our coaching staff. All of the players on the team really came together this year, and there was great unity. We loved playing together."
"We ran 48 plays in the first half, and maybe we started wearing them out a little bit with our size up front. We were able to out-physical them for a little while. I think we beat them up and started running the ball a lot better. That was one of our objectives coming in."
Luke Vander Sanden:
"Anytime you can go out on top with a win for the school, and to be a part of the second bowl championship is an unbelievable feeling. It's something that I can carry with me for the rest of my life. We've got a young team, but we said that mid to late season everyone is a veteran. We've got a lot of guys coming back, and we can use that as motivation. All of these young guys know what it's like to win a big game, especially a bowl championship game, and that's something they can carry with them next season."
"Bowl practices were very crucial, and even the post-practice for the younger guys to get them extra work and the coaches more evaluation on them. I was down here three years ago and the hospitality is just unbelievable. There might not be a lot of stuff other than the casinos, but they made it very enjoyable and took care of us. One of the highlights of the trip was the police escorts with motorcycles. Just to come out and play four quarters in my last game, and come out on top by winning a bowl game – I just can't describe it in words how it feels. It's something I can take with me the rest of my life."
"They have a good secondary and defense, so we knew we couldn't be one-dimensional. We took it upon ourselves up front that we'd have to have an exceptional game to win. We still make some mistakes, and the key was not to let that adversity affect us."
"We put in a couple of new plays that we saw on film that would work. The offensive line was coming off the ball real well today. These were some of the biggest holes that I've seen all season. It was just a great job by our offensive line."
"It means a lot to get 1,000 yards, because that's what the tradition is at Iowa State. Anytime a running back gets 1,000 yards we usually have a pretty good season. We've just got to keep it going and take it into next year. With the running game we set the tone for last year, plus we showed we can be a balanced offense."
"We made some great plays. We had some tough penalties that extended some of their drives, and that got us down a little bit. We made some good plays, hung in there, and fought to the end. Ellis has been doing it all year for us and made the play at the end of the game."
"It was a couple of mental mistakes, and then people started getting frustrated. It started snowballing for a little bit. But then we got on the sideline and the offense had a long drive. That let us regroup, gain our composure back, and we went out and played."
"Being one of the older guys that's played a lot of plays, I'll have to see what people like Ellis Hobbs and Erik Anderson did for our defense. I'll need to pick up where they left off, follow their example, and we'll be fine next year."
"Getting a bowl bid and a share of the Big 12 North was unbelievable. Coming down here was great. The weather is nice down here and the people love us. There is no better place to play a bowl game."
"This gives us a nice start to the next season. You don't have to go through the whole offseason worrying about what could have been and what we did and didn't do. We come out bowl champions, have a majority of our team coming back next year, and we're looking forward to it."
"There weren't a lot of times they got a lot of yards against us. We killed ourselves with penalties at big times. It wasn't just minor stuff. We made them at crucial times, but we had confidence in our defense that we could still stop them. We stepped up and played through it."