Iowa State vs. Florida State: Quotebook

Here is a complete transcription of ISU head coach Dan McCarney's post-game press conference on Saturday night.

Overall comments:

"In the end we just weren't able to make enough plays. We made a lot of mistakes tonight. I'm really proud of the comeback, heart and character of this team. We were down 31-7 in the second quarter against a top-five team in America. They're a real good football team."

"But I think we grew up, especially in the second quarter. I saw my team start to mature. I just feel bad for our team. We won't accept losing. I think we've got the chance to have a good football team, but made a lot of mistakes as players and coaches."

On how newcomers fared against Florida State:

"We had three new offensive line starters, a new tight end, a new running back and JaMaine Billups played the whole game after never playing defense his whole life. Nick Leaders played the majority of the game as an 18-year old freshman up there against a veteran offensive line."

On team coming back from huge deficit:

"There are no magic speeches. There is a lot of trust in that locker room from players to players, coaches to coaches and coaches to players. We have a real family situation. It's very meaningful. There is a lot of character on this team. I'm proud of them. I'm proud of the effort. I'm sick to my stomach about losing."

"I just never saw (quit) in my kid's eyes. I never saw them down. Even when it didn't look real good in the first quarter, I had a feeling we could play with these guys and needed to hang in there and trust the plan."

On fan turnout in Kansas City:

"It's unbelievable. I've been around it a long time, 32 years now in Division I football with number one teams, bowl championship teams and Rose Bowl champs. That was about as impressive as I've seen tonight. You go into a season-opener as a major underdog and our fans turned out. They really started the football team. I can't say enough about them."

On his vantage point of Wallace's next-to-last run:

"I had a real bad seat. I've got to trust the officials there. I could not see it. I tried to see it on the replay and couldn't, so I'm looking forward to seeing it on tape. It's a Big 10 crew and I thought overall they did a real good job. I know it's one of the top crews out of the Big 10 and I've got to trust their decisions."

On giving Wallace the ball for final play:

"I put the ball in the hands of the best player on the team. He's the best player on our team and our offense. We wanted to see if he could make something happen. It's an option play following the fullback. Seneca looked like he got tied up a little bit with Joe's block. Florida State runs to the ball laterally and runs to the ball downhill as good as anybody in college football. A couple of guys stayed on their feet and they made the play. If we had to do it over again, we'd still try to get Seneca the football."

On Wallace rallying team:

"I thought he was outstanding. He made a mistake early in the game and threw an interception for touchdown. Rarely do you see that from him. He just never gets down. I'm not going to let him get down. You just keep believing. Everybody on this team knows he's as good a quarterback as we can find and we're going to follow his lead. I thought he came back and did some really good things. I'm real proud of him."

On how different team is now from before game:

"Everybody in that room feels better about our football team right now than we did anytime during the spring or in two-a-days."

On decision to go for it on fourth down midway through final quarter:

"I wanted to think it over. I talked to Brick about the call. I felt like at that stage we're not here conceding anything, we're here to try to beat a football team ranked in the top five. We're trying to slowly but surely get more people to respect the football team and the helmet that we wear. It was great execution by the offense."

On ISU running game:

"I thought Hiawatha ran hard and Wags did. Those are two new backs in there. We lost an All-Big 12 running back and those kids played well. All of our receivers played well. It was nice to finally see us get a turnover. One's not going to get it, we need more than that. But it was a real timely one, a big play that turned around the second half. Florida State has a knack for knocking the ball out and they did that on Jamaul's kickoff. That really hurt us."

On where level of speed is now from past:

"It's getting better. It's not where it needs to be yet and is one of the things we address all the time in recruiting. We have got to continue to improve our speed. We still have some problems with depth at some positions. We're trying to continue developing depth and improve team speed, but we have a lot of room to improve there."

On play of offensive line:

"I thought they did some outstanding things. The two defensive linemen that played their first game in their career, Dewayne Johnson and Cale Stubbe. Casey Shelton started his first game and Kyle Knock starts his first game. Those are four of your front six blocking against a defense that year in and year out is one of the best in college football. The kids have a lot to build on and made plenty of mistakes. You look at our (443 yards) of offense and 31 points. We had a chance there at the end to win a game. There's a lot to build on there."

On importance of finding semblance of running game during rally:

"We established a little bit of a running game. It wasn't a running machine, but we still end up rushing for 130. That's not as good as we are normally, but we popped some runs. Hiawatha breaks one for a touchdown and we start getting a little bit of a run game going."

"If you're not one-dimensional, I don't care who you're playing and what your forte is, if you can keep a little bit of balance in your offense, we think with our receivers and quarterback we can make some plays in the throwing game. That's what happened. We've got to improve a lot in the running game, but we've got some good things to build on."

On if he thinks breakthrough win over ranked team will come soon:

"I believe it will. There is just so much character on this football team right now. They deserve to get one of these wins. We played a top-five team in the country and are going to have a lot more chances. There wasn't any celebrating in the locker room or high-fiving. There's some maturity about this team and maybe a little more than I thought there was. I only have eight seniors in the top 48."

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